An Illinois Democrat has introduced a new law that would mandate armed security in various businesses that are susceptible to armed robbery.
Illinois state Rep. Thaddeus Jones (D) introduced the Armed Security Protection Act last week. If passed, the bill requires banks, gas stations, grocery stores, and pawn shops in Chicago to have armed security or armed employees.
"Guards required in municipalities having in excess of 2,000,000 inhabitants. Beginning July 1, 2024, a bank, gas station, grocery store, and pawn shop shall employ and have on its premises at least one guard during the hours it is conducting business with the public," the bill reads.
The legislation does not specify that it only applies to Chicago. But that is effectively what it does because the Windy City is the only municipality in Illinois to have more than 2 million residents. The state's second-largest city, Aurora, has fewer than 200,000 residents, according to the latest census.
The bill is particularly ironic for several reasons.
First, its primary sponsor is a Democrat, and Illinois Democrats generally favor increased gun control — not more guns to curtail crime problems. Jones, for instance, voted for an assault weapons ban that Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker (D) signed into law earlier this month.
Second, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) blames guns for Chicago's crime problems. She claims that guns from other municipalities are brought into the city and are used by criminals.
For example, Lightfoot said in 2020:
The fact of the matter is our gun problem is related to the fact that we have too many illegal guns in our streets — 60% of which come from states outside of Illinois. We are being inundated with guns from states that have virtually no gun control, no background checks, no ban on assault weapons.
But Jones' bill acknowledges that armed security guards (emphasis on armed) are a deterrent to crimes. Businesses — like banks, gas stations, grocery stores, and pawn shops — are easy targets for criminals. But Jones clearly believes an armed presence will thwart crime.
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