GOP candidates for 14th Congressional District strong, but different, on Second Amendment
All seven Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for the 14th Congressional District seat are vocal supporters of Second Amendment gun rights. But there are nuances among them when it comes to what gun legislation they would support.
Catalina Lauf and James Marter have spent the most time actively recruiting support from Second Amendment advocates both during debates and on social media.
Lauf has posted several pictures on social media of her spending free time at shooting ranges. In one of those posts, she stated, "The greatest form of empowerment for women is 2A self-defense." In debates, she's said she opposes red-flag laws. Such laws allow police or family members to petition courts to, temporarily, take guns away from people who show signs of being a danger to themselves or others.
"It is the person, not the gun," Lauf said. "It is very important that we respect the Second Amendment. It shall not be infringed."
Marter has said red-flag laws are "unconstitutional" and Illinois' FOID card requirement is unnecessary.
"My FOID card is the Second Amendment," Marter said during one recent debate. "I stand by (the amendment) 100%. If you look at places where there are good, responsible gun laws that allow folks to carry properly, you see that folks are much safer. We need to implement that in schools and public places."
In another debate, Marter said the U.S. needs fewer gun laws. "There are no gun laws for people like me that are going to make the world any safer," he said.
State Sens. Sue Rezin and Jim Oberweis both have histories of being endorsed by the NRA. Rezin, in a debate, said she supports red-flag laws. She said she had an incident where someone called her office threatening to go into local schools and "shoot them up." Illinois' red-flag law allowed the sheriff to intervene and go through a judge to have that person's guns taken away.
Rezin has also voted in favor of banning bump stocks. However, she voted against a state proposal to raise the minimum age to buy an assault rifle from 18 to 21.
Oberweis has not had a chance to fully lay out his Second Amendment views on a debate stage. It's not one of the top issues he identifies on his website. As a state senator, Oberweis has also supported red-flag legislation and the bump stock ban in Illinois. In previous campaigns, he spoke in opposition to criminalizing the private transfer of guns between friends and family members.
He has opposed any international treaty that imposes new restrictions on American gun owners. However, he has spoken in support of enhanced penalties for so-called "straw buyers" who purchase weapons for someone who is prohibited by law from buying a gun. He is also a supporter of concealed carry.
Jerry Evans has said in debates that the "Second Amendment is essential for a healthy and free society and a nontyrannical society." Rather than red-flag laws, he would concentrate on "mental health and other issues that would lead to gun violence and make sure we are allowing people to continue to have the opportunity to bear arms and protect themselves."
Ted Gradel said in debates that the focus on gun violence should be on improving mental health because most gun-related deaths are suicides.
"The Second Amendment is an important Constitutional right, a vital right," Gradel said. "I will fight to protect our Second Amendment rights."
Anthony Catella has recited the Second Amendment word for word at debates. He said gun legislation must strive to create "a balance between rights and responsibilities."
"We have the right to keep and bear arms, but we also have the responsibility to use these weapons, these tools, with decency and respect for self and others," he said.