02/21/2013 06:05 pm ET

Concealed Weapons On CTA? Agency Head Calls NRA's Guns On Public Transit Proposal 'Disastrous'

Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool lashed out Thursday against the National Rifle Association's call for legal concealed carry on public transit as potentially "disastrous."

Claypool said Thursday that the CTA is joining the Chicago Police Department in "vigorously" opposing the NRA-led push to allow for public transportation riders to carry concealed weapons aboard buses and trains as part of a new concealed-carry law in Illinois, DNAinfo Chicago reports.

The CTA is joining Metra and Pace in their opposition to the NRA's claim that public transportation riders' Second Amendment rights are being violated by current law which bans weapons from trains and buses. According to the Chicago Tribune, the three agencies have sent a letter to powerful Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan expressing their concern for riders' safety were such a proposal to be passed into law.

Todd Vendermyde of the NRA raised the matter earlier this week during a hearing at the state capitol in Springfield, where lawmakers are getting into action on the heels of a federal appeals court tossing its only-one-in-the-nation statewide concealed carry ban last December. Lawmakers must draw up a new Illinois concealed-carry law by June 9.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the NRA sees the matter of legal concealed weapons on public transportation as "non-negotiable."

"Just because one is one economic status, they get rights. But because someone has to avail themselves of public transportation, they don’t get the right to self-defense? They’re supposed to roam around defenseless? Help me understand how that works," Vendermyde asked the Sun-Times Tuesday.

Richard Pearson, Illinois State Rifle Association executive director, agrees: "If people were allowed to carry guns in the CTA, there will be fewer robberies. It will keep them safe," Medill reports.

A public hearing on the matter will be held in Chicago on Friday.