Why Are Chicago Religious Leaders Supporting a Pro-Gun Candidate?

By Martha Rosenberg
Martha Rosenberg
Martha Rosenberg
Martha Rosenberg is a nationally recognized reporter and author whose work has been cited by the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Public Library of Science Biology, and National Geographic. Rosenberg’s FDA expose, "Born with a Junk Food Deficiency," established her as a prominent investigative journalist. She has lectured widely at universities throughout the United States and resides in Chicago.
October 8, 2014 Updated: July 28, 2015


Guns have killed over 10,000 in Illinois in the last ten years and in Chicago, it is a daily blood bath, especially in minority neighborhoods. Yet five weeks ago, two prominent religious leaders from crime ridden communities, Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Church and Pastor Corey Brooks, Sr. of New Beginnings Church endorsed a senate candidate who is, amazingly, against universal background checks!


Jim Oberweis, an Illinois Republican State Senator from the 25th District who is challenging Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin actually told the Chicago Tribune editorial board this week that he has not seen “evidence” that background checks would reduce crime. Since guns sold without background checks represent 40 percent of all gun sales, Sen. Oberweis must have been kidding.


Unfortunately, Oberweis made two other comments at the editorial board meeting that show him unfit to be a Senator in a country that has 30,000 gun deaths a year. First he, like most gun advocates, wants to use gun violence statistics to prove that gun laws “don’t work” while pretending that gun trafficking doesn’t even exist.


According to the Associated Press, Oberweis told the Tribune, Chicago’s gun violence problem exists despite Illinois having some of the “nation’s toughest gun laws.” What? The City of Chicago has issued clear statistics that many crime guns are unabashedly trafficked from Wisconsin, Indiana and Mississippi, states with looser laws. Does Sen. Oberweis want to pretend crime guns stop at state borders and city limits? And he wants to be a Senator?


Secondly, Sen. Oberweis buys into the NRA/gun lobby paranoid fiction that a database of gun owners is a prelude to confiscation, tyranny and black helicopters overhead. “People don’t believe the government should have access to too much information,” he told the Tribune, as if he is not trying to be part of the federal government. Which side is Sen. Oberweis on?


The same question can be asked about the NRA. While claiming to be patriotic, it has made sure the ATF lacks basic law-enforcement resources like computerized files thus assuring that “bad guys” and “bad dealers” are not caught. Thank you, patriots.


Recently gun advocate “patriots” heckled beloved Catholic Priest Michael Pfleger who was leading a demonstration at Chuck’s, a suburban gun shop that has provided as many as 1,500 crime guns in Chicago since 2009. The Illinois State Rifle Association actually compared Father Pfleger, a the man of God, to ISIS.


Speaking at a Chicago event on Wednesday, Sen. Durbin thanked Father Pfleger, who was also present at the event, for “reclaiming Chicago neighborhoods” through his work against gun violence and especially crime gun-linked dealers like Chuck’s. “You are our hero,” said Sen. Durbin.


But Sen. Durbin also asked whether the religious leaders who have backed his opponent even realize Sen. Oberweis has taken a very pro-gun stance. As trauma units and morgues in Chicago continue to fill with gun victims and churches continue to fill with their bereaved families, it is a good question.