A politician who voted against legalizing concealed carry in Illinois was saved from armed carjackers last week after her husband fired shots at them with his own concealed gun.
Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D.) and her husband escaped with their lives from the harrowing ordeal thanks in part to his legally-concealed firearm. The senator, who represents suburban Chicago, previously voted against the bill that created the state’s concealed-carry permitting system. She now credits the practice with saving her life.
“I think they were shooting at my husband and me, and lucky enough, my husband is conceal and carry, and he was able to protect us,” she told press at an event just before Christmas. “He handled us, and he saved us. I call my husband my hero today.”
It’s unclear whether the ordeal has changed the Democrat’s policy outlook, though. In addition to being a staunch advocate for gun-control measures, Lightford has championed criminal justice reform. She helped pass bills ending cash bail and restricting pre-trial detention in the state earlier this year. She said lawmakers need to focus more on providing resources to young men likely to commit carjackings as a potential deterrence, according to CBS 2.
Lightford’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Reload, asking whether the senator had changed her view on concealed carry in light of the incident.
Illinois was the last state to legalize concealed carry after the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found its total ban unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. However, Lightford was among the few holdouts to oppose the bill meant to bring the state into compliance with the ruling. Lightford was one of only 17 senators to vote against the new permitting law.
“I just don’t feel that this bill has gone far enough to protect us,” she said of the Firearm Concealed Carry Act in 2013, according to Chicago City Wire.
Lightford described the carjacking in detail during her press conference. She said she was parking at a friend’s house in Broadview, Illinois, when three armed men pulled up in a car next to her and her husband. They then demanded the couple get out of the car and forced her husband to lay on the ground. The couple initially complied with what the armed men said.
“I begged them not to shoot us, and I begged them not to shoot my husband, not to shoot me,” Lightford said. “I told them to take whatever they want. They took everything off me that I had of value, and I offered the car, and my husband slid them the keys.”
However, once the robbers were no longer pointing their guns at the couple, Lightford’s husband spotted an opportunity and told her to run. She was reluctant to leave her husband in a dangerous situation but did as he told her. That’s when her husband exchanged gunfire with the robbers.
“It was a scary run because now shots are being fired,” Lightford said. “I thought for sure they were going to shoot me down. So, it was difficult.”
She said she is beginning to recover from the horrible experience. However, she said the trauma of the event is still weighing heavily on her.
“I’m doing much better today,” Lightford said. “I didn’t realize what a traumatic event could do in an adult. You know, I’ve had trauma as a child and as a young adult, but this is my first experience to be just totally frightened,” she said. “It’s difficult. When you close your eyes, you may see a gun in your face, or a knot in your stomach, a little queasy. I’m not eating much, but I’m resilient.”
She said the carjacking has impacted how she views the world.
“My husband and I survived it,” Lightford said. “We’re happy to be alive, and if nothing else, I just have a new take on life. I’ll just live my life to the fullest the rest of my life.”