Oak Park handgun controls suggested

Expert says certain restrictions would survive in court

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

As Oak Park continues to explore how it wants to regulate handguns in the village, if at all, one expert had a few suggestions last week.

Ever since the Supreme Court struck down Oak Park's longtime handgun ban in 2010, the Oak Park Board of Health has been exploring ways to govern gun use going forward. They held a well-attended public forum in January, and on Feb. 28, a handgun-control expert made a couple of suggestions.

Mark Walsh, campaign director for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, suggested four solutions during a health board meeting last week. Those included requiring gun dealers to get a local license, starting a registry for handgun owners, implementing measures to safely store guns in homes, and mandating that gun owners report their firearms lost or stolen with 72 hours.

But some, such as lifelong National Rifle Association member and Oak Parker Dirk Hoerr, think those suggestions are an unnecessary nuisance to gun owners. Oak Park is still battling the NRA in court over paying its attorney fees, and Hoerr said the village should be careful not to invite another legal battle. Instead, education should be the focus, he said.

"My concern is that there's a bill coming due for losing that lawsuit, and I don't think that they need to be challenging what the Supreme Court of the United States has already deemed a constitutional right, inviting more lawsuits," he said by phone this week. "In these tough economic times, it's just an area of exposure that's unnecessary."

Walsh disagreed, saying that some of the measures have already been implemented in other communities and would have no problem standing up in court.

"Obviously there are concerns among folks in Oak Park about not knowing the amount the village has to pay from the previous suit, but these have all withstood court scrutiny and other challenges," Walsh said in a phone interview.

Members of the board of health now plan to delve deeper into Walsh's suggestions by looking for data to back them up, according to Margaret Provost-Fyfe, director of the Oak Park Health Department. A couple of health board members will do some research before reporting back to the full board sometime this summer.

They eventually hope to make a recommendation to the Oak Park village board.

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OP Resident...correction  

Posted: March 19th, 2012 9:07 AM

http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/illinois-association-cheifs-police-support-legalizing-concealed-carry-proposal-20110331 Back in April the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police expressed support for concealed carry. What cops have you been talking to?


Posted: March 19th, 2012 8:21 AM

I'm sure if all the people who were shot HAD a gun, it would make the 41 shootings go away. False, the only thing that would be different would be the fatality rate. Instead of 7 dead, I am sure it would be more like 20!


Posted: March 18th, 2012 10:30 PM

41 people shot--seven of them fatally--since 5 p.m. Friday in Chicago.

Tom from Oak Park  

Posted: March 12th, 2012 12:33 PM

at how bad there crime rate is. All restrictions do is to make us easier targets for these thugs and gang bangers because its not an even playing field. The police know they can't be everywhere and in fact most of the time show up after a violent crime has been committed.

Tom from Oak Park  

Posted: March 12th, 2012 12:31 PM

Jim I think my phone auto spelled your last name I meant no disrespect, I am not law enforcement but I have a lot of friends and family in all different branches of law enforcement that I rottenly go to the range with and they all say regulating firearms does nothing for there safety because its not law abiding people that pose risks to them its criminals that don't follow any rule of law. Chicago is one of the most restrictive places to live in our country when it come to firearms and look

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 12th, 2012 11:56 AM

Tom, you misread my posting. I did not express any opinion on the subject and was merely offering the results of the TIME poll. I am not aware of any poll/survey that indicates a majority of law enforcement personnel are against any restrictions on gun ownership. Please read my post again and verify that there was no mention of conceal and carry laws. I directed my questions to a retired Oak Park police officer because of the unique insight he might provide. You are, of course, welcome to join in that discussion but feel it is important you are are accurate in depicting the contents of my posting. I trust it was a typo that caused you to mangle my last time and not intended to be disrespectful.

Tom from Oak Park  

Posted: March 12th, 2012 9:37 AM

Jim Coughing, you are absolutely wrong when you say most people in America support more handgun restrictions next time try not to pick such a left leaning source of information. Before you say most police officers don't support conceal carry you should do your homework then you can see how many police associations support conceal carry in Illinois. http://www.gallup.com/poll/150341/record-low-favor-handgun-ban.aspx

OP Resident  

Posted: March 12th, 2012 8:26 AM

No more assumptions needed. I thought cops like the fact that now, on any call, guns can be involved. Except maybe the cat in the tree, but thats the FD anyway!

