by Dale Lock
Please allow me to introduce myself as your new president of Guns Save Life.
My name is Dale Lock. I live in Petersburg.
Raised on a farm in Fulton County, I cannot say that I “grew up” there as my wife of 45 years would assert that I never “grew up.” As early as I can remember I roamed the hills and hollows of the woods on my parents’ farm, slaying all manner of dragons and mastodons, along with other wild creatures. Since my dad would not buy me a BB gun, I made my own firearms out of wood and became quite proficient in my pursuit of critters. As proof of my hunting success, you will notice today there are no dragons or mastodons remaining in Fulton County.
Later, a neighbor became my mentor on all things firearms, and his influence molded my attitudes towards guns ever since. He owned over seventy guns at a time when I considered owning a dozen enough to make an arsenal.
I married Rebecca Wier in 1975 and farmed with my parents for ten years. Low grain prices and high interest rates forced me to seek a job with the United State Department of Agriculture. I began as a farm and home loan officer and then a hearing officer.
By this time, we had two young sons and then a daughter. Now grown today, they’re all exceptionally successful. Two of three are married and have given us grandchildren to enjoy as well, including one close enough to baby-sit on a regular basis.
In 2011, I retired from USDA. Lacking adult supervision, I pursued my love of all things firearms-related. I cannot (and would not) tell you how many guns I own, but I do reload for more than a couple calibers. I even make my own cast bullets when the mood strikes. I truly enjoy tinkering with guns and trying various ammunition recipes. Rifles and handguns are my main focus, as shotguns hold little appeal. Some might point to a defect in my character that I don’t care for shotgun sports.
I supported the NRA and the ISRA for many years, but other than an occasional letter to my congressman, I didn’t do a lot supporting gun rights.
Then in 2015, Illinois joined the other 49 states with a carry law and I got my carry license.
Sadly, the very liberal pastor at our local United Methodist Church told the trustees that the UMC “required” each local church to post “No Guns” signage. The signs went up with out even a vote on the subject by the board of trustees, of which I was a member.
Later, I confronted the pastor and I received a very cold reception. Even worse, when I talked to my mentor on the board, he indicated he did not care about facts, only that nobody should own guns.
Other trustees did not want to stand up for their rights. So I bided my time and worked behind the scenes unsuccessfully. After a year of fruitless patience, I left the UMC after a lifetime of membership.
Shortly after that, I began attending Guns Save Life meetings in Springfield, Illinois. I felt totally blown away by the high-quality, friendly people at these meetings. The speakers were always terrific and talking to fellow shooters was lots of fun and like most, I learned a lot.
At the end of 2017, then Regional Director Jay Ater had to step down. I walked up to John Boch and volunteered myself as a Regional Director. He didn’t know me from Adam, so he asked for a resume. This apparently fooled him well enough to give me a try.
Thankfully, Sangamon County GSL was well managed by Jay and his local steering committee team. Members include my mentor Joel Gain, Jay, Nyssa Woods, Phil Davis, Elizabeth and Anthony Bellin, along with my brother-in-law Tim Wier and the late and dearly lamented Jeff Shuck. This group guided my early days as an RD and were a great help in running the meetings. I owe them a lot. Joel Gain helped me a lot and was in fact, the person who originally invited me to a GSL meeting.
In 2017, I became a member of the GSL Board of Directors. This gave me a much better education on how GSL operated. First Steve Davis was president, and then Ryan Sweeney became president. These two worthies have guided our organization with a steady hand as it continuously has grown in size and influence.
Unfortunately, their terms have ended. John Boch and I will always need adult supervision. Our wives cannot do it all the time. We will continue to rely on our members to help guide us in our mission.
After all, my friends, you are the people who help give Guns Save Life a very outsized impact when it comes to politics in Illinois. Obviously, we need your support to keep GSL going.
I have no crystal ball, but I know that GSL has a place doing great things in the future. And I firmly believe that if America had a Guns Save Life organization in every state, gun rights would be in a much better place.
As I mentioned, we have a tremendously outsized influence on gun issues thanks to GunNews, our monthly meetings and our connections in Springfield.
We work closely with the NRA-ILA to protect and defend our gun rights in a state with a super-majority of Democrats, most of which eschew gun rights.
Many times GunNews has corrects the fake news in the mainstream media, and it does so in a timely manner. This is tremendously important to your gun rights and the future of freedom in the United States.
If you have a question, complaint or would like to volunteer or offer input on GSL positions on gun rights matters, my number is 217-670-9786 and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Call me or write any time during the day or evening.