Chicago Police Investigate Double Shooting in 'Gun-Free Zone'

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

You can't legally carry a firearm or a knife on public transportation in Illinois, but the law isn't proving to be much of a deterrence to criminals. As we've continually highlighted here at Bearing Arms, violent crime is a common occurrence on Chicago's public transit system, with armed robberies, sexual assaults, and shootings happening on a regular basis in CTA trains and buses. 


One of the most recent incidents happened just after midnight on Monday, when shots rang out inside a CTA bus, leaving one person dead and the bus driver injured. 

About 12:15 a.m. Monday, a 19-year-old man and several friends were riding on southbound bus in the 3400 block of South State Street when the 19-year-old approached a ‘lone rider’ and hit him multiple times in the head, according to police reports obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times. 

As the two fought, several other passengers moved from the rear of the bus toward the front when the rider pulled out a handgun and opened fire at the 19-year-old, authorities said.

One of the individuals from the man’s group returned fire, striking the 51-year-old bus driver and causing the bus to strike a tree, according to police and traffic reports.

The 19-year-old man, shot in the chest, was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 12:55 a.m., police said.

A spokesperson for the Cook County medical examiner’s office said his name was not known but a friend of the victim declined to comment immediately.

Meanwhile, the bus driver, who did not return messages Tuesday, was taken to a hospital in good condition.

Authorities say they now have the person who fatally shot the 19-year-old in custody, though they haven't announced what charges he's facing. Based on the initial report, I'd say he has a decent self-defense argument to make, though even if the shooting is deemed justified prosecutors could still go after him for possessing a gun in a "sensitive place", even if he has a valid concealed carry license.


This wasn't the only incidence of violence in Chicago's public transportation system on Monday. Late last night a man was attacked on a Red Line train, and ended up in a hospital as a result. 

A man was attacked by a knife-wielding assailant on a Red Line train in Rogers Park last night, police said. It happened just before 11 p.m. near the Loyola station, 1200 West Loyola.

CPD said a 36-year-old man was riding the train when the assailant approached him with a knife and attacked him for no apparent reason.

The victim suffered cuts to his right cheek and nose. Police said he was in good condition at St. Francis Hospital.

The website CWB Chicago is the only outlet that I've seen that's even bothered to report on the knife attack on the Red Line train. Apparently incidents like these are so common they're barely newsworthy anymore. 

The state's ban on lawful carry on public transportation is facing a federal court challenge and will hopefully be struck down, but it shouldn't take a court decision to change the status quo. Common sense tells us that these "gun-free zones" are anything but gun-free. Why should responsible gun owners who possess a valid carry license be disarmed on public transportation when violent criminals are using these "sensitive places" as a hunting ground? 

As it stands, not only are concealed carry holders unable to protect and defend themselves while they're on a bus or train, they're essentially unable to protect themselves throughout the course of their day if they depend on public transportation to get around. Public transit is dangerous enough, but crime is even worse once folks step off the bus or leave a CTA station, and Illinois law makes it impossible for many residents to protect themselves. With the Democratic majority firmly in place in Springfield, things aren't likely to get better anytime soon... unless Judge Iain D. Johnston grants the plaintiffs the injunctive relief they're asking for and puts a stop to the state's mobile "gun-free zones." 


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