CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois State Rifle Association urged gun-rights activists to voice their displeasure Thursday, when the Rev. Michael Pfleger’s delivered an anti-violence speech at a church in Tinley Park.
The pews were full at St. George Catholic Church when Pfleger spoke, and the house was divided. Although he said he was not speaking only about guns, ISRA officials urged as many members as possible to show up, and called the speech a gun control recruitment event.
Pfleger, who last weekend was among those who staged a protest outside of Chuck’s Gun Shop, in south suburban Riverdale, said he’s “not a gun grabber” but wants gun owners to be responsible — and when they’re not, to be held responsible.
When he said he wanted Chuck’s shut down, and wanted assault weapons banned, he drew a chorus of boos and equally insistent applause.
St. George’s pastor, Rev. Ken Fleck, and other event organizers had to call several times for order, and Fleck at one point told hecklers to be quiet or go home.
Pfleger’s statements on guns were just a small part of his speech, which focused on the causes of and responses to violence, and how suburban Catholics can help combat violence.
Some of those who disagreed with Pfleger’s message on guns said he was right when he said parents must do more to take responsibility for the actions of their children.