Yesterday, Gun Rights Watch spoke to Matt Quigley, candidate For Aurora, Illinois 14th District Representative, who was on scene at the shooting Friday in the aftermath right after the incident went down. He and his campaign manager Mike Alfaro spoke to neighbors and bystanders on the street to get their opinions.
Matt and Mike were driving in the area when they heard about the shooting, which was still an active scene at that point. They parked within walking distance of the scene and mingled amongst the people on the sidewalk far enough away to not obstruct the emergency vehicles coming and going to get reactions from neighbors of the Henry Platt Co. manufacturing plant.
One of the neighbors, a Democrat named Jeremy, told Matt and his campaign manager Mike that he was very upset by the push for anti-gun legislation in the area, and was very frustrated because wanted to protect himself and his family. He also was very concerned about the Pratt building because he knew it was a gun-free zone by the sign on the door. He said it made him feel unsafe that no one there would be able to protect themselves, and that he "didn't want to see challenges to the Second Amendment at all".
He went on to suggest that he'd much rather see restrictions rolled back to the point where the people could reasonably defend themselves if they needed to. Others who spoke up in the crowd voiced the same sentiments. Another part of the problem troubling Jeremy was that the building had no armed security of any kind. He suggested that if the company had hired proper security, then maybe the shooter would have thought twice before continuing to do what he did.
Other bystanders who took the time to talk to Matt and Mike were parents who had urgent concerns that afternoon about school buses dropping off the children during an active shooter emergency, right in the middle of it. Some were in tears as they recounted having to race on foot to the bus to scoop up their children and having to be unarmed the whole time since just trying to legally own a firearm in Illinois is too difficult and expensive for many to be able to manage. No security and no police to protect them as they picked up the kids meant that they were at the mercy of the gunman if he suddenly came their way during the dropoff phase.
The pair then told GRW that a Democrat delegation was coming to the scene on Sunday to have a moment of silence for the victims, then immediately hold an anti-gun rally directly afterward. Chelsea Clinton was rumored to be en route, as well as Lauren Underwood, the Democrat candidate for the same seat that Quigley is running for, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Rep. Bill Foster, and other prominent Democrats.
Quigley then spoke at length about how he supports the Second Amendment fully and also training, but he wants to ensure that no government entity ever infringes on the public's Second Amendment rights or that when situations like the Aurora shooting happen it doesn't result in more infringement, which will just enable more shootings.
His team later sent us a press release about the shooting, that they had prepared:
Local Congressional Candidate Responds to Aurora Shooting
February 16, 2019
Contact: Matt Quigley 224-254-0437
AURORA, IL— Republican Congressional Candidate Matt Quigley was minutes away when the tragic shooting in Aurora, IL occurred. He was in the process of moving to a new home in the Aurora. He arrived on the scene, supported the police who responded, respected their boundaries as they responded to the situation, and talked with witnesses and members of the local community. Hugs were given and he led them in a prayer for the victims and their families. He also listened to their immediate concerns. Several were visibly upset and expressed their frustration that the factory where it occurred had no armed guard and declared itself as a gun free zone. They expressed frustration that the first response by many would be to try to legislate gun rights away. Illinois has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. They did nothing to stop the event. The shooter shouldn’t have been able to get the gun he did with the laws in place, he had his weapon illegally.
Matt Quigley believes firmly in the second amendment and would push for legislation that enables people to hold businesses and employers liable if they restrict law abiding gun owners from defending themselves from criminals. Additionally, he believes in increased access to and funding for mental health treatment. There is a stigma in today’s society about treating mental health as a real problem, and it must be eliminated. That is the true root cause of not only a violence problem, but so many other problems today.
Sunday, February 17, there will be a vigil for the victims in Aurora. Congressional Candidate Matt Quigley will attend to support his community and grieve for those who were lost. He anticipates an anti-gun protest immediately following the event, but Matt will speak for neighbors and witnesses he talked to, who expressed fear and a desire to protect themselves with their second amendment rights. He will make sure that their voice is heard, and this tragedy isn’t co-opted by politicians determined to use it to advance their anti-gun agenda.
Matt also created a GoFundMe for the victims of the shooting to raise money for their families, through the Aurora Police Department.
GoFundMe for Victims: