Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Politics
  3. Policy & Issues

Mark Kirk vs Alexi Giannoulias: pipe down, gun nuts!

Mark Kirk acknowledges victory in the 2010 GOP Senate primary race in Illinois.
U.S. Congressman Mark Kirk greets the crowd in
Wheeling, Ill. as he accepts the Republican nomination
to run for the U.S. Senate seat, on Tuesday Feb. 2, 2010.
(AP Photo/Lois Bernstein)

Related Articles

  • Mark Kirk wants to be Illinois' anti-gun GOP Senator

  • Why would IL gun owners vote for gungrabber Mark Kirk?

  • Don't rely on mainstream press to determine candidate positions

More Photos

Don, both candidates suck! I am so sick of these damn RINOS! I am not sure what I will do at this point."
--Sean Horton of
The Militant Marksman

Illinois gun owners were unhappy but unsurprised as the Illinois Senate primary races concluded last night with victories for Alexi Giannoulias (D-Scylla) and Mark Kirk (R-Charybdis). Neither candidate is a friend of gun rights; Giannoulias is best known for his personal friendship with Barack Obama and the highs and lows his political career has absorbed from his family's bank, while Kirk will always be infamous among gun rights activists for his attempt to revive the Clinton "Assault Weapon Ban" four years after its sunset provision brought it to an unmourned end.

In short, there is no credible pro-gun candidate in the race for the Senate seat currently held by Roland "Tombstone" Burris (D-Blago). This creates a deadlock on the issue; either man could gain an immediate advantage over his adversary by changing his position on guns--if, and only if, he could find a way to make the change credible. That might be easier for Giannoulias, who has no voting record and has not made gun control a central issue, than it would be for Kirk. But there is no indication that either man is contemplating such a step; more likely, gun rights will be treated by both campaigns as a fringe issue, with Kirk demanding that gun owners vote for him in order to further weaken the Democrat majority in the Senate and Giannoulias telling the Brady Campaign that even if Kirk is reliably anti-gun, they still need him in the Senate to shore up the Democrat numbers and ensure that Harry Reid remains the Majority Leader.

"Re-evaluate. Gun rights, gay rights, womens rights, fiscal conservatism, and leave gamblers alone."
--Matt from suburban Chicagoland

There is more than a grain of truth in both arguments, but both sides will try to add a grain of sugar or two to make them go down more easily. Anti-gun activists will essentially be told that no gun control is coming out of the U.S. Senate in the foreseeable future unless something drastic changes, so Giannoulias shouldn't have to campaign on gun control and alienate the bitter clingers "downstate." Gun rights activists will hear--repeatedly--that since gun control is dead on a federal level, they should stop worrying about what Mark Kirk will do as a Senator and think of what a stronger Republican Senate caucus will do--because as we all know, putting Republicans in power restores gun rights, except when it doesn't, and if Kirk somehow made a credible stand against gun control, he could no longer reach out to the all-important Chicago voter.

Can any of those arguments persuade gun owners that either man is the one they want voting on legislation or confirmation of federal judges? No one seems certain. On election night, some stated that they would simply ignore the issue of gun rights, evaluate the candidates' stands on other issues, and vote accordingly.  Some vowed never to vote for Mark Kirk as a matter of principle, but stopped short of declaring their vote for Giannoulias. And some, being completely honest, admitted that they simply had no idea what they would do in November.


  • Carl from Chicago 4 years ago

    I suspect the most effective approach would be to confront these two gentlemen with the McDonald case ... the outcome of which should be known by June or July ... plenty of time before the election.

    If they still don't believe Heller changed their gun-ban playbook, perhaps they will be convinced by McDonald.

  • Susu 4 years ago

    Most gun owners in IL are preparing to vote for a 3rd party candidate for the senate. If no 3rd party candidate appears, there will be a write in campaign. Work on who will be written in progresses...............

  • carydc 3 years ago

    There is a Libertarian Candidate that is Pro Gun that is on the ballot.

    The Case has been decided and Chicago has lost.

    Confront the Candidates and get their stance. If they balk, then it is time to vote Libertarian.

    Michael Labno is the Pro Gun Libertarian Candidate.

  • Chicago Gun Rights Examiner 4 years ago

    Susu, you're the first person I've heard say that. Do you have a candidate in mind? I haven't seen anyone coming up who can mount a serious challenge to either Kirk or Giannoulias.

    Is there a candidate you've heard people talking about?

  • carydc 3 years ago

    Confront the Candidates and get their stance. If they balk, then it is time to vote Libertarian.

    Michael Labno is the Pro Gun Libertarian Candidate.

  • madashell 4 years ago

    the only answer for Illinois is a third party candidate

  • theaton 4 years ago

    There is no way a single candidate can fix the ills of Illinois. The people must weed the state of all corruption. There needs to be recall petitions and tons of education. As with all problems, the people are the solution. It would send a great message if a write in campaign could be used to elect a candidate that the people want.

  • carydc 3 years ago

    Libertarian is a good start:

    Confront the Candidates and get their stance. If they balk, then it is time to vote Libertarian.

    Michael Labno is the Pro Gun Libertarian Candidate.

  • Will Stephens 4 years ago

    find out why Alexi is more conservative than Mark Kirk at

  • carydc 3 years ago

    This is exactly why I am going Libertarian as the Republicans have forgotten their core values and will sell their soles to the Devil to get anything they want. Rather than stand for values worth standing for.

  • carydc 3 years ago

    Alexi and his family background speak volumes. Kirk just misspeaks himself quite a bit.

  • Doug Marks 4 years ago

    There is a candidate that fully supports the second amendment, Mike Labno, Libertarian Party. Lest we forget, there are more than two parties running for election.

  • JS 4 years ago

    That's why I moved from Chicago to Indiana!!!!!!!!!!!!!