Gun supporters protest Tinley Park anti-violence church service

Sarah Schulte Image
Friday, June 12, 2015
Pro-gun groups to protest anti-violence speech
Members of pro-gun groups plan to protest Father Pfleger?s speech at an anti-violence prayer service at Saint George?s Catholic Church in Tinley Park.

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Members of the Illinois State Rifle Association and other gun activist protested Father Michael Pfleger's speech at an anti-violence prayer service Thursday evening at Saint George's Catholic Church in Tinley Park.

"Guns are part of the issue," Pfleger told the crowd in the south suburban church. "And for those who believe that guns make us safer, study the statistics from the Brady Campaign."

Pro-gun groups asked as many members as possible to show up and painted the event as a gun control recruitment event. The church has responded by increasing security.

It's not common to see "no gun" stickers on a church door, but the church felt the stickers and sticker and "no poster" signs were necessary when it learned members of the Illinois State Rifle Association plan to protest the speech.

"We need some words from someone who lives in the trenches every day and that would be Father Pfleger," said event organizer Angie Brady.

Brady said she wanted Pfleger to tell suburban Catholics how they can help combat violence. But gun activists said the church was using the event to recruit gun control supporters.

While Pfleger and others did stage a protest at a suburban gun store last weekend, the South Side priest said Thursday his talk will focus on the causes and responses to violence.

"Anytime I speak about violence I talk about the various issues and the comprehensive approach to solve it," Pfleger said. "One of these is the proliferation of guns."

But the ISRA is telling its members the entire purpose of Pfleger's visit is to attack the second amendment.

"His message is to take the second amendment rights away from individual citizens in IL, and so that's what he's interested in doing and that's what his message will wind up being," says ISRA executive director Rick Pearson.