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'I'm Not Against Guns' Says 2nd District Candidate Robin Kelly

One of the frontrunners of the race to fill Jesse Jackson Jr.'s vacated seat is taking a strong stance on this controversial subject. In today's Patch Exclusive, we learn more about Kelly's key issues: gun violence and economic developmen

On Friday, Jan. 25, I met Robin Kelly at an office in downtown Chicago.

We talked about a number of things including the possibility of a woman representing the 2nd Congressional District for the first time, ever.

It didn’t take long for Kelly to give a clear picture of her priorities going into this upcoming election. 

Visit Robin Kelly's candidate profile on Patch to watch the extended video of the interview.

Key Issues  

Gun Violence

By now, it's no secret that Kelly has made gun control a massive focus of her campaign. To sum it up, I've copied and pasted her recently unveiled "Five Point Pledge" as it appears on her campaign website:

  1. Pass a comprehensive ban on assault weapons.
  2. Eliminate the gun show loophole.
  3. Pledge never to receive support from groups that oppose reasonable gun safety legislation.
  4. Ban high capacity ammunition magazines.
  5. Support laws that prohibit conceal and carry permits.

Economic Development

Kelly says economic development of the 2nd District is also of concern to her. From getting more jobs to housing, she says the issue is a broad one and needs to be treated as such. Kelly says economic development is also related to her No. 1 priority: gun violence. She argues business owners need to feel safe to move into the district.

Noteworthy Quotes 

“I’m not against guns. I grew up in a family of cops. It’s generational now, and my grandfather was a hunter... but we have to stop the violence.” —On her “Five Point Pledge” against gun violence. 

“In the South Suburbs, a lot of people know me as a unifier, a coalition builder, and that’s how I’ve led my life. I’ve done a lot of diversity work and really breaking down barriers that tend to divide us.” —On the seeming divide between Chicago and the South Suburbs.

“I’d be very proud, but also in 2013 that’s kind of sad too. We have to do better and get more women into office.” —On the possibility of being the first woman to represent the 2nd District.

The Takeaway 

In an abbreviated election, Kelly has taken an aggressive stance on a controversial issue.

This could be smart, from a campaigning standpoint. Maybe a clear dividing line on the role of the 2nd Amendment makes the decision easier for voters. She doesn't seem to straddle the fence on this issue and some voters may find that respectable.

At the same time, the 2nd District is incredibly diverse and Kelly’s resolute stance could alienate a sizable percentage of the population.

What do you think? Has Robin Kelly's focus on gun control swayed your vote in one direction or another? Tell us in the comments!

NEXT: Republican candidate James Taylor tells us about the "ignored" part of the 2nd District.

Return to our intro page to learn more about this series and see the full list of candidates.

