An Open Letter
To the Firearms Community

Stemming the Illinois Brain Drain.

by Tim Giblin

Under twenty-five years of Chicago politics, many law-abiding gun owners have fled the oppressive regime of the gun grabbers in Illinois. Even for truly common-sense legislation (right-to-carry laws that failed in 2012), we do not have the necessary mass at the ballot box to get stuff through. The issues were so apparent that Illinois was court-ordered to implement concealed carry when the legislature couldn’t pass it.

Even now, the rumbling from some of the best instructors in the state  is that some want to depart.  The number of Illinois instructors that have chosen to move on to greener pastures once they have perfected their craft, while understandable, is utterly appalling for the health of this state.

The citizens of this potentially great state need for people to stop leaving. We need them to stay and I’ll tell you why:  The Firearms Community needs to be represented by the professional, by the educated, and by the well-spoken.

Unfortunately, for everyone involved, individuals possessing these qualities are the most capable of moving. When those traits are mixed with strong pro-freedom beliefs, they leave this state quickly once faced with this state’s current shortcomings.

Illinois can be turned around. First, good people must simply stop leaving. If the population of gun owners is allowed to decrease much further, the non-gun owners will no longer have access to people who can speak intelligently about guns in their work places and social circles. Education comes from peers more than any other source.  So this brain drain is not an issue of one person leaving, but of losing the positive representation of the Second Amendment in our neighborhoods and workplaces.

Our cause needs good representatives—not some cheesy card with a tip at a restaurant. If a gun owner is trying to be an example, they must go out acting like it, not by yelling about rights, but by being a reasonable and normal human being. People who interact with gun owners should walk away thinking, “That was the nicest person I’ve met this week, and he’s a gun owner, so they can’t all be bad.”

It won’t take just one or two interactions to get people asking questions, but it may take ten or more positive interactions to challenge (on a subconscious level) the knee-jerk anti-gun viewpoints created by the media.

We must understand that people who have never held a gun are going to ask some very interesting questions. They simply don’t know anything about it.

A good representative will remain calm despite having media-driven buzz words thrown at them. They will answer the questions that they can and admit when they don’t know the answer. They will, if given the opportunity, happily take someone shooting with a .22 and ear muffs in a low-stress environment. If they don’t have the means or ability to get a new shooter safely started, they need to admit it and help arrange it with someone who does.

Posting on a gun forum like with a “need help introducing a first time shooter” thread or comment will garner a plethora of helpful people, usually at no or minimal cost.

Instructors need to talk about Illinois with optimism, educate their students about how to get involved, and stop making references to moving out of the state in classes.

The Firearms Community must start acting like goodwill ambassadors. We must choose to stay.  We must charismatically and positively represent the Second Amendment, or soon, Illinois will become the dead weight dragging the Second Amendment into obscurity.

We have an opportunity with the new Firearms Concealed Carry License system to introduce new shooters and answer questions never before asked, let us choose to do so well.



About the author:  Tim Giblin is a 7 year Veteran of the USMC, a Machine gun Squad leader and OEF veteran. He has 9 years teaching civilian pistol classes, 7 years as a NRA concealed carry instructor in Michigan, with over 3,000 hours of combined military and civilian instruction both concealed carry and carbine focused. USMC trained combat life saver training.  He’s also the founder of Train Illinois.


11 thoughts on “GIBLIN: Stemming the Illinois Brain Drain”
  1. It was a nice piece! And you have my promise that in the next few (not as few as I hope) years before I retire, I’ll do my best to promote the image and goals you promote. After that, I suspect I won’t miss this place.

  2. I agree when you call Illinois a great state. The problem is the politics and the chokehold Chicago has on the rest of the state. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. Good Luck.

  3. I like the article and agree that we have a great opportunity to help grow the support base of our groups. We must all become more active in building up the numbers in the Illinois State Rifle Association and NRA. I personally have signed up 10 new members to the ISRA and plan on getting another 10 every month. Now, if only half of the ISRA Members were to sign up one more person… that would increase our numbers by 50% or aprox. 20,000 people. If you want good instructors to stay, you have to get up off your ass and do something. Every single member knows several non members…sign them up and bring them into the fold.

  4. Great article Tim. Education is truly our best weapon against those who would take our rights, any rights, away from us. Leaving certainly isn’t going to do anything other than leaving the problem for other people to fix.

  5. To late for me I’m moving to Texas next month. Tired of not getting paid by state for almost a year after billing them. Tired of paying income tax to those Thieves.

  6. This is a good well meaning article, but Illinois is a “LAWLESS” state. The General assembly passes laws without regard to liberty.
    I’ve just learned that to operate a 4 wheeler in Illinois you will now need a permit even on land you own.
    Plus we still have the FOID card.
    If I could move i too would leave this state.

  7. I was born and raised in the western suburbs of Chicago and As soon as I get a chance, I’m getting the hell out of Illinois. You want my reasons? Illinois is sespool of filth, An over abundance of foreigners, Hi taxes, Liberals, Democrats Lazy idiots and the list goes on. I have done my part, I have tried to speak to anyone that will listen about the issues that are important to the future of this country and nobody cares, Your more affluent neighborhoods can care less, The foreigners don’t have a clue about what our families have done to preserve this Nation. All they know is American government is good according to what they were used to. Illinois is doomed, America is doomed unless we start fighting against the infiltration of the worlds trash. The republicans are no help here either, Political correct is the order of the day and the destruction of America.

    F Illinois…

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