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Opinions Collide at Gun Control Forum

Panel hosted by New Trier Democrats heavily attended by pro-gun advocates.

The New Trier ­Democrats' panel on gun control turned raucous Sunday, with some members of the audience yelling and interrupting during the speakers.

The panel, which was held at the Glenview Police Station auditorium, was entitled and aimed to discuss issues related to guns, including legislation, victims, conceal and carry laws and the history behind the nation's current laws.

The crowd, which was so big that many attendees were turned away at the door, was largely made up of National Rifle Association (NRA) members and other pro-gun advocates from around the state. Many were there because of an Illinois State Rifle Association email sent out asking members to come, and some were wielding signs of protest reading “Shall not be infringed” and “Pro-second amendment,” while others carried American flags or wore shirts with pro-gun messages on them.

The panel included Mark Walsh of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Lee Goodman of the Stop Concealed Carry Coalition, Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins of the Million Moms March and Bill Jenkins, author of What to do When the Police Leave: A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss. Attendees were invited to write down questions to be answered at the end of the program, although the speakers were interrupted numerous times by individuals in the crowd, yelling questions and comments.

"A Very Sad and Very Bloody Problem"

Walsh was the first to speak, going over current legislation concerning gun laws. He was followed by Bishop-Jenkins, who spoke about losing her sister and brother-in-law in a 1990 murder in Winnetka. The crowd fell mostly silent as she described her family, as well as the stories of other murder victims.

“I’m here to have a conversation about a problem – a big, very sad and very bloody problem,” Bishop-Jenkins said.

Bill Jenkins, Bishop-Jenkins’ husband, then took the stage to discuss his statistics, as well as the policies of the NRA

Jenkins, who is a gun owner himself, noted a statistic showing that only 1% of the US population ever brandishes a gun in self-defense, and only .25% of the population actually fires a gun.

The crowd began to yell over Jenkins,  arguing with him, until Jack Burleson, a member of the NRA there on a “fact-finding mission” asked them to settle down. 

“We are right, and hopefully it will bear out that out that we are right…but let’s be civil here though,” Burleson said.

The Babies

Goodman was the last panelist to speak, and was booed by the crowd as he came to the podium. He first read an op-ed piece he had written for a newspaper on gun control being about “the babies,” alluding to preventing more children from being murdered. As he spoke, audience members yelled out, asking his views on abortion. 

“Our country responds to tragedy, and we’ve had a terrible tragedy in Newtown,” Goodman said, on why the more stringent gun laws would inevitably be passed.

The panel concluded with a question and answer session, which included questions on mental illness, background checks and the death penalty.

"It's a Very Emotional Issue"

“I think it went very well,” said Judy Mandel, New Trier Democrats membership chairwoman and the moderator of the event, who noted that she was disappointed that so many people had to be turned away from attending, because the auditorium filled so early. “I think everyone got their opinions across…it’s hard for people, it’s a very emotional issue.”

Panelist Goodman agreed with Mandel. “It’s a big disappointment that so many people were turned away at the door,” he said. “People have strong emotions…if they would start looking at the victims, they would understand the issue differently – that’s the key, understanding what the families of the victims go through.”

David Earl Williams III, who plans on running for office in the 9th Congressional District, said that he appreciated the opportunity for a lively debate on the subject. “I think the gun-control people should have been more informed – for example, comparing nuclear devices to firearms … Law abiding citizens have the right to defend themselves. But at least a debate was going on.”

The New Trier Democrats do not have any immediate plans to host another panel on gun control, and Mandel notes they’ll probably stick with a “less controversial” topic next time.

Check back later for more coverage of the meeting.

