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Gun shop opening in traditionally anti-gun Oak Park

Updated: January 3, 2012 9:09AM



Try to open up a gun shop in the traditionally staunchly anti-gun suburb of Oak Park and you can expect to get some resistance.

That’s what Justin Delefuente got this week when he attended a public meeting to talk about his plan to start selling guns in a small storefront on Roosevelt Road near Ridgeland Avenue.

More than 80 people filled the Irving School Auditorium, expressing concerns about having a gun dealer around the corner from their homes and a block away from a public school.

Delefuente said he would only sell rifles and shotguns to the public. Handguns would only be sold to law enforcement personnel, he said.

“The majority of my customers are going to be police officers,” Delefuente said, though he acknowledged that could change in the future.

The guns will be ordered via the Internet and catalogs and then picked up at the store. The only weapons kept on site would be guns awaiting customer pickup, he said.

Customers will not be allowed to carry ammunition into the store, and Delefuente said he will not sell bullets.

Anyone buying weapons will be required to have a Fire Arms Owner’s Identification card, and will be subject to a background check and a waiting period.

The store will not have a gun range, he said.

He said he opened the store at the Roosevelt Road site because his family has owned the property for 30 years.

Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley said neighbors should have “very little” concern about the store as long as it follows the rules and works closely with the police department.

His department soon will open a new police substation, with the Berwyn police department, across the street from the gun shop, and his comments gave some comfort to some residents attending the meeting.

“They only thing that gave me a little peace of mind is that the (police) chief appears to be taking this very seriously,” said Mike Podalak, who lives around the corner from the shop.



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