Guns Save Life has grown in our 30 years. We’ve proven ourselves a thorn in the side of government bureaucrats and agencies to say nothing of politicians. And, no doubt, some would say we’re kind of radical.
While 99% of people who come out to share fellowship, friendships and gun rights advocacy at our meetings are good people, we’re reasonably certain over the past 30 years that we’ve had one or more informants/agents try to insert themselves into our organization looking for criminal conspiracies.
What makes us suspect something’s not right? Well, they appear out of nowhere, get 1000% involved, test the waters for our willingness to “bend” the law to advance our cause. Then poof! they’re gone when they get zero traction.
Others have seemed a little more overt in their efforts to incite some “direct action” by members of our organization in order to affect political change. They’re brimming with what they perceive as righteousness for the cause.
Some really old timers may remember Michael Hari from Ford County. He was a former deputy if memory serves and he came to our Urbana meetings for a few months back in the late 1990s. He tried to talk people into taking a more aggressive role in politics. “More aggressive” as in giving our political opponents reason to fear gun owners in general and our predecessor organization in particular. “Direct action” he called it. We all told him that absolutely, positively wasn’t our style.
He thought that all gun laws were “null and void” because of the Second Amendment. He thought he couldn’t be successfully prosecuted for breaking the law.
After three or four months, he never returned. I heard of a couple of brushes he had with the law there in Ford County in the years after he quit coming to our meetings and then he fell off the radar.
Well, 25+ years later, Michael Hari hit the bigtime with his brand of “direct action” politics.
Again, I’m reasonably sure we’ve had others that didn’t glow quite as brightly as Mr. Hari.
“Hey guys, we’re conservative Trump supporters and totally not feds.— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) September 18, 2021
Do ‘ya know where we can purchase some illegal narcotics and plan an insurrection against LGBTQ people of color?” pic.twitter.com/nqSeJNVyA3
Like the guy who showed up in Charleston not quite ten years ago open carrying a pistol. He was military age, very fit and claimed that he just finished eight years in the military. He walked in with his attractive wife, said he didn’t need to conceal and he didn’t need no stinkin’ license to carry. He told us we didn’t need no stinkin’ licenses either and mocked us for our excitement that Illinois had finally started issuing licenses to carry. “The Second Amendment is all we need,” he told our peeps. We invited him to conceal it, leave it in the car or to leave. He left. We haven’t missed him.
He looked a lot like those boys, minus the sunglasses.
Pontiac GSL meeting: March 2023
We had a cadre of young people show up Tuesday in Pontiac. About a dozen or so. Most were newcomers. A couple had been there once before about a year ago.
We had a few of them ask to speak and we gave them a few minutes, which frankly turned out to be a mistake. A big mistake.
Full of enthusiasm and eagerness, they thought that the Constitution and the words of our Founding Fathers over-rode modern-day laws and court precedents. And they tried to sell all of us on that world of make-believe. While most of us would agree that a strict interpretation of the Constitution is a good thing, these folks carried it a whole lot further.
One bragged that he’s carried for years without a carry license. That’s between him and the man upstairs. Twenty-five states have Constitutional Carry. He wouldn’t be the first person to carry without a license without issue. But pretending that just because the Second Amendment says “shall not be infringed” means that you can’t be successfully prosecuted for illegally toting a gat is quite another thing.
That’s wishful thinking at best. And downright foolishness at worst.
Another man who claimed to be a sergeant at the Pontiac Corrections facility said something to the effect that, “we need 10,000 people to grab their guns and march on the courthouse.”
Maybe he was a guard there. The prison employs a lot of good people in the community. But agitating for people to march, armed, upon the courthouse is… what’s the word? Oh yeah, sedition.
There’s more, but you get the idea. They seemed like they were dancing right up to the line of fomenting violence or lawbreaking as though that would advance the cause of gun rights amongst their fellow Land of Lincoln residents.
Anyway, I offered the apparent ringleader an opportunity to write 300 or 400 words to share how mass “non-compliance” to unconstitutional gun control measures (like the Illinois Firearms Ban Act Pritzker signed in January) can be one of the tools the pro-gun side uses to advance gun rights. What he sent me (below) wasn’t what I’d hoped.
