Illinois House bill would force Chicago grocers, gas stations to hire armed guards

Illinois House bill would force Chicago grocers, gas stations to hire armed guards

A state lawmaker wants to force select Chicago businesses to hire full-time, armed security guards.

Illinois state lawmakers are pondering a bill that would force Chicago grocery stores, gas stations, banks and pawn shops to hire their own armed security guards to cover all hours they are open to the public.

State Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City, introduced the “Armed Security Protection Act.” It only applies to municipalities with more than 2 million residents, which in Illinois would exclusively mean Chicago.

What the bill doesn’t mention is the higher costs for businesses, which get passed on to customers. Grocery stores are defined as “a business engaged in the sale of food, beverages, and other goods usually used in a home,” which appears to include the corner bodega.

Inflation has put financial pressure on grocery stores and shoppers in Illinois. The consumer price index for food has grown more than any major category, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The bill also covers gas stations, adding costs when Chicago motorists already pay the nation’s second-highest gas taxes. The average gallon of gas in Chicago costs $4.08 as of Feb. 2, more than 25 cents higher than a month ago.

Jones introduced the same bill in the previous Illinois General Assembly, but it never made it past committee consideration. The newest version would be implemented in July 2024 if passed, but as of Jan. 31 was assigned to the Rules Committee where bills are often sent to die.

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