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Downrange Sports is your average ordinary gun dealer operating out of Lenox, Illinois. Unfortunately, the village of 25 thousand souls is situated just 36 miles southwest Chicago; a city that is to gun rights what The Wiggles are to Opera. Last December, perps stole guns from Downrange. Twice. Ten guns went walkies in the first theft, five in the second. Despite the relatively small number of weapons pilfered and the fact that cops collared a culprit immediately after one of the break-ins, Mayor Tim Baldermann and the New Lenox Public Safety Committee have had enough. reports that they’ve cooked-up a city ordinance that would have Downrange’s owners wondering if they suddenly woke up in Communist Russia . . .

The ordinance would apply to any future gun shops, but also impact Downrange Sports. That business owner would be given some time to comply and likely exempt from a requirement that exterior walls must be of made masonry construction. The ordinance would also require that:

  • All exterior entrance points and windows must be gated or barred when the building is unoccupied. That protection may not be mounted to the building’s exterior.
  • The entire interior of the building, except bathrooms, must be covered by video surveillance cameras that are kept in safe, locked places. Parking lots must also be covered, and lighting shall be supplied to ensure clear video.
  • Firearms must be stored and protected by a silent alarm that will immediately notify police.
  • Firearms must be kept in locked display cases that would need to be opened by an employee. Ammunition must also be kept somewhere not available to customers without an employee’s assistance.
  • No guns may be displayed where they could be visible to someone outside the building while a business is closed. A safe must be provided on site that is large enough to fit all guns during closed hours.

Downrange currently has an alarm system, but it directs to a central system before being patched over the the Lincolnway Communications Center. This ordinance would require it to immediately notify police.

Although New Lenox carries a special burden as the World Health Organization’s ninth U.S.-based “Safe Community,” it looks like ordinancing gun stores out of business is a new trend in the Land of Lincoln.

New Lenox’s burglaries are part of a string of similar hits on gun shops in the Chicago suburbs, though Deputy Chief Bob Pawlisz said police aren’t sure whether they’re connected. Pawlisz said the department has reached out to other agencies that have had gun shop burglaries to see if there’s any similarities.

Last week, police arrested four teens in connection with a Des Plaines gun shop burglary. The Lyons police called Sterba to ask about the ordinance, as they’re considering something similar following a gun shop burglary there in December.

Is that a camel’s nose I see under that tent flap? Why yes. Yes it is. [See: New South Wales.] I certainly hope that New Lenox addresses the issue of used car lots, which also allow criminals easy access to deadly weapons.

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  1. “New Lenox’s burglaries are part of a string of similar hits on gun shops in the Chicago suburbs”

    “Gun shops in the Chicago suburbs”

    This information is almost as unbelievable as a California Castle Doctrine. You, sir, have just turned my world upside-down O.O


    • You have to look at the source, the mayor of new lenox is a scumbag. A former police chief who sued the village of chicago ridge and received a huge pension… Now he is the mayor of new lenox. Read all the newspaper articles online about his background. He is also the superintendent of a poor school district with zero experience as a teacher… Gets a $200,000 salary and benefit package from a very small and poor school. He has made this town a joke with a huge black eye. No concern about a legit business owner. That is what you get when you elect guys like Tim Baldermann.

  2. That corner of Illinois has a population that would rival California’s for being the most anti-gun by nature. The liberals do not care about preventing burglary any more than Hitler cared about public safety when he enacted anti-Jewish firearm laws.

    The Village of New Lenox simply doesn’t want anyone not on the government payroll to be armed, and one way to do that is to make buying a gun as difficult as possible. Ergo, shutting down any FFL they can for any absurd reason they can.

    Meanwhile, felons will be felons. Once the FFLs are shut down that leaves the police stations as the only place to steal guns from.Anyone want to guess where the next gun theft will take place?

  3. Yeah, I’m not feeling the outrage here, Robert.

    If New Lenox had enacted these laws for the purpose of preventing a new gun store from being established in a town that had not had a gun store previously, I could see it as an attempt to place such a burden on the prospective store owner that he would go elsewhere.

    But that’s not what happened here. Twice in single month, thieves broke into a gun store and stole guns. Is that not a concern for the town council? The fact that some of the guns were intercepted by the cops and returned does not mean that there isn’t a problem that is squarely within the scope of the public safety committee’s responsibility.

    I don’t see this as a veiled attempt to run legitimiate gun stores out of town, I see it as a quite reasonable response to a real (not imaginary) problem. And isn’t that exactly what we expect local governments to do? Or should they just ignore the issue?

    The town aldermen are elected officials, aren’t they? If they ignore the problem, chances are the voters will replace them with aldermen who don’t.

    • Illinois has a track record of using arcane villiage regulations to run FFLs out of business. Yes it is unfortunate that weapons were stolen from the location twice, but had the local 7-11 been burglarized twice in the same period there would be nary a eye batted by the public safety comission.

