Good Thursday morning!
We didn’t do a year in review here at Guns Save Life.
Maybe we should have as we’ve had plenty of huge victories.
Okay, you twisted my arm. This was originally just going to be a reprint of ISRA’s Executive Director Rich Pearson’s “Year in review”, but we’ll go ahead and throw ours in first. We’ll also let you compare and contrast what we and the ISRA did with the Brady Campaign’s “Top 10 victories of 2013” – which frankly, is laughable.
So what happened?
In short, it was a huge year for us.
First off, we will preface the list by saying we won’t take credit for the sun rising in the east or setting in the west. No single individual or organizations did many of the big things that happened in Illinois or beyond. Not even Michael Madigan had that sort of ability (although frankly, for some things, he’s close).
- We assisted in the legislative process – as screwed up as it is in Illinois – to aid in passage of the new, albeit seriously flawed carry bill.
- We helped kill onerous bills to ban semi-automatic firearms in Illinois and magazines over ten rounds – not an easy task in the weeks after the Sandy Hook massacre in a very left-of-center state such as Illinois. More moderate states, including Colorado, didn’t fare so well.
- We needled the Illinois State Police into establishing some sort of reporting process for non-compliant training.
- GSL promoted good training and called out companies by naming names publicly of those who were less than legal or ethical in promoting and/or executing training. We weathered a hollow threat of legal action and correspondence from one company’s attorney as a result of this, so obviously we were effective.
- We worked behind the scenes in ways we don’t talk about publicly to massage the best possible concealed carry bill – and to quietly kill onerous proposals, again, behind the scenes. You didn’t read about these things but they were important and significant nevertheless. Bloomberg, with his $27 billion net worth, can’t buy the kind of work our tiny organization did behind the scenes for the cause of truth and liberty.
- We were the catalyst that cost the rabidly anti-gun and former Chicago Police Superintendent his new job with the training arm of Troy Industries, and exposed Troy’s employment of Lon Horiuchi’s partner from Ruby Ridge. We wonder if Massachusetts-based Troy has yet to recover from the crippling one-two punch of our reporting on their questionable hiring practices.
- We are a sponsor of I-GOLD, the Illinois Gun Owner’s Lobby Day in Springfield. We sponsored buses to take the anointed good guys to Springfield and publicized the event extensively. Afterwards, we prodded the Springfield, IL local newspaper to update their captions and online reporting of the event from “hundreds” to “thousands”, which they did.
- We made news at the national level more than once and indeed internationally, capturing a spot on the British Broadcasting Company’s website homepage for several days with a very favorable video documentary about our organization and its efforts. Those Brits have a hard time fathoming how Americans can be so passionate about their guns and their rights. That’s probably why most Americans are citizens, not subjects.
- We publicly ridiculed and embarrassed Chicago’s Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, making public his past indiscretions and ridiculing his ignorant, bigoted and misguided statements – such as the one where he said he would train his officers to shoot licensed civilians with guns.
- Our new website format, started in late 2012, was refined and we had over 2 million unique visitors in 2013 and roughly 5.5 million visitors total. That’s more visitors than Mayor Bloomber’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns and we’re on par with the NRA’s Blog. Again, not bad for a tiny, all-volunteer organization just putting our toes in the water of online blogging.
- Our membership nearly doubled and our circulation of our monthly printed journal, GunNews Magazine has grown to 20,000 per month. Thanks to all of you!
- We expanded from three monthly meeting locations to four with the addition of Peoria’s monthly gathering of the faithful, all well attended. Again, this is thanks a remarkable group of gun owners who get involved to make a difference in person. Bravo to all of you!
- We donated over $10,000 to the new Central Illinois Precision Shooters brand-new indoor shooting facility west of Bloomington. The facility has been designated one of two Olympic Training facilities in the United States by the U.S.A. Shooting.
- We provided grants to a number of organizations and events, typically in the form of financial support, but also including providing rare and valuable .22 rimfire ammunition to allow one organization to continue their shooting components for their annual event in 2013.
- We partnered with Live Free USA to help spread the message of personal preparedness and self-determination.
- We brought a pro-gun message to nearly 200 million people on Interstates and highways in Illinois with our educational and oftentimes humorous Burma-style road signs.
- Guns Save Life made Illinois’ gun owners positions noted publicly at all levels of government, ranging from State of Illinois rule-making down county Housing Authority rule-making. They didn’t always listen, but in at least one case we put them on notice of potential liability (that story is developing).
