Why Is the Illinois Rifle Association Afraid of a Live Test of Gun Self-Defense With Mutually Agreed Upon Terms?

The Test Will Cost Them Nothing If They Win


by Elliot Fineman


National Gun Victims Action Council

It's the Guns STUPID!

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For two years I have challenged the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) to a live test to confirm whether carrying a gun in public provides self-defense. The terms of the test would be mutually agreed upon and it would cost ISRA no money if it wins. Yet there has been no response! Not even a thanks but no thanks!

Needless to say, the “self-defense” that is provided by carrying a gun in public is a basic tenet of the laws that ISRA and other gun groups advocate. Yet it refuses to put its money where its mouth is. Could it be it knows it will lose?

How would the challenge work? NGVAC would ask gun carriers to submit scenarios of how they think carrying a gun outside of their home–whether in a purse or a holster–would protect them from armed assailants. The exact scenarios would then be recreated at police training facilities that simulate crime situations, if possible and if ISRA agrees. The gun carriers would represent a cross-section from those with no training (who are allowed to carry in some states) to those who go to the range several times a week to maintain their skills. NGVAC and ISRA would agree upon the carriers and the scenarios.

To fund the test, both NGVAC and ISRA would post $50,000 earnest money, which would be returned to the winner. If the test costs less than the money raised, the winner would also keep the remaining funds.

Why would ISRA refuse this challenge which will cost it nothing if it wins and perhaps make it money? This challenge would inspire more people to seek concealed carry permits, convert gun skeptics including lawmakers, sell guns for manufacturers and substantiate concealed carry laws! There is only one reason. ISRA knows it will lose.

Richard Pearson, head of ISRA, and other gun advocates love to share stories of criminals stopped mid-crime because someone had a gun. But, like the “big fish that got away,” there’s seldom evidence that the events really happened like police reports or crime records. Worse, the criminals are allowed to walk away and presumably attack someone else.

When ABC’s 20/20 with Diane Sawyer tested gun self-defense in a 2009 special called “If I Only Had A Gun”–the only test we are aware of–carriers failed miserably at defending themselves and others. Gun advocates cried “no fair” because the gun carriers lacked enough “training”–literally admitting that carrying only works with sufficient training. We at NGVAC vehemently disagree. Training or no training, carrying a gun does not provide self-defense. Why? Because the element of surprise always defeats the gun carrier.

Now gun advocates and ISRA have a chance to prove that carrying a gun in public provides self-defense which is the basis of all concealed carry laws. It won’t take the challenge. Why not?

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