As Windy City Firearms prepares to open its doors and its gun safes as soon as next week, Oak Park officials are considering placing regulations on any new gun stores looking to set up shop.
Officials at Tuesday's community meeting at said they would consider several measures to regulate new stores, including the creation of zoning restrictions and security measures as well as limitations on the number of gun shops within the village's borders.
All efforts, they said, would have to meet the constitutional muster that came last year when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Oak Park’s long-standing handgun ban.
"Clearly we have much more work to do...within the parameters that you can regulate but you can't restrict," said Trustee Colette Lueck. "We have a challenge before us."
More than 70 people showed up at Irving's auditorium to find out more about Windy City Firearms. They wanted to know what kind of guns the shop can sell and what store owner Justin Delafuente would do to keep the neighborhood safe. They also wanted to know the village's plans to protect the storefront at 6338 W. Roosevelt Road.
Delafuente, a Berwyn resident who was recently granted a business license for the shop, and Chief Rick Tanksley noted that only rifles and shotguns would be available there.
Orders for those firearms will be taken online, or customers can come in and order from a catalog. Potential owners will have to secure a Firearms Owners Identification Card from the Illinois State Police, complete paperwork at the shop and undergo a background check before getting their weapon. Ammunition would not be sold or stored there.
While some details on security still are being worked out, the shop will have an alarm system, steel doors and a large safe where the weapons would be stored securely, Delafuente said. Cameras also will be installed.
Tanksley, meanwhile, noted the addition of the forthcoming police substation at Roosevelt Road and Highland Avenue, a joint venture between Oak Park and Berwyn, would beef up the police presence in the area.
Asked by those in the crowd why he would want to open a gun shop just two blocks from an elementary school, Delafuente said “it’s where we own a building." His stepfather, Larry D’Antonio, owns Bull Sharpening next door, according to Wednesday Journal.
Delafuente also said it was his right to sell firearms.
“I’ve gone through all the processes to do this,” he said. “It’s my right.”
And while village officials agreed with Delafuente's assertion, some in the crowd took umbrage with his plan.
Catherine Ferrell, who supported the village's handgun ban, was shocked to learn a gun shop would open in her neighborhood. She's hoping “the village would keep on top of everything there.”
Pamela Kenney wondered why more attention wasn't paid to what type of businesses would be opened along the newly renovated Roosevelt Road, which has geared toward making the busy corridor more friendly to business and pedestrians.
“I’m a little disappointed that they’re not farther along on regulations for the type of business that they’ve allowed here," she said.
Doug Hills, who supports gun rights, said he would have liked to have seen a restaurant open there but, “Justin has a right to earn a living."