Here’s an excerpt of my response to him (admittedly with a couple of corrections/typos fixed):
First off, I still have a really bad taste in my mouth over what happened Tuesday night. When you indicated you had sent your piece, I was cautiously hopeful that it would be a well-written, persuasive piece that would add value to our publication and our mission. Sadly, it wasn’t as I’d hoped.
Instead of devoting an hour or more trying to tweak your piece for readability, and to bring its message into something meaningful to our tens of thousands of readers (which I’m pretty sure you would reject the edited version), I’m going to take that time to offer my thoughts from Tuesday. Jury’s still out on whether I publish this on the website.
More than one person from the audience suggested that one or more of you guys were quite possibly government informants or government agents/infiltrators sent to assess our willingness to commit crimes and/or violence in support of the Second Amendment.
Not only were the attendees in general unimpressed by your cadre’s radical, bordering on inciting violence and illegal activities speech-making, our president was there and he agreed with everyone else.
In the spirit of maybe coexisting or working cooperatively, I offered you an opportunity to write something on how non-compliance can help temper politicians’ decision-making. Or maybe something similar that offered an alternative viewpoint on how to move the ball forward on gun rights in the Land of Lincoln.
Instead, you threw this piece at me. It’s more of the same stuff you guys spouted. A bunch of quotes and cites that (sadly) have near zero role in modern jurisprudence. (We’d probably agree that they should have a role, but they don’t.) “We must put the law on trial…” Yeah, good luck with that. You’re either naive or foolish. Or both.
I hate to give you the bad news, but the world isn’t perfect. And neither is our government. The Constitution says one thing and the real world law says another. You can pretend the real world doesn’t exist or shouldn’t exist as it does, but the criminal justice system is going to love you tender if you don’t act to the standard by which you will be judged.
I’ve had no less than six people contact me since the meeting. Their reaction to you and your cadre taking turns speaking was universally negative. And strongly negative at that.
The prison staffer who looked young? “We need 10,000 people to march to the courthouse with our guns” guy? He really turned people off. I’d be more inclined to defend the rule of law than to join him. His youth and enthusiasm is, as the old saying goes, no match for old age, skill sets and treachery.
How in the holy heck is he going to recruit tens of thousands of people to his cause when he pretty much universally repelled five dozen plus seriously pro-gun folks who are informed and engaged? He’s delusional if he thinks he’s going to convince Susy Soccermom or Joe Sixpack to grab their guns and “march on the court house.”
Here, I’ll share some excerpts from others about how you, he, and the others did:
“I was appalled by the male whom you allowed an opportunity to speak… I was not too keen on his overly simplistic and juvenile rant, which seemed to be a lot over the top… He doesn’t have a grasp of the real world which is a shame.”
“The passion that the young man spoke with is admirable. But passion without temperance can become nothing more than vitriol.”
“When the man yelled that the Greatest Generation failed us, I about lost it.”
“They were trying to foment violence.”
So, you carry a gun and you don’t have a CCW license? You wouldn’t be the first person who carried a gun without a license. What you put in your pants is your business. Talking/bragging about it is foolhardy and imprudent. Sir, you really ought to move to a Constitutional Carry state rather than risk that felony. Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky…
Then saying that if the police show up at your house there will be a gun battle? Yeah, they’re going to love you tender with overwhelming force – flashbangs, battering rams, and plenty of armor – sooner or later if you keep repeating that mantra. If you were really prudent and not just a rabble rouser, you would move to a Constitutional Carry state for the well-being of both you and your family. And your dog.
Years ago, we had a guy who walked in the door at one our our meetings open carrying, bragging that he was doing so without a license (in Charleston). Similar to you guys, he cited the Constitution and the Founding Fathers for why he was going to open carry and how we should too. He was asked to conceal his piece, leave his gun in the car or just leave. He chose to leave. He never returned. We haven’t missed him.
Before him, we had a guy try to talk to people at our meetings into “direct action” both to further political change and to to instill fear among anti-gun folks. His name was Michael Hari. He lasted three or four meetings before he gave up never to return. If your google-fu isn’t strong, I’ll share were I next read about him:
Another potential government infiltrator? Who knows. Wouldn’t surprise me. If we do have infiltrators, they don’t have much to report. We’re a law-abiding bunch. You and your cadre might make fun of us as being soft, or sell-outs or whatever. That’s okay. You do you, we’ll do law-abiding.
