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. newlenox.patch.com 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.