Northbrook Officials Under the (Old) Gun

Residents criticize town for giving police their old service weapons

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    Some folks in Northbrook don't seem to trust anyone with guns, not even their own police officers.

    Some folks in Northbrook don't seem to trust anyone with guns, not even their own police officers.

    Just like out of old police cars, which are stripped and resold, old guns are traded in to a gun shop, where dealers sell them to the public.

    But Northbrook officials, in an attempt to keep the guns off the streets, passed an ordinance two weeks ago that allows the village to give police officers their old Beretta semi-automatics for personal use.

    Several civilians oppose that idea, however.

    "There is some strange notion that handguns are safer in the hands of police officers than anyone," Lee Goodman, a Northbrook activist, told the Chicago Tribune. "The question becomes, what happens to all these guns while these officers are on duty? Are they just sitting around? We would like to think they are locked up."

    The concern seems especially relevant in the wake of the Fort Hood incident, where an Army psychiatrist is accused of killing more than a dozen people with his own personal weapons.

    However, the tradition of cops carrying retired handguns is a common one, according to several police departments. Policy varies by county, but most officers are either given or allowed to purchase the gun they were issued in service.

    "It's a great idea," said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. "It is important to have armed individuals -- policemen on or off duty -- because it reduces crime. Policemen are already sworn in and they are already trained."

    Any officers in Northbrook who decide to keep their guns must release the village from any potential claims and are not allowed to sell or give the gun away for three years.

    On reconsidering the ordinance, officials have said they will take a "wait-and-see" approach.

    Matt Bartosik, a social media sovereign, doesn't trust anyone with anything.