Gun Lobby's Troubling Attempt to Overturn Chicago Handgun Ban

| by Freedom States Alliance
(The following is a joint press release from the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the Freedom States Alliance).

The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence sharply criticized the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) and Illinois Carry for holding a public rally Friday calling for ending Chicago’s 27-year-old handgun ban only days after the tragic shooting of 9-year-old Chastity Turner who was gunned down while bathing her dog in front of her own home. Thirty-six Chicago Public School students were also killed during the ’09 school year in a continuing rash of gun violence.

Most troubling is the language, tone and materials that pro-gun groups are using to promote their rally in downtown Chicago. Ralph Connor, an African-American conservative who will speak at the rally, continues to preach a divisive message that “gun control is racist” and is eagerly promoting a film that features him, called “No Guns for Negroes.”

The ISRA finds itself in a hypocritical and difficult position playing the race card as an argument to removing the city’s life-saving measure and pushing for a carrying concealed weapons bill. Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the Chicago and Oak Park handgun bans by a 3-0 decision. U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook, joined by Circuit Court Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, said they were bound to follow the precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court in its ruling on the Second Amendment not applying to states. All three federal judges were GOP appointees.

Yet in response, Hal Turner, an avid racist and internet radio host from New Jersey was arrested for threatening to kill the three federal judges who upheld Chicago’s handgun ban. Turner said, “”Let me be the first to say this plainly; These judges deserve to be killed.”

“The truth is that the gun lobby could care less about the impact that gun violence has on Chicago, much less the devastating effects on the African-American and Latino communities,” said Thom Mannard, Executive Director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. “All the gun lobby cares about is their blind and extremist ideology that wants to force deadly and loaded guns into our communities, schools, parks, shopping centers, hospitals, and daycare centers. If the gun lobby really cared about stopping gun violence in our communities they would stop promoting an agenda that makes it all too easy for gangbangers to acquire guns that are used to kill innocent children like Chastity Turner.”

In addition, gun homicides plague the African-American community. According to the Violence Policy Center the annual study, “Black Homicide Victimization in the United States” found that there were 7,425 black homicide victims in the United States. The homicide rate for black victims in the United States was 20.27 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall national homicide rate was 5.38 per 100,000 and the national homicide rate for whites was 3.14 per 100,000.

“The truth is that the gun lobby are enablers of violence by stifling and stopping life-saving reforms to enact stronger gun laws,” said Scott Vogel, Communications Director for the Freedom States Alliance. “Gun extremists preach their limited, narrow and selfish view of ‘their rights’ without any regard to ‘our rights’ as members of a broad community that want to live peacefully and free from the fear of gun violence.”

Parents, victims and survivors of gun violence are focusing on solutions to save lives, instead of debating divisive racial politics with extremists who show no empathy for those killed by gun violence,

“As a parent who has suffered the devastating effects of gun violence in my family, I urge our lawmakers to gain the political will and moral capacity to support common sense gun regulations,” said Ron Holt, the founder and President of, and whose son Blair was shot and killed on a CTA bus by an armed teen. “If our lawmakers could hear, see, and feel the pain that we as parents who have lost a child to gun violence, then maybe they would understand that we need thoughtful solutions to our gun violence crisis.”