Thanks, again, to all of our Guns Save Life members and their families for helping make our organization one of the best in the nation in our mission. Thank you and God bless you.
Here’s the ISRA’s message. They did some good stuff this year and their membership numbers are fantastic, probably the biggest they have ever been and they remain easily ten times larger than ours. Congratulations to Rich and the rest of the leadership of ISRA for a job well done this year.
It’s easy to see why the ISRA often picks up grassroots organization of the year awards as they are easily one of, if not the largest state-level gun rights groups in the nation – and Illinois is far from the most populous state in the USA.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE
2013 was a watershed year for the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA). At the very beginning of 2013 the ISRA was under fire from all sides because of the terrible tragedy in Connecticut. The anti-gunners were on the attack. By the end of 2013, the strength, commitment, and tenacity of the ISRA was well demonstrated – let ISRA’s record speak for itself:
1. We passed concealed carry, and had to override the Governor’s veto to do it.
2. We passed a bill to “clean up” the concealed carry bill.
3. We had over 8,200 attendees at the Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day (IGOLD), despite the snowstorm some of us experienced.
4. We won pro-gun court decisions in both the Aguilar and Shepard vs. Madigan cases.
The courts found the State could not ban carrying a firearm outside the home.
5. We wrote curriculum and lesson plans for concealed carry license classes and shared it with every instructor who wanted to use it.
6. We trained directly, or aided in the training, of tens of thousands of people by listing classes on our Web site, and passing out gun safety literature.
7. We defeated dozens of anti-gun bills introduced into the Illinois legislature.
8. We reached a total membership of nearly 30,800! I can’t stress enough how important these membership numbers are. Without members, we would have achieved few, if any of these victories.
If someone had told me 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago, that I would be writing these accomplishments on paper, I would not have believed them. I am proud of what we have done so far – every ISRA member deserves credit for them.
2014 – The Road Ahead
I often say that a large, active membership is what it takes to defend our Second Amendment rights and promote pro-firearm agenda. In the year ahead, let’s strive to build a much larger and stronger membership. I would be happy to see our membership grow to 37,000 members or more.
Though the future is filled with as many pitfalls as in the past, and the anti-gun crowd is getting ever more sophisticated in their attacks, I am confident we will see many victories in our pro-gun agenda. Our strength will again be demonstrated in our annual ascent on Springfield, also known as IGOLD, which will take place on Wednesday, March 5th. The 2014 elections are upon us – they are going to be critical to Illinois. Similarly, the 2016 elections will be critical to both Illinois and the Nation.
In the next few years we will face the happy challenge of educating many new gun owners who will be seeking conceal carry licensees; I am sure we will also be finding requests for many other types of training as well. It is important that all those who are enjoying the new freedoms become ISRA members – in numbers lay strength.
Thank you for being an ISRA member.
I wish each of you a very happy and prosperous New Year!
ISRA Executive Director
I include this because they are paid “professionals”, unlike the ISRA for the most part and GSL, which is entirely a volunteer organization (nearing the limits of what we can do with volunteers, but nevertheless…).
Their 13 “victories” list is sad and pathetic.
For the money Soros, et al, pay to keep the Brady Campaign afloat, you would think they could do a lot better than this.
Our comments are in red.
- KANSAS SUPREME COURT HOLDS GUN DEALERS OWE “HIGHEST DEGREE OF CARE” IN SELLING GUNS! We argued this case on behalf of Elizabeth Shirley, whose 8-year-old son, Zeus, was shot and killed with a gun sold in a straw purchase. The Court made new law in holding the dealer can be held accountable for its role in Zeus’s death. (Shirley v. Glass)
- RIGHT TO NOT OWN GUNS RECOGNIZED! After the Brady Center sued Nelson, Georgia for enacting a law requiring heads of households to keep a gun in the home, the City amended its mandatory gun ownership ordinance to recognize a right to not bear arms. (Brady Center v. City of Nelson, GA). So, filing a lawsuit is a victory?