I’d welcome you guys to return (and even video tape our meetings as one of the females did) if you wish to work alongside us to defend our right to defend ourselves within the modern system.
If you want to come and make lemonades out of lemons with us, great. Come on out and you can help do things that you can proudly say are making a difference.
On the other hand, if you want to have a defeatist attitude that we’re wasting our time in court and in our efforts to educate and influence the population in general, or how we’re sell-outs because we submitted to applying for a “permission slip” to carry in public, then you can stay home and celebrate your perceived island of morality. At the same time, don’t call us after Johnny Law catches up to you.
Regardless, if you guys do return, it will be so without taking the microphone and speechmaking. We welcomed you with open arms and allowed you an opportunity to say a few words. You took advantage of it – and you did it in an organized manner causing multiple people to leave. It won’t happen again. We’ve adopted a new policy about non-scheduled speakers as a direct result of your performance Tuesday.
In short, if you’re not willing to exhaust legal avenues to restore our gun rights before talking about grabbing your guns and marching here, there or yonder because you think you can because of what the Constitution or our Founding Fathers say, then we neither want or welcome your return.
Is non- compliance the answer to liberty?
I believe that there is a misconception of what non-compliance is or is not. Non-compliance is NOT anarchism. Anarchism is the abolition of government or the thinking that we are above the law; NO, quite the contrary. The key of understanding non-compliance is knowledge.Specifically the covenant of our constitution with the people. “Liberty cannot be preserved…without a general knowledge among the people.”-John Adams. In the Declaration ofIndependence they declare our unalienable rights. Unalienable means that such rights are not capable of being taken away from or denied. These are natural, God given rights from The Creator. The constitution does not give us rights, it protects the natural rights we already have. What is the second amendment and how does it apply to the people/ the militia? “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”- George Mason. The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Infringed means violated, restricted, regulated in any way. Article VI of the Constitution declares all laws made shall be made in pursuance thereof the Constitution. Pursuance means the course of the like, consequence of, therefore all branches of government are bound there by. Any laws contrary/repugnant to the Constitution are not withstanding. Not withstanding means null and void, invalid. We must put the law on trial before we can rightly evaluate the accused. Those who go along to get along are blindly complying to arbitrary law. “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny, when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”-Thomas Jefferson. We the people are the government; of the people, by the people, for the people. We are not obliged to comply with unlawful laws. “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it , he is obligated to do so.”-Thomas JeffersonNon compliance/ nullification is essential for a free people to maintain their liberty and not to be slaves to a false system of despotism and totalitarian rule. Unfortunately all branches of our government conspire to usurpation of power. Non-compliance is our declaration as free individuals holding our public servants accountable to their oath of office. To uphold and defend the Law of the Land.Further resources Tenth Amendment Center.com
In Northwest Chicago the very next night, we had a well-intentioned woman drop a small stack of papers on the podium and suggested I read then while we did Q&A after my Executive Director’s Report. In short, she claimed that citing a 1906 court case would absolve anyone of firearms-related charges.
Good luck with that, ma’am.
Look, folks, we’re NEVER going to advocate anything to our members that will get them jammed up with the law. Admittedly, I’ll tell an audience that I don’t want to have to go the funeral of another member of our GSL family who lost their life in a rest area because they left their gun in the glove box because of that “gun free” sign on the door. But skipping a carry license in Illinois? Or committing sedition? LOL.
We don’t do illegal activities, period.
We don’t do sovereign citizens.
We don’t do legal unicorns or make-believe.
We’ll talk about jury nullification all day long, and how that’s why you as a gun owner should never duck jury duty. After all, you might be the member of the jury who saves a fellow gun owner from an arbitrary or capricious prosecution. You might be the holdout on a case involving a law you feel is unconstitutional. Or it might be a political prosecution. Or a good cop that a Soros-funded prosecutor wants to railroad.
Once more, our opposition to illegal activities runs pretty strong and universal. Dear Kwame and Merrick, save your undercover informants and agents for real threats to America, not patriotic Americans. Although we must admit, getting assigned a gig with us would be like getting assigned to the Butte, Montana FBI office if you like fishing and hunting.