Illinois gun owners scored a big victory when shall-issue concealed carry was passed this summer. But if you think Chicago-area politicians are just folding their tents on the issue, you greatly underestimate their ingenuity.
Pols in Vernon Hills, a village northwest of Chicago, held up a special use permit for a Dave & Buster's restaurant until the chain agreed to ban concealed carry in a new location.
Dave & Buster's, whose Marietta, Ga., location is a favored watering hole for staffers of our sister publication Game & Fish, combines pub food with a game arcade for harmless, noisy fun, Every one I have ever visited was well fitted-out with shooting games, and the chain's policy is to follow state law in respect to concealed carry.
A company representative noted that there had been no problems with concealed carriers in its Texas locations, and added that "We generally find that people who go through the process [of getting a concealed carry permit] and follow the law are compliant."
Well, you might have thought that a company could set its own policies, but this is Illinois, where a lot of busy local beavers are sinking their teeth into a carefully crafted state law. As the Chicago Tribune reported:
"Village officials required the restaurant apply for a special permit for its proposed 200 arcade game machines — something not required by the state or county — and are making that license contingent on various factors. Village officials recently added one more item to the list: Anyone with a concealed carry weapon should not be allowed in."
So, to recap, a village government is using a previously unknown regulatory power to force an out-of-state company to forbid concealed carry, which the state legislature just authorized. And why? Police Chief Mark Fleischhauer said he did not "feel comfortable" with concealed carry in the restaurant, even if allowed by state law.
Well, does that mean a village can outlaw gay marriage if the police chief is uncomfortable with it? Or maybe insist on segregated proms if the sheriff is against race-mixin'? Of course not. But for some reason, our rights, even when a state legislature upholds them, are less right than others.
Dave & Buster's agreed to adhere to village regulations, and no one can blame them for that. They are in the business of selling hamburgers and collecting quarters in video games, not promoting armed self-defense. But there will be those who choose to visit one in another town to avoid subsidizing a village government that only obeys state laws it likes.