Eddie Felson January 22, 2013 at 02:06 AM
WE CHICAGO GANGSTERS,GANG BANG GANG BANGERS WE DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR PATHETIC LAWS !!!! YES ! I LOVE TO GANGBANG ON HELPLESS CIVILIANS AND HIGHSCHOOL KIDS!
Sully January 22, 2013 at 02:06 AM
Mean? Really? I saw you so I know you're older than a teenager. If you want to be taken seriously, it might behoove you to act like an adult.. Your son needs someone to look up to. Not someone who is going to scare him with political buzz words and misrepresentations. Another kid growing up with a paranoid father. What a shame.
Sully January 22, 2013 at 02:09 AM
Scalia made a lot of sense with that comment. I'm assuming that what he said isn't too hard for you to understand. Maybe I shouldn't assume.
Eddie Felson January 22, 2013 at 02:11 AM
Why has the corrupt special interest Politicians ignore the United States Constitution ? What ?creates too much power for the executive branch?
Eddie Felson January 22, 2013 at 02:12 AM
"THIS YEAR WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY!!. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!” - Adolph Hitler, 1935, on The Weapons Act of Nazi Germany
Eddie Felson January 22, 2013 at 02:15 AM
Dear ABBA DABBA YOU MOTHERLESS DOG “A sword is never a killer, it is a tool in the killer's hands” Seneca quotes (Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD)
Eddie Felson January 22, 2013 at 02:17 AM
BAN BASEBALL BATS NOW! BAN BAN BAN! YOU MIGHT AS WELL BAN MY DICK FOR PLUGGING GIRLS
Ed60062 January 22, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Robovoter: So which of the proposed "solutions" for gun control would have prevented the Sandy Hook tragedy?
Walter White January 22, 2013 at 03:44 AM
It's pointless to argue with the stupid, Sully. They know full well that we don't want to repeal the 2nd amendment or take away their guns. The NRA has hammered the slippery slope concept so far into their tiny brains that they think any attempt to increase gun safety is a full out assault on the 2nd and G-men will be storming their houses to take away their guns. Pure fantasy but it makes for a good narrative to weak minded individuals.
Carl Castrogiovanni January 22, 2013 at 03:54 AM
"No crimes have been committed with these bullets, so we need to have them in circulation for ... um, why do we need to have them in circulation? " Sully, How does logic escape you so easily? That type of ammo has been in civilian circulation for decades, and yet it hasn't been used in a crime. Banning something that is NOT used in crime is going to do WHAT with regard to crime?! Nothing!! What part of that do you not get?! i.e.: AP ammo has only been used for civilian target practice... If it's NOT used for crime, and only used for target practice, then why are you jones-ing for it?
Cole Pierce January 22, 2013 at 06:24 AM
Guns will be regulated just like the Supreme court said they could. Who cares what some loonies say at some meeting. A large majority of Americans including many members of the NRA want new restrictive laws. God Bless Barack Obama and the Democrats.
Financial Advisor January 22, 2013 at 06:52 AM
One thing that is driving me crazy is that gun control advocates are using emotional rhetoric saying things like - how many bullets do you need to kill a deer (NY legislator) or how many bullets do you need to defend yourself. The reality is that we live in an unsafe volatile world. There will always be bad people causing harm and engaging in criminal activity. >> You have to realize that if you had 3 guys kick your door in to burglarize your house and potentially cause your family harm and you had a firearm to defend yourself . . in a Fight or Flight response your fine motor control would be diminished and it is likely that 10-20% of your shots would hit. Also, criminals may not stop attacking if hit once. This isn't the movies where people just fall over after being hit. One other thing to consider - is not just the short term threats that are always a possibility - like break in or mugging etc. Longer term threats always exist. Gun control advocates are not paying any consideration to this. If social unrest occurs - like riots or other environmental disaster occurs where resources were scarce and looting / stealing / other criminal activity breaks out - IT IS OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to be able to defend against such things. Again - what people forget is that gun owners: hunters, and doctors, lawyers, financial professionals are being prepared for the uncertain future no diff than someone storing emergency water and food
Sully January 22, 2013 at 11:29 AM
Did someone forget to take his meds, Eddie? Based on your comment about Mr. Conservative, himself (Scalia), I'm going to guess you don't know a whole lot. Just the buzzwords, folks! Don't worry about understanding anything- we'll take care of that. Troop on soldier!
Harry Gio January 22, 2013 at 11:32 AM
