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NIU Victim’s Mother Speaks Out Against Concealed Weapons

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NIU Memorial

A memorial at Northern Illinois University after the masscare on Feb. 14, 2008. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 03/29/11 12:01 p.m.

CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – The mother of a young woman murdered in the Northern Illinois University massacre three years ago, is among those speaking out against a bill that would allow Illinoisans to carry concealed weapons.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports, the concealed carry bill passed the state House Agriculture Committee by a vote of 12-2 earlier this month. But the committee is dominated by downstate pro-gun rights lawmakers, and the bill must pass the full state General Assembly.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Supporters of the measure argue that the measure has the potential to save lives, and that if people had been permitted to carry concealed weapons, someone could have stopped gunman Steven Kazmierczak as he opened fire on a lecture hall on Feb. 14, 2008.

But the mother of one of the five students killed does not agree. Mary Kay Mace, the mother of massacre victim Ryanne Mace, 19, tells Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown that the claim that concealed weapons could have stopped the massacre is “b.s.” She tells Brown it is “like blaming the victim” to suggest that her daughter could have survived if she had been armed.

Mary Kay Mace tells Brown it is “crazy” to allow everyone to carry concealed weapons.

She joined other gun control activists at a news conference Tuesday, organized by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The news conference was held at the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St.

Former Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine was also at the news conference, and expressed disagreement with the claim that ugns make people safer.

“No one is against keeping our people safe. That’s not what we’re talking about,” he said. “We’re talking about putting thousands more guns on the streets.”

He argued that guns do, in fact, make killing people far easier.

“I heard for 12 years as State’s Attorney that guns don’t kill people,” he said. “In all those years, I’ve never heard of drive by knifing. Guns make it easier.”

The organization was founded by former White House press secretary James Brady. Wednesday marks 30 years since he was shot and permanently disabled by John Hinckley Jr., who also shot and wounded President Ronald Reagan.

In the NIU massacre, Kazmierczak burst into a geology lecture in Cole Hall, and opened fire. Five people were killed in the incident – Catalina Garcia, 20; Julianna Gehant, 32; Ryanne Mace, 19; Daniel Parmenter, 20; and Gaybe Dubowski, 20. A total of 21 others were injured.

Kazmierczak had purchased the firearms he used in the massacre legally in Champaign.

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