      To add, the security measured proposed won’t do a thing about robberies during business hours. Reinforced building materials and bars on the windows won’t do a thing to stop armed thugs from walking in the front door , and in that part of the country shooting such people is frowned upon. Wouldn’t you know it, the greedy FFL shot down an honor student who made a wrong turn and fell into a ski mask and a life of crime……..

      • (1) Whether IL has a track record of arcane village restrictions or not, this was done in response to something that really happened. Again I ask: Is the town council supposed to just shrug their shoulders? You can get away with that because you aren’t answerable to the voters of New Lenox, but the aldermen/councilman had better be responsive if they want to keep their jobs.

        (2) Unless they sell guns at the 7-11, that comparison is apples/oranges.

  4. I’m not a big fan of so-called “common sense gun control,” but I don’t see anything here that is completely out of line.

    Most guns shops where I am from (Portland Oregon) voluntarily implement many of these types of measures. The only obvious exception is how used long guns are displayed: many shops have them in racks that the customer can access without employee assistance. Some stores have ammo that the customer can access. The key is making sure its one or the other. Since ammo is easier to steal, it seems to make sense to store ammo behind the counter.

    • Joe,

      Agreed. The Gun Room in Portland is such a place. BTW, the staff at the GR are big advocates for the new restaurant across the street.

      • Oddly, I do remember the restaurant come up in converstation the last time I visited the Gun Room. Do they own it, or what?

    • There’s a big difference between voluntary security measures and village (village?) mandated security. IF the village wants to “do something” about the store’s lax security (assuming it is), and I’m sure as hell NOT saying they should, they should punish the store for “unnecessary” thefts. In other words, the end result. By creating measures that tell the gun store how to run their business, the government is setting a precedent that allows it to control firearms sales generally in advance of any problem.

      If this goes down, there is nothing that would stop New Lenox from placing more and more onerous burdens on the store—all in the name of protecting the public. Why allow children inside? Why not mandate trigger locks on all guns (no dry firing)? Why not limit ammo sales to a certain number of rounds? Or require a driver’s license for same? And on and on and on until the gun store owner closes up.

      • Robert: Yes, they could do all those things (even if this ordinance doesn’t pass, they could still do all these things) but is there any indication that they will?

        Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Seeing every law regulating gun shops as a sinister and underhanded attempt to deprive us of our guns and/or precious bodily fluids is tinfoil hat wearing silliness.

  5. Two thefts totaling fifteen guns is fifteen too many. The new law is too demanding and extreme, and yet I am in support of requiring gun stores and their staff not to be incompetent buffoons when it comes to their responsibility for security and theft prevention.

  6. I’m not suggesting that FFLs shouldn’t have a secure facility,but mandating it via government edict is not the answer.If a theif wants acess to a fixed location of firearms and plans out the after hours robbery there ain’t a thing the owner or the City can do to prevent it.

    This is why so called ‘safe storage’ laws are problematic,because they tell the crooks exactly what to bypass.
    Heck,an owner can do everything right and still have their collection lifted.What will the Village do when the FFL implements these draconian security precautions and the place still gets hit?

    The problem isn’t the business owner.The problem is that the owners don’t have a protected right to confront potential crooks with lethal force,and the Illinois scumbags know this.

  7. “…they’ve cooked-up a city ordinance that would have Downrange’s owners wondering if they suddenly woke up in Communist Russia . . .”

    No, they are actually located in The People’s Republic of Communist Illinois, and it wasn’t sudden. That state has been headed down the rabbit hole of Marxism since the 1960s.

  8. I can;t believe that any of you would be in favor of this:

    A safe must be provided on site that is large enough to fit all guns during closed hours.

    There isn’t a gunsafe in the entire world that’s big enough to fit the entire inventory of even a medium-sized gun store. It would take a bank vault to satisfy this bullsh!t ordinance.

    • Gun safe manufacturers sell vault doors that can be put on the front of storage rooms and the like. Assuming that the rest of the room is sufficiently secured and the vault door is installed IAW manufacturer recommendations, that can qualify as a “safe” and it can be as big as any room in the building.

      Most of the gun shops around here have exactly this arrangement.

      • Martin, the ordinance does not specify a “vault.” It specifies a safe. I think the language is very specific and was chosen for a reason.

        • Or it could also be that the city councilmen who wrote the ordinance don’t know the difference between a vault and a safe (which puts them in good company, I guess – I don’t know the difference either.)

          Occam’s razor. Which is more likely – that the councilmen are part of a dark, sinister conspiracy to deprive us of our arms (so we will be helpless in the face of the inevitable zombie apocalypse,) or that they simply are ignorant of the difference between a “vault” and a “safe”, neither of which has, to my knowledge, a specific legal definition?