Y O W Z A . . .
Dan Cox January 22, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Eddie Felson, well said, Thank You.
Dan Cox January 22, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Paranoid? When some one says that they wish to take away, your means of self defense, even though there is a Constitutional Right, that has been re-affirmed by SCOTUS and Federal Appeals Courts... When the Illinois Legislature tried to Pass a Gun Confication Bill on 1/6/13 that was sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton. Really?
Rabbi Cheerio January 22, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Go cry in you oatmeal Sully. The simple fact is that the great majority will be armed to the teeth and you will learn to like it.
Skeeter Skelton January 22, 2013 at 10:00 PM
sully you talk more than a woman.
Second Amendment Sister January 23, 2013 at 03:50 AM
Ask any gun grabber a very simple question. " Would they be willing to put up a yard sign in front of their house that says: THIS IS A GUN FREE HOME" !!! If they believe in their own words and demands then they should be willing to put this sign up in front of their homes. Second Amendment Sister Des Plaines
J. H. January 23, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Sully, I just need to address the ignorance of one of your questions, "Shouldn't a few bullets be enough if you are well trained in the use of fire arms?" Why do you think its ok to restrict the amount of rounds I'm capable of defending myself with? Why is my life less important than the person trying to harm me? After 6 years in the Marine Corps as an infantry rifleman I became a DoD contracted firearms instructor, then a police officer, then a law enforcement firearms instructor. I shoot about 5,000 rounds a year (not nearly enough) and attend 40-80hrs of firearms training a year (not nearly enough). When I was forced to defend myself a few years ago, I used 14 rounds of my 30 round magazine (which we don't fill to capacity) to stop the attack. The fact is that the 5.56/.223 is not a very "lethal" round and it typically takes multiple hits to stop a threat. So i'm "well trained in the use of firearms" and 14 bullets was the minimum to stop the last person who tried to kill me. 60% of violent attacks involve more than one attacker. So if I was using a 10 round magazine, I don't think I would have survived. You've never had to defend yourself with a firearm so DO NOT COMMENT on it. Restricting the ownership of AR15's or other rifles you ignorant people consider "assault weapons" is RESTRICTING LEGITIMATE GUN OWNERSHIP. and regardless, the 2nd amendment (try reading it) is about protection from our government, of which has much more lethal capabilities.
J. H. January 23, 2013 at 05:16 PM
I'd LOVE to see where you're getting Armor Piercing bullets. You know those are restricted to Mil/LE/Gov't only, correct? Do you know the statistics of police officers killed with AP ammunition? Find me more than one example in the past decade and I'll mail you a check for the contents of my savings account.
J. H. January 23, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Sully, what weapons do you know of that have no other purpose than to kill? I guarantee they're restricted to gov't/LE/Mil use.
Paula Skaggs (Editor) January 23, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Do any of you who attended the panel know the name of the veteran that stood up to speak at the end, during the question period? Thanks! Paula
Dan Cox January 23, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Please read the Opinion in the Chicago Sun Times 1/23/13 on page 20 by Jack Sullum, Called: Gun Background Checks WONT help!
richie January 23, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Yes, but I wont tell you.
Paula Skaggs (Editor) January 23, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Haha, Richie, if you reconsider, will you please contact me at paula.skaggs@patch.com? Thank you!
Sully January 23, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Dan, wtf do you not understand about "we don't want to take your guns away"? Keep your go--amn guns and play toy soldier with your son. You mention the SCOTUS, yet you ignore Scalia's statement in DC versus Heller. Here ya go in case you're absolutely clueless- The Supreme Court held: "(2) Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56."
Dan Cox January 24, 2013 at 05:24 PM
An unarmed victim vs an armed victim...which do you think a rapist, mugger, murderer, burglar, serial killer would choose?
Dan Cox January 27, 2013 at 07:38 PM
The Former Chicago Police Superintendent Jodi Weise, stated that Chicago's gun control Laws were a total failure. He also said that the issue is the criminal culture, that exists in Chicago's Southside. The tollerance of evil, lets evil get stronger and stronger... currently 100,000 strong in Gang Member Population.

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