The police chief of Wilmette, Ill., on Chicago’s North Shore, is defending the village’s ban on handguns. Last week the city filed charges against a man who shot a home intruder. The Chicago Tribune reports that many of the nearly 200 people who packed a meeting of the Wilmette Village Board last nighty booed when trustees expressed support for the ban.
“My experience is handguns create a hazard in the home,” said Police Chief George Carpenter. “My experience is that handguns are far more likely to be stolen, to be used or threatened to be used in domestic situations, or to be used or threatened to be used in suicides.”
The Dec. 29 shooting renewed controversy over the 15-year-old ban. The Tribune says that Hale DeMar, 54, shot a Chicago man who is accused of entering his family’s home twice in a day, first by crawling through a dog door and returning with a stolen house key. Police charged DeMar with misdemeanors for illegally owning two handguns. Last night, gun-rights advocates said no homeowner should be punished for defending a family. “My Plan A is to call 911 and keep the family upstairs,” said Wilmette resident Jim Szczepanik, 51. “But my Plan B is to have a loaded firearm and put a bullet in the intruder.”
Chief Carpenter did not condemn DeMar: “This resident’s decision to use a handgun will not be criticized by me. This resident was in a situation where he did what he thought was appropriate.”