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, according to a report from the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI).
State Rep. Thaddeus Jones (D) introduced the Armed Security Protection Act at the end of January. Because it only applies to municipalities with more than 2 million residents, the bill would exclusively apply to Chicago.
The bill defines gas stations as any business subject to the Motor Fuel Sales Act. It defines grocery stores as “a business engaged in the sale of food, beverages, and other goods usually used in a home.”
“What the bill doesn’t mention is the higher costs for businesses,” the IPI said in a statement, which get passed on to customers.
“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,” it added. “The average gallon of gas in Chicago costs $4.08 as of Feb. 2, more than 25 cents higher than a month ago.”
If approved, retailers would need to have security guards on site beginning July 1, 2024.
Jones introduced the same bill in the previous Illinois General Assembly, but it never made it past committee consideration, according to IPI. On Jan. 31, the bill was assigned to the Rules Committee.
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