Illinois ranks 9th on the “state scorecard” maintained by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, meaning it is in that anti-gun organization’s “Top Ten” states with restrictive gun laws.

Illinois has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, which makes the Brady Campaign very happy. Illinois cities can sue gun manufacturers, background checks are required at gun shows, there is a waiting period on all gun purchases, and college and university campuses are “gun-free zones.” Adding to the Brady Campaign’s delight: Illinois is one of only two states in the nation where private citizens are prevented from carrying concealed handguns for personal protection.

The recent massacre of five women at a suburban Rockford shopping mall and the St. Valentine’s Day shooting of five students at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb is proof positive that the Brady Campaign’s scorecard is not worth the paper it is printed on. Two multiple shootings in less than two weeks puts the lie to any argument that restrictive gun laws which leave citizens unarmed and create so-called “gun-free zones” make us safer.

If just one person in that Rockford store, or one student at NIU had been armed, they might have stopped a bloodbath.

The anti-self-defense extremists at the Brady Campaign – who have consistently battled common sense concealed carry laws that put law-abiding citizens on a level playing field with criminals and crazies – are real proud of themselves. They should be begging forgiveness for the horrific crimes that occur in shopping malls, on college and university campuses and anywhere else that their hysteria and political demagoguery have prevented sensible right-to-carry statutes from being enacted.

Gun-free zones are nothing more than government-enforced killing fields, all of them supported and defended by the gun control lobby. Instead of security, they have given us heartbreaking body counts. They constitute a giant loophole in public safety, and the fact that every one of these mass shootings has occurred in such a zone is a national disgrace.

In our new book, America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age, we explode the myth of gun-free zones, revealing them to be nothing more than designated areas of victim disarmament. We prove that the two biggest threats to public safety today are gun-free zones and legislative resistance to concealed carry laws.

Yet with murder statistics climbing and mountains of evidence piling up against their effectiveness, the Brady Campaign and other anti-gun rights lobbying groups continue to demand more restrictions on the most basic of all human rights, the right of self-defense.

Outraged Illinois citizens should focus their anger not at firearms manufacturers or gun rights organizations, but on lawmakers in Springfield, particularly those under the political influence of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. Every state legislator who resists the adoption of a progressive concealed carry law should resign or be thrown out of office for malfeasance and dereliction of duty. They, and politicians like them all over the country who share their gun phobia and serve as puppets of the gun control lobby have utterly failed in their responsibility to public safety. The blood from NIU, Rockford and other places including Virginia Tech, is solely on their hands.

It is time to dramatically change our perspective on self-defense in this country. It is long past the time for lawmakers to find the courage to ignore the gun control zealots, and make them swallow their own words when we adopt responsible concealed carry laws to prevent more tragedies like the ones in Illinois.

As anti-gunners often say when they battle sensible gun rights legislation: “If it saves just one life, it’s worth it.”

Alan Gottlieb is chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms ( and Dave Workman is senior editor of Gun Week ( They are co-authors of America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age, published by Merril Press.