The Village of Lyons has passed landmark legislation to dramatically increase oversight of gun shops within its jurisdiction.
The action is in response to a civil rights lawsuit filed earlier this year by Despres, Schwartz and Geoghegan Ltd. The suit argued that the village’s lack of oversight disproportionately jeopardized the lives of African Americans living in Chicago. The villages of Lincolnwood and Riverdale were also named in that suit.
News coverage of the announcement included the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, WLS-TV, WBBM-TV, WMAQ-TV, WFLD-TV, WBEZ-FM, Illinois News Network, Progress Illinois, Daily Kos, Al-Jazeera America, Washington Post, and several other outlets via the Associated Press.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Coalition for Safe Chicago communities, an organization comprised of religious leaders, gun safety advocates, and families that have been affected by gun violence. According to a 2014 Chicago report, three gun shops in Cook County and an additional shop in Gary, Indiana, provide nearly 20 percent of the guns recovered in Chicago crime scenes.
The ordinance calls for close cooperation between the Village of Lyons and Midwest Sporting Goods, the only gun retailer in Lyons. Among the various requirements, Midwest is required to share the same information with the Village of Lyons police that they provide to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; allow random inspections by local officials; and provide proper training to gun shop employees to better detect straw purchases.
The ordinance was approved unanimously at a special board meeting on October 27, 2015 and goes into effect immediately.
Details of the issue and the original complaint can be found at Despres, Schwartz and Geoghegan Ltd.’s website.