Gun-rights group sees Oak Park shooting as validating concealed-carry licenses
The Illinois Carry organization is applauding the work of the Oak Park police officers involved in a fatal shooting that occurred on the morning of May 27.
In the incident, which took place outside a U.S. Bank on Madison Avenue, a still unidentified 24-year-old man killed 16-year-old Damon Phillips after the teen allegedly tried to rob him. The man had a valid conceal-carry license and after being questioned by police has been released without charges.
Illinois Carry spokesperson Valinda Rowe told the West Cook News that the group was encouraged by the way authorities made it a point of not jumping to conclusions and demonizing the shooter for protecting himself.
“We’re also glad to see that the gentleman being robbed had gone through all the proper channels in being a licensed gun holder,” she said. “People need to be able to protect themselves. When we were working to get the law passed the argument against it was people were going to be irresponsible, but three years later you see that’s not what’s happening.”
Police said Phillips was driven to Chicago by an unknown driver and later pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital.
Oak Park Police Chief Anthony Ambrose said investigators are now trying to determine if Phillips was working with any accomplices and who transported him to the hospital.
Rowe said the incident helps prove the value of concealed carry.
“Over the years when there was a ban in both Chicago and Oak Park, criminals had the upper hand,” she said. “Making it where law-abiding citizens could not have guns to protect themselves was a social experience that went horribly wrong. Now with all that is happening in the world, people are adjusting to the idea people need to be able to do all they can to protect themselves."
Oak Park recently lifted a 26-year ban on handguns after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment supersedes state and local restrictions on owning a firearm.
“It takes a while to change mindset, and there are still people afraid of the idea of anyone having gun,” she said. “But there is no doubt, the number of people able to conceal and carry is rising, and people are going about it the right way and getting the proper training.”