The Illinois State Rifle Association is urging its members to pack a suburban Democrat's town hall meeting Thursday even though the gathering isn't intended to have anything to do with guns.
State Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Park Ridge Democrat, advertised the town hall meeting with state Rep. Michelle Mussman, a Schaumburg Democrat, on a flier that said people "can share your thoughts and opinions on state and local issues and for an update on the legislature's spring session."
Kotowski said it's false to label the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Roselle Village Hall, in any other way.
"I think it's reckless, irresponsible and dangerous," Kotowski said.
The ISRA released an "alert" this week urging its members to show up to what it called a "gun control recruitment meeting."
ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson said he wants his members to "just show up and make sure that they know that we're here."
"The gun controllers are pulling out all the stops to build support for a major clampdown on your right to keep and bear arms and to undo the concealed carry law," an email to members says.
Pearson referred to Kotowski's previous job as a gun control advocate.
"Anything he proposes is obviously an attack on us," Pearson said.
After a vigorous debate in Springfield about guns last year, the topic has been relatively benign at the Capitol this year.
Lawmakers last year approved allowing Illinoisans to carry concealed handguns in public for the first time, and gun control pushes largely fell flat.
Kotowski, a Senate budget committee chairman, said he wanted to have a meeting before lawmakers meet in May for their final push to make a spending plan.
"It's a great exchange of thoughts, concerns and ideas," he said.
Meanwhile, ISRA has also flagged a Wednesday meeting in Wheeling where Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz is having an event about how to follow the new concealed carry rules.
The 6 p.m. meeting at Indian Trails Library includes representatives from the Cook County State's Attorney office, Wheeling Police and Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.
Nekritz said the meeting has prompted her office to get hundreds of phone calls from across the state.