Paul Vallandigham.

Dear John,

I’m so sorry for your loss, personally, as well as the loss to the GSL community.  Please accept my condolences, and rest assured that Paul will be in our prayers this evening.

Paul is how I met you guys as I was finishing up grad school back at U of I in spring of 1998.

I was a gun owner, just awakening to the political shenanigans of this state.  I had always heard the “conventional wisdom” from the cops on how to transport, but then I’d read the law and it just wasn’t in there.

Yet here were an Urbana cop, a Grayslake cop, and the Libertyville chief of police each telling me something different when I asked about transporting guns in Illinois.  I even had an email from a cop in McHenry saying that “it doesn’t matter what the law says – it’s how we and the courts enforce it … so don’t do it!!!”   This really didn’t smell right and got under my skin.  What was the truth?

The U of I student legal service didn’t know, but they did put me in touch with a guy in a gun rights organization named “Paul”.  What the hell – I didn’t have class in the afternoon so I called this guy up on a whim, expecting to get hung up on.

All I can say is wow.

He talked my ear off about the subject, said that People vs. Brunner and People vs. McDade showed he was right, but something about a Rule 123 (obviously not the right number) made it such that it wasn’t binding on the entire state so another case might have to go through the courts – I didn’t quite follow the last bit –  but why don’t I stop by and he would give me copies of both of the cases.

What the hell – guess I can drive over to down-town Urbana from campus.  I mean, a real life attorney is willing to share information with me for free?  Important information I just couldn’t find anywhere else.  Amazing!

So I met this larger than life, beard-less kind of “gun Santa Claus” named Paul.

I was blown away.

He talked my ear off covering the obvious subject of gun transportation and the fact that 90% of the LEO’s in the state were making up their own law, had such a fire in his belly on the topic that my irritation under my skin basically became a bonfire in my chest (I’ve been a gun-aficionado ever since!).

He then talked about the Champaign County Rifle Association, and the Illinois State Rifle Association and gave me an application for both.

Talked guns in general for a while, including a few things we’ll call “atty-client” privilege material, and then probably an hour or so on tracking.  I admit halfway through the tracking stuff I thought about gnawing my arm off to escape, but this guy was for real and what he was saying just felt like gold.  I’d better keep listening.

Anyway, I can honestly say that the parking meter ran out and then some, and that to this day – that is the only parking ticket I’ve ever had.  And I earned every penny of that ticket.  All because of Paul.

Yes, my sum total of run-in with the law – my one and only parking ticket – is because of him and that afternoon.

And I treasure the experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

God Bless,

Jason C.

PS:  Funny how events lead to each other, huh?  A random question to a cop – a visit to student legal service – a referral to a “townie” lawyer – a kick ass gun-rights organization – a punk 20-something moving up north with a gun rights fire in his belly – hooking up w/ a guy named John Birch and then telling him he’s go to get in touch with these guys down in Champaign … been a fun ride.  It’d be nice if hell would finally freeze over and we could get that right-to-carry here in Illinois! 😉


Editor’s note:  Not only did Paul bring Jason into the then-CCRA and now Guns Save Life family, but Jason has shared that Paul-inspired enthusiasm for guns and gun rights with his brother, his wife to be and her good friend.  And now they are sharing it with their friends.  All because of one man:  Paul Vallandigham.

There are probably scores more like Jason out there.  Yes, Paul Vallandigham was a giant in the gun rights community in Illinois.


Memorial Service:

A memorial service is being planned for Tuesday, October 9th at the Knights of Columbus, 1001 N. Ohio Street in Rantoul at 5:00 p.m.

Please stop by and join Paul’s friends and family for a celebration of his life and accomplishments.

Dinner will be available around 6:00pm.

Those wishing to stay for the regular monthly meeting of the organization that was so much a part of Paul’s life are encouraged to do so.