(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A state representative who is also the mayor of Calumet City has proposed a bill that would require Chicago's gas stations and grocery stores to hire their own armed security.
Besides gas stations and grocery stores, banks and pawn shops would also be obligated to hire guards.
The legislation proposed by Rep.Thaddeus Jones has some backing among Chicago aldermen.
It does not have backing from the Illinois Fuel and Retail Association, which represents thousands of gas stations and convenience stores in Chicago.
"Crime in the city of Chicago is the city's problem to take care of,” CEO Josh Sharp said.
He says in some respects it is a two-way street.
"There are certain things business owners can do to help alleviate crime in the city and we're happy to do some of those things.
"For example, keeping less cash on premises. Having better lighting at our locations. We're all about being a team player with the city to help eliminate crime, but if you're ordering private-sector businesses to keep armed guards at their locations, that's a Springfield-style mandate that our members really don't want."
Sharp says the cost of the security officers – anywhere from $25 to $30 an hour -- would likely be passed on to consumers.
Supporters of the proposal argue business would increase because people would feel safer with armed security.
A similar bill went nowhere in the General Assembly two years ago.
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