- NEW YORK APPEALS COURT HOLDS GUN COMPANIES CAN BE LIABLE FOR SUPPLYING GUN TRAFFICKERS! We argued this case on behalf of Danny Williams, who was shot with one of 181 guns (!) sold by an Ohio gun dealer to a New York trafficking ring. In another landmark decision, the New York Appellate Division held that the manufacturer, distributor and dealer can all be held responsible for supplying the traffickers. (Williams v. Beemiller)
- COURTS REJECT RIGHT TO PACK HEAT, UPHOLD RESTRICTIONS ON PUBLIC CARRYING OF GUNS! The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Circuits agreed with Brady Center arguments that the Second Amendment does not prevent strong laws restricting the carrying of guns in public, in Maryland (Woollard v. Sheridan), New York (Kachalsky v. Cacace) and New Jersey (Drake v. Filko). No mention of the decision here in Illinois requiring Illinois to adopt some sort of carry law, ending Illinois’ hold-out position as the sole state in the nation to deny its residents the right-to-carry.
- ALASKA SUPREME COURT HOLDS GUN DEALER CAN BE LIABLE FOR FATAL SHOOTING! We argued this case on behalf of Simone Kim, who was shot and killed by a drug-addicted fugitive who got his gun from a negligent Juneau gun dealer. In a first-of-its-kind case in Alaska, the Supreme Court held the dealer can be held liable. (Kim v. Coxe)
- COURT REJECTS NRA CLAIM THAT TEENS HAVE RIGHT TO CARRY GUNS! The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit agreed with arguments made by the Brady Center in an amicus brief that individuals under 21 years old have no right to carry loaded guns in public. (NRA v. McCraw).
- COURT REJECTS RIGHT TO VISIT A STATE, CARRY A GUN! We argued this case against the NRA and the gun lobby’s top lawyer. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit held that Colorado does not have to issue concealed carry permits to residents of other states or recognize out-of-state concealed carry permits.(Peterson v. Martinez). One wonders if the Brady would be so excitedly vocal is supporting the winning side in Dred Scott v. Sandford?
- COURT REJECTS GUN INDUSTRY SUIT AGAINST OBAMA ANTI-TRAFFICKING RULE! The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed with Brady Center arguments and dismissed a gun industry lawsuit against an Obama Administration rule requiring gun dealers in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas to report multiple sales of long guns (rifles and shotguns) in an effort to curb gun trafficking to Mexico. (NSSF v. Jones)
- LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST DEALER FOR SUPPLYING TRAFFICKING RING THAT CAUSED POLICE OFFICER’S DEATH! The Brady Center sued Ed’s Pawn Shop in Byhalia, MS on behalf of the family of Thomas Wortham IV, a Chicago police officer and Iraq veteran shot and killed in Chicago with a gun sold by Ed’s to a straw purchaser. (Wortham v. Ed’s Pawn Shop)
- NEW GUN LAWS IN CONNECTICUT, NEW YORK, AND COLORADO DEFENDED! The Brady Center filed amicus briefs in federal courts arguing that new laws passed in Connecticut (Shew v. Malloy), New York (New York Rifle and Pistol Association v. Cuomo) and Colorado (Cooke v. Hickenlooper) restricting assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and expanding background checks, are Constitutional. Amicus briefs yet again. Wow. That’s a “big role” – and by the way, how many amicus briefs did they file in cases where their position lost, hmmm? Are they counting those amicus briefs as failures?
- INJUNCTION OF PHYSICIAN GAG RULE DEFENDED! The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit heard arguments on the State’s appeal of a decison in favor of a Brady Center lawsuit that struck down a Florida law preventing doctors from talking to their patients about the risks of guns in the home. (Wollschlaeger v. Scott)
- APPEAL FILED TO HOLD NOTORIOUS INTERNET GUN WEBSITE ACCOUNTABLE FOR WOMAN’S DEATH FROM ILLEGALLY-SOLD GUN! After a trial court dismissed the Brady Center’s landmark lawsuit on behalf of the family of Jitka Vesel against Armslist.com, we have appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, to argue that Internet gun websites have a duty to use reasonable care in their business. (Vesely v. Armslist) Filing an appeal in a case that was DISMISSED is a victory?
- GUN LAW NULLIFICATION LAW STOPPED! When the Missouri Legislature considered overriding Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that would’ve nullified most federal gun laws within the state and criminalized enforcement of such laws, the Brady Center publicly threatened to sue the state if the bill became law. Days later, the veto override failed. So it was Brady posturing that caused the failed over-ride of the governor’s veto? If Brady posturing is a victory, what happened at the national level with the semi-auto gun bans and magazine bans?
To say the Brady’s are claiming credit for dubious and/or trivial contributions to their so-called victories would be to say they are working hard to make lemonade out of rotten lemons.
We’re surprised that they didn’t add a #14, claiming credit for the sun rising in the east.