Gun ownership advocates intentionally packed Sunday’s gun control panel by the New Trier Democrats, as pro-gun advocates — who were encouraged to come from across the state in a mass email from the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) — argued and yelled at panelists throughout the program.
“Remember, this is our Lexington, this is our Concord,” the email read. “Be prepared to teach the gun controllers a lesson in liberty.”
The email also encouraged attendees to arrive between an hour and half an hour early, to “ensure that there are more of OUR people there than THEIR people,” according to the email. That resulted in venue at the Glenview Police Station auditorium filling up, with many would-be attendees turned away at the door.
While all of the speakers faced outrage and yelling from the crowd — with many being called a “liar” or “loser” as they spoke — none seemed to anger the crowd as much as Lee Goodman, of the Stop Concealed Carry Coalition.
Goodman, who was booed as he came to the podium, started out on the wrong foot with the audience, commenting, “[The Illinois State Rifle Association] email said to dress nicely and be polite — and I’d like to say that you’re all dressed nicely.”
Goodman then read an op-ed piece he had written for an unnamed newspaper on concealed carry laws, noting that it was “about the babies.”
“It’s about babies,” Goodman read. “Dead babies and babies shot up so bad, they’ll live, but never like they would have. It’s about babies not kissing their moms goodnight anymore, babies not in any more class pictures. … It’s about tiny babies and babies all grown up. … It’s not about someone’s right to bear arms.”
The speech on babies especially riled up the crowd, with audience members yelling out about abortion and women’s rights.
“What about women’s rights to defend from being raped?” one audience member yelled out. “Are you for those women’s rights? No!”
Another member of the crowd yelled, “Has anyone in your family had an abortion? Because that’s murder!”
“No one cares what you think!” someone else added.
“The panel did a good job side-stepping the questions,” attendee Dan Heylin, of Chicago, who came to the event because he saw the ISRA email and wanted to support gun rights said. “They tried to manage the argument to be more emotional than fact-based.”
“It’s hard for people,” said Judy Mandel, New Trier Democrats membership chairwoman and moderator of the panel. “We’ll have that when you have a high emotional issue.”