Gun Group Objects to Police Taking Part in Gun Store Protest

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:04 PM EDT

( - The Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Board of Education are sponsoring a "youth protest" outside a suburban gun shop, much to the dismay of some gun owners and Second Amendment supporters.

The Illinois State Rifle Association says the youth protest is nothing more than "state sponsored terrorism against the 2nd Amendment."

The February 21st protest will take place at 10:00 a.m. in front of Chuck's Gun Shop in Riverdale, Ill., the Illinois State Rifle Association noted in a press release.

"Chuck's has been a favorite target of Chicago Mayor Daley's anti-gun wrath over the years," ISRA said. In fact, the city has filed a $433-million lawsuit against the family-owned store.

"It's galling to know that taxpayer dollars are being used to fund this politically-motivated publicity stunt," said ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson.

"We expect our police departments to be neutral third parties interested only in upholding the law. But it appears once again that the Chicago Police Department is being diverted from enforcing the law in favor of enforcing Daley's political agenda."

Pearson defends the owners of Chuck's Gun Shop as "upstanding" business people. He accuses Mayor Daley of using the store as a "whipping boy" to deflect attention from his "woeful inability to control crime in Chicago."

Chuck's is one of the gun shops targeted by gun-control groups for selling guns that were later used in crimes.

In a recent report, the Americans for Gun Safety Foundation said Chuck's sold 2,370 guns traced to crimes between 1996 and 2000, based on data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

But gun dealers say the numbers are misleading. They say gun stores that do a high volume of business naturally are going to sell more guns that end up being linked to crimes.

Pearson said the Illinois State Rifle Association may stage a counter-demonstration at Chuck's on Feb. 21. "Planting several hundred gun owners between Daley's minions and Chuck's front door will send a clear message that we're not going to let Daley trample our 2nd Amendment rights."

Meantime, Pearson added, "We'll certainly be asking our friends in the Legislature to consider tightening the purse strings for Daley's C.A.P.S. program." (C.A.P.S. stand for Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy -- a crime-fighting partnership between police and community members that focuses on problem-solving at the neighborhood level.)

ISRA describes itself as the state's leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearm ownership.