Gun Rights Activist & Icon, Robert Kukla, Passes

Robert Kukla
Robert Kukla

USA – -( Robert John Kukla, a retired administrative law judge in Illinois and a giant in the early days of the gun rights movement, has passed away. He was 87.

Born Dec. 1, 1932, in Chicago, the son of John and Antoinette Marie Kukla, Mr. Kukla rose to prominence in the early 1970s as a Second Amendment advocate and he authored a landmark book titled “Gun Control—A Written Record of Efforts to Eliminate the Private Possession of Firearms in America” and considered even today to be an important factual resource for Second Amendment scholars and advocates.

According to information supplied by his son, also named Robert, Mr. Kukla graduated from Northwestern University with a Juris Doctorate degree in 1957. During his long career, Mr. Kukla worked as a casualty adjuster for Allstate Insurance, then as a trial attorney with the firm Fitzgerald, Petrucelli & Simon following graduation, 1957-61. He went on to become director of marketing, sales, and distribution for Sears, Roebuck, and Company, 1962-70, and from 1970 to 1972, he was a self-employed author, writer, lecturer, consultant, and radio and television personality.

He was also a hearings attorney supervisor for the State of Illinois, 1970-1976, and then he became the executive director for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, 1976-78.

Beginning in 1978, Mr. Kukla was a board member and legislative director for the then-fledgling Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, during which he and CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb became closely acquainted. He also served as an advisor to the Second Amendment Foundation during the same period, and from 1958 to 1970, he was chairman of the Legislative Committee for the Illinois State Rifle Association.

“Bob Kukla was a dear friend, in addition to being a brilliant advisor,” Gottlieb recalled. “He was also a mentor and a real powerhouse in those early days of the gun rights battle.”

During the 1980s, Mr. Kukla was an instructor at Triton College (1980-83), Oakton College (1981-89), Roosevelt University (1985), and he was a professor of law starting in 1988.
An expert marksman and pistol shooter, Mr. Kukla was once honored with a Certificate of Merit from the City of Chicago for having gone to the aid of a robbery and assault victim in 1970. The certificate was presented by then-Mayor Richard J. Daley.

He also was an avid woodworker, according to an obituary, “creating toy swords, bow and arrows, furniture and holiday decorations.”

Mr. Kukla was a resident of Park Ridge, IL., a Chicago suburb. He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara. He is survived by his sons, Robert and Jay, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons, Kameron Robert and Kody Dennis.

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Robert Kukla lived and spent a career in the Chicago area, a difficult environment to advocate for citizen gun rights. We must remember him and the other activists, laboring in NY, NJ, IL, CA, MA, MD, WA, and other venues, where gun ownership not only cannot be taken for granted, but face the brick wall of overbearing government. Kukla would want us to keep up the good fight. For at this juncture, there are no safe places.


Way back in time I did a research paper on Gun Control. I had used a book by Kukla as the basis of my thesis. I can only assume it was the one mentioned. I could have easily undated my work but I somehow inadverntly thru my copy out.


Very sad to hear of Robert Kukla’s passing, condolences to his family.

Larry, like you I have a copy of his 1973 book and it is very well written and informative. Spells out many things on gun control and some of those involved in that movement.

RIP Mr. Kukla. .


RIP, Patriot.


I don’t remember how or where I managed to pick up my copy of his book nearly 30 years ago, but it was a fascinating read on the birth of the organized gun-control movement in the Kennedy years. It’s an education about what to do and what not to do (the NRA at the time did lots of both) when confronted by those who would destroy your freedoms. The man personally lived this history, and mentally I thank him often for writing it down and passing it on for us to learn from.