  9. I don’t get the frustration. This is the same stuff jewelry stores do every night. I think it is a responsible thing to do, though they shouldn’t need a law to motivate them.

  10. Illinois stores sells guns within state lines? Really? I thought all firearms were smuggled into the state in violation of their common sense gun laws.

  11. Guys. What you should do and what you are legally obliged to do are two different things. Or they should be in this case.

    Think safe storage laws. A gun should be on your hip or in a safe. Period. Do I want the government to make that a law? No. If you do that you give the state the chance to come into your house and inspect your storage. Ask Massachusetts residents: it’s an invitation to police thuggery.

    • If the gun shop was responsible enough to do all these things, then such laws would not be neccessary. The lesson here is that we gun owners had best police ourselves because if we don’t then we are inviting the government to do it for us. Which is exactly what government is supposed to do: Respond to the legitimate concerns of its citizens.

      • If the gun shop was responsible enough to do all these things, then such laws would not be neccessary.

        I don’t believe that for a second, Martin. Whatever gungrabbers are talking about, they’re talking about grabbing guns. This is just an excuse to establish insurmountable barriers to entry or continuation.

        • Ralph: What evidence is there that the aldermen/councilmen/whoever are ‘gun grabbers?’ Have they made anti gun statements? Have they said “we are going to run these gun dealers out of town?” Have they indicated in any way that they are seizing on these two break-ins as a pretext for kicking the gun dealers out?

          Any of those factors would lead me to agree with Robert, that this is a veiled attempt to put such a burden on gun dealers that they would close up shop.

          But Robert has provided no such information. Why is it so hard to believe that a city government, faced with a couple of high profile thefts from a gun dealer, would legitimately be concerned about preventing future thefts? Once again I’ll ask, what is the city council supposed to do? Shrug their shoulders and say “hey, that’s the price of freedom?” Doing so is the quickest way for a city councilman to become an ex-city councilman, which is exactly the way our system is supposed to work.

  12. Video surveillance will not prevent robberies. You might catch someone too stupid to wear plain clothes and a mask. But maybe the next step would be a live feed to local police. That is monitored 24/7. Now the police can watch as you purchase a gun.

    Guns must be locked in display cases accessed by employees. Not unreasonable. A safe to keep them all in during closed hours? That would mean every morning before opening hundreds of guns must be pulled from the safe and placed in a locked display case. Then put back into the safe at night. Seems unreasonable to me.
    A large vault door with the show room inside would be the way to go. Assuming the landlord would let you modify the building to meet the new code.

  13. In return the local police should sit right outside the building and guard it from all the zombies and be within earshot of the alarm. They can then immediately stop any gun theft before it happens.
    Think of the overtime potential.
    And no fair charging the store, it’s a law and the police are there to enforce it. How else can they be sure all guns are locked all the time if not sitting in front? Think of it as a compliance detail.

  14. I find it interesting that the city requires the gun shop to be responsible to the community for the security of it’s inventory, yet that same government tells the citizenry that they need not be held responsible for their actions. Seems a bit hypocritical but not surprising.

  15. You can get safes that are sufficient to do the job for not a lot of money. For example, in Elgin (which is not far from New Lenox) there is a locksmith who is selling an old Molder double door safe for $1800. It’s rated t-20, which is essentially an older and more aggressive version of the modern RSC. This is the same model used by most of the gun shops around here. They have the pistols on aluminum baking sheets (with cloth between the guns and the sheet) and at the end of the day the pull the sheets and the guns and store them on the shelves in the safe. They stack up very nicely. (the top safe)

    Yeah, a T-20 isn’t going to stop a bunch of young fit guys with sledge hammers for long, but how many minutes do you want to be inside the shop beating on a safe after the alarm goes off?

    • Kevin, the dimensions of that safe indicate that it can hold about 60 rifles. That might do for a collector or a small, mom and pop shop, but even a medium sized store would need ten of those and a place to put them.

  16. I have known some gun stores which moved away from areas where they were not wanted. Just move the shop outside the city limits.

    • That’s exactly what this ordinance is trying to accomplish, whether the local residents want it or not.

  17. I guess the owner should buy 40 or 50 safes and find a much bigger building that can withstand an atomic bomb and hurricane force winds and maybe even a tidal wave.

  18. This reminds me of the situation in Detroit where they’re now tagging cars who park in high crime rate neighborhoods to keep them from getting broken into. Pols no longer are concerned with criminals.

  19. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen so many anti-freedom people posting on a site devoted, in part, to freedom? First they came to tell people what to do in their business and I didn’t speak out because I didn’t own a business. ….. Then they came to tell me what I could do in my house and none were left to speak out!

    It’s little wonder why our freedoms are so easily eroded when people are so willing to let the rights of others be infringed.

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