Former U.S. Rep.
But Joyce Washington, another Democratic candidate in the 2nd Congressional District special primary, said Halvorson’s decision to stick with her pro-gun rights stance is a sign that the former congresswoman doesn’t understand the
Halvorson and Washington made their comments during an appearance before the Tribune editorial board, where they were joined by two other Democratic candidates, attorney Ernest Fenton of Markham and Anthony Williams of Dolton, a pastor who said he was making his seventh bid for the office.
Bloomberg's Independence USA super PAC has paid for broadcast TV ads in recent days toattack Halvorson, who was given an A grade by the NRA during past campaigns. Independence USA has targeted gun-rights supporters for defeat.
"Obviously Mayor Bloomberg and his billions have decided he wants to come buy an election in Illinois. It's quite over the top," said Halvorson, of Crete. "I think it's probably done wonders not only for my name ID but the support people have for me."
Halvorson remained adamant in her opposition to an assault weapons ban and prohibition on large-size ammunition magazines as President
"I believe the law-abiding citizen should be supported and protected. I haven't changed my position on that," said Halvorson, who added that she plans to take training on using a concealed firearm next weekend in anticipation that under a court order, Illinois will legalize so-called concealed carry.
At one point, though, the weight of the gun issue on Halvorson surfaced. "This is the thing everybody wants to take out on me," she said. "You don't know how frustrating this is…when this is the only thing people want to talk about with me."
But Washington, a health care management consultant from Chicago who ran failed bids for the
"I just think if the NRA gives you an A, then we really haven't walked around and talked to the people," said Washington, who backs Obama's agenda.
Williams, the pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Robbins, called violence "public enemy No. 1" in the nation. "We need congressional hearings immediately to declare that violence is pandemic in America," he said, adding that requiring psychological testing of gun purchasers be considered.
Fenton said that in certain areas, violence should be considered "a human rights issue." But Fenton said the gun issue was "more form than it is substance" and said in many communities, "if they didn't have a handgun, they would find another way to kill you." Still, he said, he could support a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, though the underlying issues of crime need to be addressed.