They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
We’re flattered here at Guns Save Life with a surprise announcement today from the Illinois State Rifle Association. In an email blast to members, the ISRA touted three new ISRA Grassroots groups forming in the Chicagoland area later this month. The meetings seem to follow GSL’s successful monthly grassroots gun rights meetings we’ve been holding for twenty-plus years.
Old hands will remember that Guns Save Life started out over twenty years ago as an ISRA grassroots committee. We and the ISRA had differing visions of how to best promote and defend gun rights. We formed our own non-profit, now Guns Save Life, Inc. Since the split, we have continued to achieve remarkable success with our aggressive activism. We’ve garnered international publicity including high-profile pieces seen on the BBC, The Atlantic, the Canadian Broadcasting Company and scores of others.
At the same time GSL was growing, the ISRA also became more proactive and aggressive in their activism. GSL and ISRA have worked together in many cases to achieve great successes – including the Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day in recent years.
Both groups have grown sharply and today we meet again in Chicago working towards the same goal: bringing education about the proven benefits of gun ownership to Chicagoland residents.
The move spells especially bad news for the foundering Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, the Brady Campaign and Bloomberg’s Moms Demand Action.
The ICHV, for instance, is on hard times. Unlike GSL and ISRA, ICHV isn’t growing or expanding. ICHV’s long-time director Thomas Mannard saw the writing on the wall and bailed out on them many years ago. He left ICHV to go to work for a cancer-fighting non-profit. We wished him the best in his new job and we hope he has better luck banning cancer than he had banning guns.
ICHV closed their Springfield office, laid off the staff and fired their lobbyist a few years ago, even before they lost the crucial battle to defend Illinois’ antiquated and unconstitutional ban on civilians carrying guns outside the home. They’ve also trimmed staff up in Chicago.
In 2012, they hired an unemployed “professor” from the University of Illinois to organize a grassroots ICHV chapter in Champaign County IL. The move was an obvious effort to start an anti-gun competitor to Guns Save Life in GSL’s hometown. The ICHV circus side-show lasted about three or four meetings, devolving into a sing-along by candle-light book club of sorts. Yes, a sing-along in a closed room at a library was their idea of how to influence and educate the public about their flawed beliefs.
The ISRA’s grassroots meetings won’t be a sing-along at the library. We’re sure they will be a great deal more meaningful.
We welcome the ISRA’s new grassroots meetings. Unlike Guns Save Life’s May 30th meeting at the Oak Lawn VFW hall (9514 S. 52nd Avenue, Oak Lawn, Illinois 60453), the ISRA’s inaugural meetings weren’t promoted in the ISRA’s quarterly journal, or for weeks on their website. The first one is coming up in just a few days in Deerfield, with others coming up in Hazel Crest and Bloomingdale. If you live near any of these locations, we encourage you to show up.
We’re sure Rahm and crew are far less than thrilled with the ISRA’s announcement. The ICHV is probably washing their skivvies and the Brady Campaign is wondering what just happened.
The Mom’s Demand Action?
They’re thinking about cats, we’re sure.
We couldn’t be more pleased.
Good job, ISRA!