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 11th, 2012 9:49 PM

OP Resident, you have to assume that there is always a weapon regardless what people tell you, and you need to secure the area.

OP Resident  

Posted: March 11th, 2012 9:08 PM

Cops dont want more people on the streets carrying any more weapons than they have. Cops are against CC and and anyone having guns. How would you like to pull up to all these domestics knowing that someone is more likely to be armed?

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 11th, 2012 12:42 PM

Brian Slowiak, thank you, you have been always right with your postings, and I don't think many if any have disagreed with you. You know the inside workings of the Village because you were there, and you know the changes because you were there, and you know from experience the results that will happen with what the Village does.

Brian Slowiak from Oak park  

Posted: March 11th, 2012 10:31 AM

Q: Yes,I value your challenges.

Mike Weisman  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 2:27 PM

Mark Walsh's Handgun Owner Registration scheme would require live fire qualification at a range. I couldn't help wondering where Oak Park would zone for a range.

Mike Weisman  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 2:17 PM

I was there at the meeting. It appeard as if Chair Kamana Mbekeani carefully counted through the witness slips to eliminate people that were known to be very outspoken on this issue. Only 4 people were called, yet 6 or 7 forms were filled out.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 1:54 PM

Hi Brian, is this what you are talking about? Brian Slowiak from Oak Park Posted: Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 9:14 AM To Q from Oak Park: During the Scopes monkey trial in the 1930s, Clarence Darrow for the defense, called on William Jennings Bryant, a Creationist and Bible Scholar to disprove the Creationism. On 2/29 I posted a statement that I didnt believe in in order to argue a point. That post caused you concern. Since the bait was not taken, I with draw the post and I am sorry for causing yo

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 1:11 PM

Q: go to the articles section of the home page, the numbers at the bottom. Go to about page 17,story about handguns on 14 Feb.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 12:08 PM

Brian Slowiak, would you provide a link if you are referring to the computer postings, but if you are referring to the printed paper of the W.J.'s, February 16th, 2012 paper, that has already been trashed.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 9:47 AM

It's been my understanding that a majority of law enforcement personnel support restrictions on gun ownership.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 10th, 2012 8:45 AM

Jim: Sorry, let law enforcement officials speak for themselves. Sorry again,they are forbidden to speak without permission from upper management. Anti-gun upper management will never allow this. If you want the truth,put $20.00 on the bar for beer where the rank and file drink off duty and ask them. The response will amaze you.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 11:00 PM

According to a 2011 poll conducted nationwide by TIME on gun control laws, 51% responded they support stricter laws, 39% said current laws were just right and only 7% wanted less restrictions. Brian Slowiak may be able to offer some details on how law enforcement personnel view the subject.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 9:26 PM

To Q from Oak Park: Please check page 17 on Feb 16 for a response for you. Thanxs.

OP veteran  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 7:57 PM

I love Oak Park. This community has so much to offer. However, some folks here are way way out to the left. The majority of the nation has relaxed laws regarding firearms. Why are we different? The more rights we give up to fear, the less freedom and less American we are. Everything in this country is based on fear and control right now. Youll send a boy to war for proffit and take his weapons when he returns. Like a glass of water, just poured out on the ground. As you continue to take more.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: March 9th, 2012 2:19 PM

People are now allowed to own hand guns in Oak Park, so it goes back before Oak Park outlawed guns. If the Village People are having problems figuring out what to do, just check back with history, and find out what was done since the time Oak Park became a Village.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 8th, 2012 12:35 PM

Why do I get the feeling that Justice is GUNZ Kill?

Glen Ellyn  

Posted: March 8th, 2012 12:11 PM

rez, here's another from those Teutonic troublemakers - "Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA - ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State." Heinrich Himmler; Reichsf?hrer-SS

Glen Ellyn  

Posted: March 8th, 2012 12:05 PM

rez, since you brought up Hitler - "Those now possessing weapons and ammunition are at once to turn them over to the local police authority. Firearms and ammunition found in a Jew's possession will be forfeited to the government without compensation. Whoever willfully or negligently violates the provisions will be punished with imprisonment and a fine." - NAZI LAW (Regulations Against Jews' Possession of Weapons, 11 Nov 1938, German Minister of the Interior)


Posted: March 8th, 2012 9:50 AM

Silly, if you don't want to own a gun, don't buy one. So what if the village demands everyone keep their guns locked up? It doesn't mean people are going to follow the law. Last I checked, it was also illegal to talk on cellphones and text while driving but that doesn't seem to stop anyone either. Time to drop it and move on to more important issues. Passing feel good legislation doesn't help anyone.

