A Democrat running for Jesse Jackson Jr.’s seat in Congress attacked the idea of concealed-carry firearms by citing the victims of the Aurora theater shooting, who could not defend themselves in a gun-free zone.
Robin Kelly, candidate in the IL-02 congressional election, claimed Thursday evening that victims of 2012’s Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting failed to “pull out their guns to kill the gentleman that did all the damage that he did.”
Kelly, who faces Republican Paul McKinley in the April special election to replace Jackson, was speaking at her own one-person candidate forum, which she had convened rather than attend an NAACP-sponsored candidate debate with her opponent. Kelly made the controversial statement while arguing against conceal and carry rights for the residents of her district and the state of Illinois.
She told the audience, “in the movie [theater], they have conceal and carry, but nobody pulled out their guns to kill the gentleman that did all the damage that he did.” [emphasis added]
However, the Cinemark theater where the shooting took place was the only one within 20 minutes of suspect James Holmes’ apartment that had a policy banning guns from the premise. Victims and their families are preparing a lawsuit targeting Cinemark for allegedly failing to provide security for its patrons the night of the shooting.
Kelly prefaced her comments by telling the audience that the topic is “one thing I talk about,” implying that she regularly covers this angle in her arguments against personal defense rights.
Kelly began this line of thinking by lamenting that the Supreme Court has stated Illinois cannot ban conceal and carry. All 49 other states in the U.S. already have some form of conceal and carry on the books. “I’m hoping that we have the weakest conceal and carry,” she said in response.
Indeed, her opposition to conceal and carry is one of five pillars of an anti-gun pledge which serves as the banner of her official Facebook page. Kelly has openly campaigned on the promise that she “will lead on the issue of banning guns.”
After learning Kelly would not be at the Thursday night debate, her opponent McKinley told Breitbart News he attended a pro-Second Amendment rally with 150 2nd District constituents Thursday evening rather than attend a debate without his main opponent. McKinley released an explicitly pro-gun rights ad via YouTube on Tuesday:
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC, which is strongly opposed to gun ownership and defense rights, has contributed over $2 million to Kelly’s campaign–starting in the Democratic primary where she faced Debbie Halvorson, a former Congresswoman with high marks from the NRA.
President Barack Obama endorsed Kelly on Tuesday. Obama is currently conducting a public relations campaign for expanded gun control legislation under discussion in the Senate. Kelly expressed support for the President’s desired legislation during her forum Thursday.