CHICAGO (CBS) — Democratic candidate for governor Christopher Kennedy says the state and City of Chicago must be tough on railroad companies that fail to protect shipments of guns that make their way through Illinois.
Kennedy stood outside the Dirksen Federal Court building, where a man was expected to be sentenced for his part in the burglary of dozens of guns from a Chicago train yard.
“We believe that it is clear that the robbery should have been reasonably foreseeable by the railroad, and that the train car filled with firearms rises to a duty of railroads to protect against likely criminal acts,” Kennedy said.
He said one way to keep illegal guns off the streets is to keep the legal ones from being stolen, and he says the Norfolk Southern Railway did not do its part. So, should Kennedy become governor, he has a warning:
“I’ll demand that Norfolk and Southern provides for the adequate security of their rail cars when those rail cars are in our state. If they do not, I’ll send in the state police to provide that security until such time Norfolk and Southern secures their own line and I’ll bill them for the cost.”
And he says he’d look to regulatory agencies, as well. Plus, in extreme cases, Kennedy says he would also look into whether the state could seize railroad property or lines until they could be secured.
Executives from Norfolk and Southern railroad issued the following statement:
“The safety and security of our rail operations is the top priority for Norfolk Southern at all of rail yards,” said Susan Terpay, who is the director of communications. “Our police department, working with local, state and federal law enforcement and elected officials, investigated the circumstances involving the firearm thefts and successfully prosecuted a number of the individuals who stole firearms from our property.
“In consultation and cooperation with our customers and local law enforcement, we have established additional security procedures to deter and prevent such thefts in the future,” Terpay continued.
“Norfolk Southern will continue to evaluate and adapt our security protocols and work with local law enforcement and elected officials – to ensure safe and secure transport while also working to prevent criminal activity in the area of our operations.”