Father Pfleger lobbies against concealed weapons law

Critics worry national bill would undercut anti-violence efforts

November 22, 2011

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(WBEZ/Lynette Kalsnes)
Father Michael Pfleger (right) stands with parents who have lost children to gun violence.

Activist Roman Catholic priest Michael Pfleger is protesting efforts to make it easier for people to carry concealed guns across state lines.

Last week the U.S. House passed a bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons in any state that permits them, not just the state in which the permit was issued. Illinois is the only state that doesn't allow carrying concealed weapons.

Father Michael Pfleger is pushing to keep it that way in Illinois, and lobbying against the national effort, too.

“It is tragic,” Rev. Pfleger told attendees at a press event Tuesday at St. Sabina church. “Our country can't pass a jobs bill. We can't get a super-committee to come together and do cuts, but we can push forward to get guns and conceal-carry across this whole country.”

He was joined by advocates and about 20 people who had lost family members to gun violence, including several parents who stepped forward with photos of their dead children.

They’re concerned the national bill will lead to new attempts to allow the carrying of concealed weapons in Illinois. They also worry that people from states with less restrictive gun laws will be able to carry weapons within states that have stronger laws.

The National Rifle Association didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, but the association has argued that gun permits are similar to driver's licenses, and that people should be able to bring their protection with them.