Robin Kelly (pictured on the left) is running for Congress in the Illinois 2nd District to replace former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. Robin Kelly is proud of the "progressive" record she has established as a public servant.
This includes her time as a progressive Illinois State House Representative, as the chief-of-staff to Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, and Administrative Assistant to the most respected Democrat in Illinois, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Of the major candidates in the race for Congress in the 2nd District of Illinois, only Robin Kelly can claim a "progressive record." Robin Kelly has an "F" rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and has received an "F" from the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA).
Former Congresswomen Debbie Halvorson cannot make that claim of being a "true progressive," based on many issues, but the most glaring is her abandonment of progressive principles is her stand on "guns rights" and "gun control."
Debbie Halvorson has a dismal record on the issue of "gun control" and the proof is that she has the support of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and has received the support of the Illinois State Rifle Assoication (ISRA). She told Roll Call reporter Shira Toeplitz that “I’m not going to change just because this is a primary with a lot of candidates,” she said. “I know where I stand. I’ve been doing this for 20 years.”
She also told Roll Call that "a criminal will always find a way to get a gun.” She said she “may” support an assault weapon ban.
Then maybe not.
At a critical juncture in the "gun control" debate, does the 2nd Congressional district of Illinois need another "no" vote in the United States Congress on the issue of guns. Don't we have enough "no" votes from the right-wing, Tea Party controlled Republicans in the House of Representatives?
The ISRA is pulling for a pro-gun candidate, that is certain. “It’s going to make a difference in the Illinois delegation, certainly,” said Richard Pearson, ISRA’s executive director. “One 435th of a vote? We’ll take it.”
In 2008, Debbie Halvorson had an A+ rating from the NRA. She supported the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding a citizen’s right to own guns, as well as the striking of Washington D.C.’s handgun ban, as reported by Kurt Erickson of The Pantagraph on Oct. 19, 2008.
In 2009, Debbie Halvorson was part of 65 House Democrats who vowed to “actively oppose” any effort to restore the assault weapons ban as reported in Steve Chapman's column in the Chicago Tribune on Feb. 14, 2010.
In 2010, Debbie Halvorson received the NRA endorsement again. The NRA cited her record, including her support for an amendment allowing permit holders to carry concealed weapons in national parks, as reported by the Associated Press (AP) on Sept. 28, 2010.
Another contender in the race, is a pretender when it comes to being a "true progressive." Illinois State Senator Toi Hutchinson’s record on preventing gun violence is becoming muddier by the day as she obfuscates and attempts to mislead 2nd Congressional District voters about her true position on the issue and her history of currying favor with the National Rifle Association (NRA).
After being appointed to Debbie Halvorson’s state senate seat in 2010, Senator Toi Hutchinson received an A- rating from the NRA Political Victory fund, the highest rating for a candidate without a record of gun votes at the time.
After being appointed to Debbie Halvorson’s state senate seat in 2010 Hutchinson received an A- rating from the NRA Political Victory fund, the highest rating for a candidate without a record of gun votes at the time. Until her current run, she has listed the NRA endorsement on her website. The NRA gave her a 92% rating for the 2012 cycle.
In her 2010 campaign, Hutchinson aggressively struck back against accusations from her Republican opponent that she was not pro-gun enough. In fact, Hutchinson released a statement to the press saying:
• “Law-abiding citizens don’t need any more infringements on their constitutional right to protect their families and their property.”
• “I know that my stance on gun rights isn’t the consensus in my party, but above all else, I represent the 40th district; a diverse district that is representative of the State of Illinois,” said Hutchinson. “I’m clear about our right to keep and bear arms, and I’ve been recognized for that.”
This statement was removed from Senator Hutchinson’s website before launching her Congressional campaign, but a cached version remains.
On December 19th, a Hutchinson spokesperson told Roll Call that the Senator has “always supported” an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
However, Robin Kelly and her campaign is calling on Senator Toi Hutchinson to release her 2010 or 2012 NRA questionnaires and should do so to clarify the totality of her record.
The National Rifle Association’s 2012 questionnaire for Illinois state legislature candidates directly addresses questions about assault weapons bans and bans on high capacity ammunition magazines:
• Question 10: Do you support state legislation banning the lawful manufacture, possession, ownership, purchase, sale and/or transfer of any firearms?
• Question 11: Would you support state legislation restricting the possession, ownership, purchase, sale and/or transfer of semi-automatic firearms used for hunting, competitive shooting, collecting and self-defense?
• Question 12: Would you support restricting or banning magazines that hold more than ten rounds?
How does Senator Toi Hutchinson answer those questions? Can we conclude those answers were to the liking of the NRA.
Of course they were, since they wouldn't think of endorsing her without it.
These issues are the core of the NRA’s legislative agenda. And it goes against the "progressive" agenda.
In order to understand whether Senator Hutchinson has “always supported” the ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines as her spokesperson claims, she must release her NRA questionnaire that she filled out last August.
Either Senator Hutchinson supported the NRA’s position on the issue at the time in order to win their endorsement or she notified them of her opposition to their core beliefs and received the endorsement regardless.
Meanwhile, Robin Kelly is running an open and honest campaign and will not tell the voters necessarily what they want to hear depending on the audience. Robin Kelly supports the 2nd Amendment. Every American does.
Gun control is an issue that is "front and center" in a special election being held in Illinois to replace former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., in the Congressional 2nd district. Former state representative and longtime friend of President Barack Obama, Robin Kelly, has taken a stand for stronger laws to protect citizens from gun violence.
Robin Kelly has taken the lead on the issues, getting out front on the issue of gun control and also released a new campaign video today entitled “Enough,” that powerfully delivers the message of the need for stronger gun control. Robin Kelly also has a "zero" rating from the National Rifle Association, meaning she never votes the NRA way on legislation.
Robin Kelly vowed that if elected to congress, she will:
• Pass a strong, comprehensive ban on assault weapons.
• Eliminate the gun show loophole.
• Ban the use of high capacity ammunition magazines, like those used in Newtown and Aurora.
• Pledge never to receive support from organizations, like the NRA, that oppose reasonable gun safety legislation.
• Support current laws that prohibit conceal and carry permits.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books