Former Congressman Joe Walsh says it's time for Illinois residents to "stop being victims" and is urging them to ignore the current ban on carrying concealed weapons.
While gun rights advocates have argued that gun control is restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens, the McHenry Tea Partyer said on his Thursday night WIND 560 AM radio show that "we're at a point in this stupid state where we need to begin to break the law."
Walsh, who sent out a news release reiterating his comments, told the Daily Herald on Friday that the conversation came about after he discussed with musician and gun rights supporter Ted Nugent a web video that's showing a Chicago shopkeeper fending off two assailants with a baseball bat.
Walsh, who has made headlines for controversial statements in the past -- from decrying the medical need for abortion to suggesting that "radical Islam" is real and present in the suburbs -- doesn't think his suggestion will incite violence.
"No, in fact I think this will subdue violence. I think that if those two thugs knew that that owner of that shop was armed and protected, they would have thought twice about busting up in there," he said.
Being caught carrying a concealed weapon is a felony that comes with a potential sentence of one to three years in prison.
But Walsh says he believes residents wouldn't be prosecuted in certain situations for breaking the law.
"Imagine that the Ecuadorean shopkeeper had a gun to defend himself. Do you at all think he'd be prosecuted? I don't think so," Walsh said.
Walsh's comments come at a time of high tension on gun issues in Illinois.
A federal court has set a June 8 deadline for Illinois to adopt a concealed carry law. But Democrats who control the state Capitol have blocked that effort for years and are now looking at how to restrict where and when someone can carry a gun.