Illinois Dem bucks party, proposes having armed security at private businesses

 March 3, 2023

One wouldn't expect a Democrat to suggest adding armed security to establishments could be a strong enough deterrent to cut down on some of the more brazen crimes, but it happened this week in Illinois. 

Illinois State Rep. Thaddeus Jones (D) proposed in a piece of legislation this week he believes "banks, gas stations, grocery stores, and pawn shops" should have at least one armed guard on duty.

While it's true that armed security would certainly help deter crime, especially in out-of-control areas like Chicago, there are plenty of criticisms.

One of those, according to local business owners, is the liability and costs associated with such legislation. The bill would require business owners to pay for its own private security staff.

The bill

Officially called the Armed Security Protection Act, the bill aims to place increased security protections at some of the most crime-vulnerable businesses.

"Creates the Armed Security Protection Act. Provides that beginning July 1, 2024, banks, pawn shops, grocery stores, and gas stations in municipalities having a population in excess of 2,000,000 inhabitants must employ and have on the premises at least one guard during the hours they conduct business with the public. Provides that the Act is inoperable after June 30, 2027," the bill's language reads.

Some have argued that businesses, which pay taxes -- high taxes in cities like Chicago -- should be able to operate safely and freely by having the protection of a local police force.

In theory, that should be enough deterrent. But in cities like Chicago and other Democrat-led, soft-on-crime areas, that's simply no longer the case.

On the other hand, armed security could now unfortunately be the cost of doing business in some areas. Blanketing the entire state with such a law is unnecessary and foolish, but some say it could have its uses in targeted, high-crime areas of the state.

Residents' reactions

It's clear that having armed agents at a business would certainly deter crime, but not all business owners believe it's necessary, according to the Fox Business report.

"They're not thinking. It's a ludicrous bill," Happy Foods store owner Barbara Eastman told FOX Business’ Jeff Flock. "First of all, for the liability of having an armed guard in here."

Eastman added that her particular Chicago-area business neighborhood is safe, but that's not the reality for most of the rest of the city and the business owners who struggle with repeat crimes on a daily basis.

The bill seems like it could gain support from both sides if crafted carefully. Firearms will deter crime, but there has to be a way to make it happen without placing the financial burden on the business owners. That would be a good start to a much more digestible bill.

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