Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) told an audience in Illinois that he was ashamed of his state for not allowing concealed handguns, warning that they were the “last line of defense” if Americans need to revolt against their government.
“We are an embarrassment (in Illinois),” Walsh said Tuesday night at a Tea Party rally, according to The Daily Herald. “We are the last state standing when it comes to concealed carry. There’s no issue when it comes to freedom that matters like this, like the Second Amendment. The most important amendment in that Bill of Rights is the Second Amendment. It protects every other amendment. It is the last line of defense between us and our government.”
The Brady Campaign, an advocacy group devoted to reducing gun violence, accused the freshman Republican of fomenting extremism.
“The people of Illinois deserve an explanation from Joe Walsh. Is he saying Illinois needs to legalize the carrying of hidden, loaded guns to allow residents to threaten violence against the government?,” Brady Acting President Dennis Henigan said in a statement. “If this what he means, who in the government is he talking about? The elected officials the concealed carriers disagree with? Law enforcement officers engaged in protecting public safety? This kind of radical rhetoric has consequences. It is truly chilling to hear an elected official appear to justify violence as a political remedy for individuals dissatisfied with the results of our democratic process.”
Playing up the Second Amendment’s 18th century roots in preventing tyranny have gotten 21st century candidates in trouble in recent years. In 2010, Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle warned of “2nd Amendment remedies” if things didn’t improve in the country, a comment that helped derail her campaign against Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV).
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.