Ann Onymous  

Posted: March 8th, 2012 9:40 AM

rez, not true, what Hitler used to kill people, by the millions, was hate and ideas.

DIRK from Oak Park  

Posted: March 8th, 2012 8:21 AM

With the understanding that regulation equals control, control equals force and force equals violence, why are such hostile acts towards our fellow citizens, that happen to be law abiding gun owners, allowed to persist at the board level? Would it not be better for all to foster a community where tolerance and acceptance of all individual freedom is encouraged and such hostile acts towards others are replaced with an atmosphere of harmony?


Posted: March 8th, 2012 1:52 AM

People with GUNS can also have their GUNS stolen, and used by criminals against the owner, or other innocents. I already know that at least one person's home was robbed last years, where the burglar took his GUN... Now THAT'S one more legal GUN turned illegal. Considering the level of property crimes in Oak Park, strict GUN regulations are a hugely important issue. GUN owner ship is like entitlement programs, people are tend to abuse it.


Posted: March 7th, 2012 11:22 PM

People with GUNS can end up killing the wrong people.

silly people  

Posted: March 7th, 2012 9:59 PM

Russ, exactly, and this is the 39th year of having the lowest crime rate... and all this with the handgun ban, so going along with your logic, there really is no need to even own a gun. Seems like we're doing fine without it. Who knows what extra issues will come about with the gradual introduction of guns into the village. Maybe the gun nuts, and the NRA should be the ones to "drop" the issue, since we were doing fine without them.

Luke ScottWalker from Oak Park  

Posted: March 7th, 2012 12:55 PM

ih8idiots: to quote Ronald Reagan (which I'm sure will drive you even more crazy!!), "well, there you go again!" Comparing law-abiding citizens exercising their Constitutional rights to street gangs. I'll have to check my copy of "Rules for Radicals" to see where you got that idea. I bid you peace, my friend. May the Force and the Governor of Wisconsin be with you!!


Posted: March 7th, 2012 12:29 PM

As fiduciaries of the Village, don't the trustees have an obligation to not engage in waste? Continuously pursuing this handgun issue to ends that will only result in more suits is waste. It's easy to be principled when you are doing it with other people's money. Let the damned issue die.


Posted: March 7th, 2012 12:24 PM

Why can't the village just let the handgun control thing just go away? Seriously, it is time to move on an focus on more pressing issues. How many Oak Parkers are killed by handguns each year? Last time I checked, gun violence is the least of our worries in this village.


Posted: March 7th, 2012 10:10 AM

Guess what Hitler used to kill people? Oh that's right, GUNS!

Tom from Oak Park  

Posted: March 7th, 2012 12:50 AM

It's funny that someone can hate a group of people just because they don't believe in the same things i.e. ih8idiots. Who does that sound like in our history, oh that's right Hitler.

Tom from Oak Park  

Posted: March 7th, 2012 12:31 AM

Wow I think you need to register yourself with the Oak Park police ih8idots you seem to have an anger issue, someone needs to keep an eye on you.


Posted: March 6th, 2012 11:38 PM

Any idiot who thinks that it is too much of a burden to register guns, safely store them, and report when they are stolen has no business owning a gun in the first place. The NRA is nothing more than another criminal gang trying to get weapons into the hands of as many lunatics as possible, and the laws we use against gangs should be used against them.

Tom from Oak Park  

Posted: March 6th, 2012 11:08 PM

I smell a new losing lawsuit for Oak Park, I think the village trusties should ask this Walsh guy the "expert" on handguns if the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence will pay for the lawsuit WHEN Oak Park losses this time just like Chicago did last time.Oh ya that's right they didn't my mistake. We all know what happened last time The board trusted an "expert" on gun control now they owe the NRA hundreds of thousands of dollars that will most likely come from raising taxes.

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