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Gun control advocate speaks on concealed carry

A gun control activist said the National Rifle Association’s agenda is full of “bumper sticker” rhetoric and called firearms unsafe at a talk at

Columbia College Chicago last week.

Lee Goodman, an organizer for the Stop Concealed Carry Coalition, spoke to a Columbia College Chicago journalism class about gun control laws in Illinois and across the nation. Goodman represents one side of a nationwide debate that has been raging for years, but has been under the spotlight since the December shootings in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults died.

“What we’re going to have to have is a cultural shift in this country away from violence and towards peace,” Goodman said. “I think that a very great part of what we’re seeing in this country is we have grown to the point where many people think that the way to stop their problems is by violence.”

Goodman, 59, has helped to form a coalition aimed at stopping Illinois from becoming the final state to allow citizens to carry concealed firearms in public. A three-judge panel on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in December that the state ban on concealed firearms was unconstitutional. The appeals court gave state lawmakers 180 days to write a new law legalizing it.

Goodman spoke to the class about the process behind appealing the decision and his coalition’s role in creating change. The SCCC was formed in October 2012. They have gathered more than 7,000 signatures supporting their cause, which was a factor in the decision by Attorney General Lisa Madigan to ask the full appeals court to rehear the concealed carry case, according to Goodman.

“If Illinois is forced to have concealed carry, Illinois may be forced to start working towards repealing the 2nd Amendment,” Goodman said.

But gun advocates seem just as determined to overthrow the state’s ban on concealed weapons.

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s restrictions on guns have hurt the law-abiding public, according to a December article by

“So nobody has a way to protect themselves from the bad guys who obviously don’t care about the gun laws … and so the good people are penalized by the law and the bad people, basically have targets of opportunity to shoot at,” Gottlieb said.

But Goodman argued that more guns will not make people more safe.

He pointed to the nation’s 30,000 gun-related deaths each year, half of them suicides. He also criticized the N.R.A. for using scare tactics to help sustain gun manufacturers.

“The gun industry has had to find new markets for its products because fewer and fewer people are buying [guns],” Goodman said. “One of the things they’ve been doing over the last many years is saying ‘We can sell guns to people if they’re frightened enough to need them to defend themselves from their neighbors.’”

Goodman said the N.R.A. and other gun rights organizations are using propaganda to scare people into thinking they need military-caliber assault weapons for self-defense. Gun rights advocates want the concealed carry law to pass so they can sell more firearms, according to Goodman.

“That’s all that guns are good for is shooting and killing and injuring and frightening people,” he said.

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