It was packed, standing room only at the January GSL meeting in Rantoul. Here, Frank Wright gives our response to the Newtown, CT massacre.

Guns Save Life’s President John Boch called the January 2013 meeting to order at 7:00 sharp.

It was a chaotic night with just shy of 300 people present.  It was standing-room only.  We apologize for the KC running out of food before 6p with the crush of people which caught us off guard as well.  Before you castigate them for raising prices by $1 starting in February, rest assured we’re going to ask them to be prepared for a few more meals.

As is our custom, Mr. Boch led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance then underwent the daunting task of recognizing over two dozen first-time attendees, including Vara Szajkowski from the British Broadcasting Corporation who flew over from London to visit us and conduct some interviews with our members.  May you all, including Vara, come back and become regular members of our family!

Mr. Boch offered his President’s Report, noting that Lisa Madigan filed for an en banc appeal of the Moore case to the Seventh Circuit.  He said to rest easy, acceptance of the en banc request is unusual and overturning of the decision is very unlikely.

We had a big win in recent days against a plethora of tyrannical gun bans covering most modern firearms in the Illinois General Assembly.  Freedom-hating leftist Chicago Democrats from the Illinois House and Senate thought they could push through Draconian laws to try to recreate past tyrannies, but were thwarted by the massive backlash from gun owners calling and writing to the Capitol.  It was close though, but your calls tipped the scales in our favor.  As the hysteria continues to wane, Boch noted, the odds of anything passing also wanes.

Guns Save Life is doing very well.

  • “Stretch” Ledford’s video documentary on Guns Save Life was posted at The Atlantic (Google “Meet the folks at, an Illinois nonprofit” to see the video.  It’s quite positive for the mainstream media).
  • Satellite meetings are doing well.  Last night, we formally asked Springfield if they would join Guns Save Life officially as to be the fourth city in Illinois to host a GSL monthly meeting.
  • Media appearances left and right, from the local newspaper to the Tribune to the BBC.
  • The GSL website continues its meteoric rise in traffic.  Boch asked folks to visit the website and leave comments on the articles.  Submissions for publication are very welcome and encouraged as well!
  • Jeff Blizzard has been appointed to expand GSL into the world of social media.

A number of stories in the national news were covered, including Gabby Gifford’s new job dancing in the blood of crime victims, publishing gun owner names in New York and Florida issuing their one millionth carry permit while experiencing record low rates of firearm violent crime.  “You can do the math there,” Boch quipped.

Boch also noted two home invasion stories from Georgia the previous weekend. In one, a woman hid with her children after accessing the family home defense revolver.  She shot the intruder and escaped uninjured with her children.  In another, the homeowner was unarmed and the intruders found her and shot her multiple times.  “Which homeowner profile would you rather be?” Boch asked.

The onesies we gave to our former corporate secretary Bonnie Garrett who is expecting in March.

Mr. Boch then called up Bonnie Garrett and her husband Cory.  Mrs. Garrett was the long-time GSL secretary and is now seven months pregnant.  Boch presented blue and pink onesies emblazed with the GSL logo to her.  She and Cory don’t know the sex of the baby yet, so she’s ready either way.

Back to business, we all know how insane it has been at gun stores.  Brownell’s sold 3.5 years’ worth of mags in 72 hours and personal defense guns are scarce, but one good thing to happen is that gun-free zones are becoming an endangered species.  Nearly 20 states are seeking to liberalize their restrictions about guns on school property and two are looking at requiring at least some staff members carry to thwart attacks.

Boch also contrasted Chicago’s onerous gun control laws and 532 homicides in 2012 with Illinois’ second largest city, Aurora, which is just 20 miles west of Chicago.  Aurora has none of the gun restrictions of Chicago and had zero homicides in 2012.  “This isn’t rocket science that gun control contributes to violent crime, not the other way around.”

Frank Wright rose to give a rare Vice-President’s Report.

He castigated the gun-grabbing leftists for shamelessly politicizing tragedy, but it’s what we’ve come to expect from them.  Wright also cautioned against irrational exuberance about the court ruling striking down Illinois prohibition on right to carry.  “This is Illinois, after all,” he noted wryly.

He also cautioned against our members getting depressed over mainstream media reporting about national efforts to take our civil rights.

“Keep up the pressure,” he said in reference to our elected officials.  “Seek to continue to influence all of them.  Thank the good ones with an ‘attaboy’ and stay classy with the bad ones,” he said.

