Joe Walsh Fires Back At Anti-Gun Group's Criticism Of His Concealed Carry Support

After ever-outspoken U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) told a Tea Party gun forum in Huntley, Ill., that he would be a "cheerleader" for gun rights in Congress last week, anti-gun group the Brady Campaign wanted the freshman Congressman to explain his rationale.

On Tuesday, via a statement delivered to the press, Walsh made good on that request -- even if he mainly reiterated what he already made quite clear: That he will push for Illinois to no longer carry the distinction of being the only U.S. state lacking any sort of concealed carry law.

"Illinois is now the only state in the entire nation that doesn’t allow lawful Americans to carry a firearm," Walsh pointed out in the statement, as reported by NBC 5. "Violent crimes continue to decrease even as more states such as Wisconsin – that recently passed a concealed carry permit – repeal archaic laws crafted to restrict gun rights."

Walsh continued by stating that American "freedom was gained and will always be maintained by a strict interpretation of our Constitution and this certainly includes the Second Amendment."

"While I respect the mission of the Brady Campaign to reduce crime and violence, we strongly disagree on how this should be done," Walsh said. "It should not be done through the slow dismantling of our right to bear arms, and by disarming law abiding Americans."

In his criticism of Walsh, Dennis Henigan, Brady Campaign acting president, wondered whether Walsh was arguing that Illinois "needs to legalize the carrying of hidden, loaded guns to allow residents to threaten violence against the government."

Hennigan continued 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."

While concealed carry supporters have continued to push for the law to come to Illinois, the state's House of Representatives voted it down this spring, while Governor Pat Quinn (D) has vowed to veto it should it ever arrive on his desk.