ORLAND PARK — In this southwest suburban dystopian village of shopping malls and soccer moms, Mayor Keith Pekau’s administration remains on a preposterous mission to protect the citizenry from imaginary threats to liberty inflicted by state government.


Apparently unsatisfied with last year’s waste of at least $66,000 of taxpayer cash on a failed attempt to convince a judge to overturn state-mandated coronavirus social distance restrictions, village officials continue to unnecessarily tilt at windmills.

Last month, trustees approved what might be the most useless — if not the dumbest — local law since that weird ordinance the internet says once made it illegal in Chicago to eat lunch in a burning building.

In a unanimous vote — apparently without asking themselves, “Do we really want people who forget they’re packing heat in public libraries to have concealed carry licenses?” — the village board moved to protect pistol-packers who “unintentionally” violate a state law that makes it a misdemeanor to tote even a legally concealed pistol in kiddie playgrounds, government buildings and Starbucks, among other establishments that prohibit folks to enter with enshrouded sidearms.

Pekau says the new law aims to protect “otherwise cooperative” gun owners who “mistakenly” pack heat in the “wrong place” from getting arrested and having their concealed carry license revoked by the state. Instead, Orland Park cops can use their law enforcement discretion to issue the equivalent of an expensive parking ticket.

The new law is completely unnecessary, and not only because in the last five years Orland Park police have charged just seven people with carrying concealed guns in prohibited places, according to public records.

Before too many law-abiding gun-lovers get their holsters in a bunch, I’d like to point out that the Illinois State Rifle Association agrees with my common-sense assessment of Orland Park’s completely futile amendment to its home-rule municipal code.

Richard Pearson, the ISRA executive director, told Patch reporter Yasmeen Sheikah the “state law is just fine” and Orland Park leaders should “really just comply with the state law, and they don’t have to worry about a thing.”

MORE ON PATCH: Orland Park Decriminalizes Carrying Guns Into Prohibited Areas

Following state law should be easy to do for law-abiding folk after taking a 16-hour training on a person’s personal responsibility to put their guns away before entering areas where concealed pistols aren’t allowed.

Besides, cops don’t need the village board’s permission not to arrest rogue concealed carry license holders who forget that they shouldn’t bring their Smith & Wesson to parent-teacher conferences.

Illinois’ vaguely written state law says it’s unlawful to “knowingly” carry a firearm into prohibited locations.

If a police officer decides that you didn’t intentionally wander into, say, Orland Square Mall — which bans all weapons — with a pistol in your pocket, they’re already under no obligation to arrest you, according to state law.

Besides, you’ve got to get busted packing a legal gun in a prohibited location twice before facing the possibility of having a concealed carry permit suspended for up to six months.

And it’s only after at least three convictions for carrying a legal gun where it isn’t allowed that state police must revoke a concealed carry permit, according to state law.

Orland Park’s no-limit on concealed carry mistakes is nothing but the legislative manifestation of a political point of view that values the gun-toting rights of a few allegedly absent-minded pistol packers over mom-and-pop business owners that state law says can serve cappuccinos where guns aren’t allowed.

Legalizing eating a sandwich in a burning restaurant seems like a better idea.

Mark Konkol, recipient of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting, wrote and produced the Peabody Award-winning series, “Time: The Kalief Browder Story.” He was a producer, writer and narrator for the “Chicagoland” docu-series on CNN, and a consulting producer on the Showtime documentary, “16 Shots.”

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