Sunscreen and lifejackets — not guns — are only protection needed at a beach

Residents flock to North Avenue Beach enjoying the day by Lake Michigan, Monday, June 20, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The only protection most beachgoers need comes in some form of SPF. Or maybe a life jacket if they’re venturing out on a Jet Ski or boat.

A gun has no place at the beach. Not for safety reasons, and especially not as some sort of “accessory.” It’s as simple as that.

Our city is already awash in firearms in our communities. Now, Chicagoans keep getting busted for bringing weapons to city beaches along with their towels, coolers, sandals and a good read.

Editorial

Editorial

“Why do you need a gun to enjoy the beach?” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown asked after 13 people were arrested and 11 guns were recovered during a daylong Memorial Day bash at North Avenue Beach.

The question answers itself. No one does.

So far this year, 5,921 guns have been recovered by Chicago police. Another record-setting year of gun seizures appears likely.

Guns are brought to schools, houses of worship, grocery stores, tourist attractions and other public spaces, stripping away the sense of security everyone has a right to enjoy in daily life. So it’s no surprise that guns are brought even to beaches, where children are building sand castles and wading in the lake. That is our sad, and infuriating, reality.

Brown urged people not to bring guns to the beach after a 19-year-old man was seriously wounded in a shooting on North Avenue Beach late Tuesday, the official start of the summer. Brown pointed out what ought to be obvious: “It is just not appropriate to bring a gun to the beach, to a park, to a special event, to a concert.”

On beaches, people should have a chance to relax, not be forced to run for cover.

One weapon after another

On Tuesday, hours before shots were fired and two separate fights broke out North Avenue Beach, officers conducting a bag check found a 9mm firearm in someone’s fanny pack, police said.

A half hour later, another gun turned up in someone else’s bag.

Less than a week before, at 31st Street Beach, three out of four people arrested that night were charged with weapon violations. One of the arrestees was a 16-year-old boy whom officers allegedly spotted with a handgun in his waistband.

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The Senate was poised on Thursday to pass a bipartisan gun safety bill, while the U.S. Supreme Court expanded gun rights and struck down a New York state law that put limits on carrying a gun in public.

One step forward, another step back.

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