Join the NRA or similar group at the national level, “and also a local pro-civil rights group like, uh, Guns Save Life!” he said.

John Naese wasn’t present to deliver a sign committee report, but Paul Messman was tasked with organizing a presentation of our latest set.



On a personal note, John announced that Guns Save Life is officially getting a new First Lady.  Mr. Boch announced that his girlfriend, Wendy Lund, accepted his wedding proposal while on vacation the previous week.

From there, John Boch introduced our featured speaker, Matt Difanis from Honor Flight.

Matt Difanis, a volunteer with the local Central Illinois Honor Flight program was pleased as punch at the unexpected outpouring of donations from the crowd following his presentation on what Honor Flight is all about. The crowd donated over $900 in cash. Guns Save Life added a check to make it an even $1000.

Main Speaker
Matt Difanis
Honor Flight
Matt Difanis, a local real estate broker, stepped in to fill the shoes of Don Niehart, the head of the Central Illinois Honor Flight program who was unable to attend because of a serious illness in his family.

Difanis did a bang-up job for the organization though, delivering a well-done Power Point presentation, primarily of photos he has taken as the local group’s photographer on a number of trips he’s taken with the program.

Honor Flight is about giving World War II vets an opportunity to see THEIR memorial in Washington, along with other sites, with VIP treatment the entire time at no cost to them.

Difanis said it was profound for him, “spending time with witnesses and participants in events that changed the course of history.”

Even better are the random encounters of the veterans with younger veterans and school children.  “The school kids really like to talk with the vets,” Difanis said.
On the trip home, they are each given a big envelope of letters and cards of gratitude as part of a surprise “mail call”.

Difanis asked our members to help identify World War II vets who haven’t gone on an Honor Flight so they may get to experience the trip.

“Very few of these guys got any sort of welcome home when they came back from World War II,” Difanis noted.  “We’re giving these vets the return they earned.”

Honor Flight veterans are paired with guardians, who act as escorts for the vets.  The guardians pay their own way, typically about $500 for the trip.

Difanis answered a few questions at the end of his presentation, then GSL’s president started a hat around the room to take up a collection of donations for the program.  A few minutes later, four hats made their way to Difanis who counted up just shy of $1000, enough to sponsor a couple of vets to Washington.

Tech Time
Dan Sadler
Colt double-action, swing-out cylinder revolvers
Dan Sadler walked the audience through Colt’s development of the first swing-out cylinder revolver which has served for upwards of eighty years as a police and military revolver, in addition serving countless civilians over the years.

Revolvers began in the mid-1800s with the front-loading Colt Model 1851 Navy and subsequent cavalry revolvers.  Fixed cylinder revolvers came along next, made popular by the Colt Single Action.

One of Mr. Sadler’s Old Colt revolvers was proofed by John T. Thompson, a man who later gained fame for designing the Thompson Sub-Machine Gun.

The military sought faster-reloading revolvers and that lead to the top-break revolvers, but they lacked the frame strength to handle high-pressure loads.

That brought the swing-out cylinder wheel-guns.

Nearly a million of these swing-out cylinder revolvers, first manufactured by Colt, were made from the late 1800s and served officially in either the military or police until roughly 1980.

Dan brought a number of early specimens and explained some of the nuances between them.


Tech Time #2
Pete Wheeler
Make your own AR-15 receiver
Pete Wheeler saw a presentation at a Guns Save Life meeting a few years ago by Kevin Stroud on how to machine a partially completed AR-15 receiver billet into a working AR-15 receiver and said to himself, “I can do that!”

Since then, he’s done that an undisclosed number of times and he shared with the audience just how deceptively easy it is to manufacture firearms at home.

Why make your own?  Many folks like the lack of a paper trail with the government.  Others appreciate the sense of accomplishment in making their own guns.

In either event, firearms can be manufactured at home without a lot of resources or high-end tools.

On the website, we’ve posted a photographic tutorial.  Search for it under “Do it yourself AR-15 receiver manufacturing.”

James [T.] Kirk won the Glock 19! Each month, we give away a gun.  He’s holding up tickets for our Great Guns IV drawing.
One thought on “Guns Save Life Jan Meeting Summary (Rantoul)”
  1. So you teach and advocate illegality at your meetings. I thought your organization was a law abiding outfit? Pictures sent to FBI and ATF asking why this is allowed. Have a nice meeting.

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