The moment will come again when it is right for Oak Park to join a wider battle to eliminate the scourge of handgun violence in our country. But in this moment of perverse partisanship in the national arena, the levers of power are set just too firmly in the pro-gun direction for this village to tilt again at expensive windmills.
The Oak Park Board of Health got it right last week when it made preliminary recommendations that the village forego restrictions on handgun ownership following the 2010 Supreme Court ruling, which overturned Oak Park and Chicago's brave effort at handgun control.
The health board was right in noting that Oak Park, standing alone or with a handful of like-minded communities, is not going to be effective in reducing violence through a series of limited restrictions on owning a handgun. The highest court in the land, now tucked neatly in the pocket of the NRA, is not going to allow any substantive handgun restrictions.
Despite living on the edge of a tough West Side riddled with gun mayhem, this is a time for Oak Park to seek other means to protect its citizens — and we are not referring to concealed carry laws. We need to wait for, and work for, the tide to turn, for new Supreme Court members to arrive.
Oak Park and its taxpayers still wait for clarity on just what the legal costs of the joint City of Chicago/Village of Oak Park defense of handgun bans at the Supreme Court will cost us. It has the potential to be substantial. While we remain troubled that Oak Park's financial exposure was not more clearly set in advance, we don't begrudge the village's long-shot defense of the local gun ban.
But we do know in the present circumstances — financial and political — that discretion in making this fight is the better part of valor.