I got a kick out of Joe Franzese, who owns a store in suburban Lake Villa and now wants to locate a new business in the upscale Lincoln Park neighborhood.
He’s calling his proposed business a “boutique” that would deal to an exclusive clientele. Perhaps he thinks if he can get the people of Lincoln Park to think they’re getting something special and unique to Chicago, they will be willing to go along.
BUT THIS BUSINESS isn’t about doing business. It’s more about making a political statement, similar to all those people who like to think of themselves as “revolutionaries” because they are willing to walk into Starbucks’ franchises while wearing a pistol in a holster.
Yes, that’s what we’re talking about. Franzese, according to the Chicago Tribune, operates the Second Amendment Arms store in Lake Villa, and now he wants to open a firearms store within the city limits just to show that he can.
The guy who self-righteously named his suburban business after a provision of the U.S. Constitution apparently now thinks he can flaunt firearms in Lincoln Park.
Now I’m not claiming that Lincoln Park is crime-free. No place is. But is is a place where the locals can fairly confidently walk the streets knowing either that they are safe, or that if something criminal did happen the police would address the issue seriously because of all the negative attention they would otherwise get.
IF THIS WERE an issue of trying to sell firearms to promote the idea that people should be allowed to protect themselves, then I would think it would make sense to set up shop in a neighborhood a little more down-scale than Lincoln Park (which is pretty much most of the city).
Then again, if this place were set up in an inner-city neighborhood, who’s to say it wouldn’t get ripped off, and the firearms supposedly meant for protection would wind up in the hands of those from whom we need protecting?
The Tribune used its website to report on the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Friday by Franzese, who is challenging the City Council’s response to the Supreme Court of the United States issuing a ruling recently that weakened – if not completely struck down – the city’s 28-year-old ban on handgun possession within city limits.
The Court of Appeals will eventually decide the fate of the city’s law, although the Supreme Court ruling put in so many restrictions that the appeals court will have little choice but to take down the law.
WHICH IS WHY city officials responded as they did by passing measures that may allow people to have handguns in their house, but it makes it clear that taking those arms out in public (or even walking around outside on one’s own property with a gun) remains a crime.
Also, it makes it clear that firearms dealers are not to be permitted to set up shop anywhere within the city limits.
Which could mean that Franzese, if he were serious about self-protection, could start marketing his suburban location as a place where people can purchase weapons for their self-protection.
Instead, we get talk about “boutiques” where the weapons would be stored away in a vault, and a person would not be allowed to see the merchandise until after they had committed to a purchase. In an attempt to make the issue seem a little more rational on the surface, Franzese’s attorneys also told the Tribune that only people who could produce a Firearm Owner Identification card would even be allowed to enter the store.
I’M WONDERING HOW long it will be until someone claims THAT is a discriminatory measure in and of itself, which probably makes as much sense as any other aspect of the often ridiculous rhetoric that gets spewed when the issues of firearms and gun control come up for debate.
This lawsuit was timed to meet up with the city’s new ordinance, approved by the City Council last week and scheduled to take effect on Monday.
So perhaps people should enjoy this last weekend in Chicago where the idea of firearms within the city limits is uncertain. The outright ban is on uncertain ground, yet the ban on possession outside of one’s home isn’t yet effective.
Not that I expect an upshoot of violence in Chicago this particular weekend. If it does happen, it is more likely to be tied to hot and humid summer weather (although I understand we’re likely to get rain throughout the Chicago metropolitan area).
THIS LAWSUIT IS about trying to make a statement. The bully who wants to “tote a gun” around his house to show he’s a “big man” is trying to pick himself up after being knocked down by the City Council, which in this instance is representing the belief of many Chicago residents.
Many of us who live here are here specifically because we don’t particularly want to live in a place where the local culture wants to say that firearms are the norm.
I’d like to say it’s because we’re more civilized. But the reality is more along the lines of us realizing there isn’t much difference between the so-called criminal using a gun and a homeowner with a gun – both of them can cause pain and suffering for the rest of us, and the debate taking place these days makes the majority of us feel like we’re caught in the middle.
Which means I doubt there are many Chicagoans who would travel to a Lincoln Park gun “boutique,” if it were to ever become a reality.