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I’ve got to show the whole story. This is just a prime example of how the anti-2nd Amendment crowd feels and believes they are above the law.

September 7, 2008

Blue Island police shut down a “Turn in Your Gun Day” Saturday organized by a mayoral hopeful.

Tommy Brown, 38, offered $100 for every gun turned in from 9 a.m. to noon at the Redemption Theater, 12952 S. Western Ave.

Brown, who has lived in the city his entire life, said he’s doing what he thinks is best.

“I’m doing what I feel is proactive to get the guns off the streets,” Brown said. “Today we have taken nine guns off the streets of Blue Island.”

John Castilla, a friend and business partner of Brown, said he helped raise $10,000 for the event. Castilla hoped to collect 100 guns.

However, Blue Island Police Chief Douglas Hoglund shut down the event just 30 minutes after it began. Hoglund said the building didn’t have a business license and no one authorized by a law enforcement agency was there to take possession of the traded-in guns.

“Any transfer of firearms that doesn’t go to a state agency is a Class 1 felony,” Hoglund said.

Brown was warned beforehand by the city not to conduct the firearm trade-in event, but he went ahead anyway.

Hoglund said he’s known Brown since he was a kid and understands what he’s trying to do, but he doesn’t completely agree.

“I agree with the premise of taking the guns off the streets,” he said. “But I don’t agree with the method.”

Brown said the nine guns collected would have been taken to Springfield to be tested in a lab. However, Hoglund took the guns and said they eventually will be destroyed.

About 25 people attended the event to show their support for Brown, who hopes to unseat Mayor Donald Peloquin.

Rev. Rod Reinhart, of St. Joseph & St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Blue Island, believes it’s events like Brown’s that help to keep the city safe.

“We’re a city that has not had the same kind of terrible violence as Chicago, and that’s because the citizens of Blue Island have taken a proactive stance to stop potential violence before it starts,” he said.

Some believe the grass-roots event is just what the city needs.

“The reason why I support this gun turn-in program is because I’m aware of the gang violence in Blue Island, and any gun off the street is one gun that won’t be used in crime. We owe it to ourselves, and we owe it to our children,” Blue Island resident Kathy Kuehner said.

Ron Smith, 40, of Blue Island, said he supports Brown.

“We hope … you go buy groceries or something (with the money),” Smith said.

Peloquin said for the past six months the city has been working with other local towns, police departments and the sheriff’s police to organize a regional gun turn-in event similar to Brown’s.

Shenequa A. Golding can be reached at or (708) 633-5991.

Wonder if Tommy Brown will spend a little time in jail and have to pay a fine? Somehow I don’t think he will. A fine example of a double standard for politicians.


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