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Jan M. January 29, 2013 at 01:23 PM
Any type of gun ban only hurts law-abiding citizens. It will do nothing to curb violence. Those who do not follow the law get guns illegally, and will continue to do so no matter what new laws are created. Duh!
Arthur W. Wiggins Jr. January 29, 2013 at 02:10 PM
She has done nothing in this article but political double talk. Like most politician on this gun ban band wagon she has no idea what an assault weapon is. 1) You cannot be for a "comprehensible" ban on anything which hold the fundamental reason why America exist with out being against that very thing you seek to ban. 2) Support laws that prohibits conceal carry... here is another hypocrite talking, she is from a family of police BUT no one else should carry a weapon? What data does she have to not only say but to support such a thing? 3) "we need more women in office" people run for office because they feel a need to , to specify any gender undermine democracy, we choose what we want in accordance to condition and the affect thereof. coalition builder and unifier? In my book she is not either.
Debbie Hart January 29, 2013 at 02:44 PM
“I’m not against guns. I grew up in a family of cops. It’s generational now, and my grandfather was a hunter... but we have to stop the violence.” Guess what? Her five point pledge will do absolutely NOTHING to stop gun violence ~ nothing. Criminals do not apply for CC permits, they don't buy guns at gun shows and they don't give a flying fig about bans on assault weapons. I am truly tired of the "we must do SOMETHING!" attitude of our elected officials which only serves to hurt law-abiding citizens and businesses.
Teena Dorn January 29, 2013 at 03:01 PM
I'm not opposed to guns either, but there does need to be more control than there is now. I think some logical laws need to be pursued. I'm so surprised to hear "law abiding citizens" complain about background checks and assault rifle bans. I'm taking a second look at Robin Kelly because she says she received an "F" rating from the NRA. Halvorson and Hutchinson received an "A". In fact the NRA is endorsing Hutchinson. I'm not sure why gun holders would be against laws providing safety to the general public.
I Think, Therefore I Vote January 29, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Interesting, I attended a Forum sponsored by the Chgo Southland Chamber and the Calumet Area Industrial Comm., where Ms. Kelly advised the audience, she was raised in New York, in a rural setting, and her Grandfather ran a local store. I do not recall any mention of Law Enforcement, in her background.
Debbie Hart January 29, 2013 at 06:46 PM
First, because the laws do not provide safety to the general public, they leave them unarmed against the criminals who are always armed. Second, the 2nd Amendment states very clearly that the right to bear arms is an inalienable right not to be infringed upon. It's as simple as that.
JD January 30, 2013 at 01:32 AM
Guns!! guns!! guns!! Yewee..! The gun bans didn't work in the Clinton era.. And they won't work now.. Americans is it your duty to get out and speak out against gun bans.!. Protect your constitution and your 2nd amendment rights!!
Phillip R Baggs January 31, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Michael Bloomberg for 2nd District! http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/17899779-522/michael-bloomberg-backed-pac-financing-anti-debbie-halvorson-ads.html
Teena Dorn February 01, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Modifications to the laws do not leave citizens unarmed. That is not what is being proposed and if you noted my first sentence that is not what I'm opposed to. I was raised with gun training. I'm opposed to auto assault weaponry in civilian hands. Specifically the hands of someone that is mentally unstable. I cannot believe any law-abiding citizen believes that is safe---especially an automatic weapon. The NRA is trying to scare gun owners with their rhetoric. The Second Amendment was written 200 years ago when this was a very different country. Citizens needed weapons to protect themselves. Hand guns were their weapons of choice, not automatic rifles that can kill 50 people in the blink of an eye. Technology has provided our citizens with weapons our forefathers never dreamed about in their wildest imagination. These laws need modifications because we are now living in a more modern society. So again, I'm baffled as to why gun holders would be against laws providing safety to the general public.
Arthur W. Wiggins Jr. February 01, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Teena, in an effort to try to educate ( I do not say that with any sarcasm but pure sincerity) The Constitution for reason like many other things in our lives takes on a belief that is beyond or completely false of its origin, The Constitution has NO concern about material things.... it is completely concerned with how man interacts with man. To think that there is a concern about the type of guns is completely wrong. The Constitution is concerned with the heart of man, more specifically how man has the capability to institute a tyrannical government.
Debbie Hart February 01, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Tv and the Internet were not things our forefathers ever dreamed of either. Should the 1st Amendment not apply to them? It's not the NRA that's trying to scare gun owners, it's people like Dianne Feinsten and Robin Kelly who are trying to scare people who know absolutely nothing about guns. 200 years ago the handgun was the weapon of choice?? These people (and you) have no idea what they're talking about. A semi-automatic weapon will not kill 50 people in the blink of an eye! Good grief. Do some research before saying "something must be done!"
Teena Dorn February 01, 2013 at 08:06 PM
AW, Thank you for sharing. Below is the text of the 2nd Amendment: -------------------------------- The 2nd Amendment was ratified on December 17, 1791 along with the other nine amendments that make up the Bill of Rights. While it is a very short amendment, its exact meaning in terms of what types of weapons are protected is still in contention today. Text of the 2nd Amendment A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. --------------------- So what you are saying is that the Constitution and Amendments only guide us. We need to put laws in place to protect our citizenry. Is this correct? I only say this, because somewhere along the timeline over the last 200 years, I feel we have lost our way with regard to guns. While we regulate cars and license the owners, we do not do that with guns. I don't believe anyone is saying that regulation will stop violence completely, just as rules and reg for cars and drivers haven't stop accidents completely, but to provide more control for law enforcement to provide a tool to assist in protecting the public. Just some common sense that seems to be lacking.
Teena Dorn February 01, 2013 at 08:47 PM
I respectfully disagree, Debbie! I've never used a machine gun, but depending on the size of the magazine or belt, I understand many people can be killed very quickly. And I did not use the term "semi-automatic". As I understand it, that simply reloads one bullet into the chamber, which I think could be helpful to a hunter that just missed that buck and wants another chance at it. Noun 1. automatic weapon - a firearm that reloads itself and keeps firing until the trigger is released Read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_firearm Every one is entitled to their opinion, and mine is that something needs to be done to protect the general public from unhealthy people with guns....not healthy, law abiding citizens.
Debbie Hart February 01, 2013 at 11:56 PM
At the time the Bill of Rights was writtten, well regulated meant well practiced. There were no such things as government regulations. And machine guns, which can kill 50 people in the blink of an eye, have been highly regulated since 1934. Dianne Feinstein wants to ban semi-automatic rifles because they look scary. Read the 2nd Amendment closely. It does not bestow the right to bear arms. It assumes that right is given to us upon birth; an unalienable right. The 2nd amendment says the government shall not infringe. Yes, there are laws, and common sense says that mentally ill people should not have a gun, however, the price of living in a free society is that sometimes we will suffer from tragedy. The Sandy Hook shooting has caught everyone's attention, but that mentally ill person would not have been stopped by any of the proposed gun control laws! He was crazy and determined to kill. At the point that he shot the window out to enter the school, the only thing that would have stopped him is another armed person.
Teena Dorn February 02, 2013 at 05:02 AM
Diane, Thank you for sharing that information. I understand that just because machine guns are "regulated" does not mean that people on the street cannot own them. They can. And do. Maybe we should rethink this. For instance, in Sandy Hook, if that weapon had been outlawed, the shooter would not have had access to it to murder so many children. And the second Amendment says, "keep and bear arms" it does not say specifically what kind. Here is where I believe there could be some regulation. I realize this is simplistic, but this is what many voters are thinking. Myself included. Many voting citizens like myself are tired of all the murders, especially of children. Sandy Hook was a sort of last straw for many of us.
Madge February 24, 2013 at 06:25 PM
Well said!
Madge February 24, 2013 at 06:29 PM
The government (the Left) want to disarm Americans. They start small and move on from there. The Framers didn't talk about hunting. The Second amendment was created to defend US citizens against a bloated tyrannical government.
Tom Losh February 25, 2013 at 02:07 PM
According to the early news articles, the only two guns found in Sandy Hook School were 2 handguns. The "semi automatic assault weapon" was found in his car. I cannot find any trustworthy piece of news to confirm or deny this.
Arthur W. Wiggins Jr. February 25, 2013 at 02:23 PM
"Youtube" Sandy Hook news Tom.... there is an uninterrupted helicopter video, showing that rifle being pulled out of the trunk of the killer's car. I think that is more than enough confirmation.
Tom Losh February 25, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Thanks Arthur. That clarifies my question. Now to deal with the conspiracy theory! It would be nice if this was all staged and we didn't loose those Babies and heroes. Wouldn't put it past our govt.

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