Richard Goodall, President.
John Coyne, Vice-President.
Lois Morton, Secretary
Joanne Chandler, Treasurer
John Boch, Executive Director
John Boch, Executive Director
A few years after graduating the University of Illinois, John found a tiny, local group of gun owners who met monthly in the basement of a restaurant in Urbana. They met as the predecessor organization to the predecessor organization that later became Guns Save Life.
Among those people there were some incredibly talented shooters and instructors who learned more about John’s passion for shooting and nurtured him into becoming a personal protection instructor, among them another long-time NRA and IDNR instructor (and local attorney) Paul Vallandigham. John did so in 1997ish, and began holding NRA Personal Protection classes right away – back when NRA Personal Protection was basically the NRA Basic Pistol class plus self-defense tactics and legal considerations that were John’s passion. Soon, he and similarly interested John Naese settled into Darnall’s Gun Works and Ranges in Bloomington and both continued to learn and grow as instructors, sharing their passion with hundreds of students in those early years.
Eventually, their close friends Frank Wright and Jeff Schwarm joined them in these classes and then former students who enjoyed the class so much got certified to teach. After additional training they too joined the GSL Defense Training family and today it has more than a dozen regulars from all walks of life (and a few more who teach occasionally). And three incredible instructors who passed away, all tragically: Peter Wheeler, Jeff Shuck and Jim Sharp.
As a firearms instructor, he and his fellow GSL Defense Training family have helped instruct thousands of adults and kids over the years. John is an NRA-certified Rifle, Pistol and Personal Protection in the Home instructor, a US Rifleman’s Association Rifle and Pistol instructor, an Appleseed instructor-in-training and a Live Free USA survival instructor and he’s held a few others as well over the years.
If you hadn’t guessed, he’s married to guns, but not only as an instructor, but also as a gun rights activist and a student of the gun.
John served as vice-president for over a dozen years before taking them helm as president in 2010. The non-profit saw membership grew over 300% during his two terms as president. Also in that time, GSL expanded from one meeting location each month to four, and enjoyed numerous national and even international news splashes. Accepted a position as GSL’s Executive Director in 2015 with the goal of continuing growth of GSL and promoting gun rights for all Illinoisans.
His training began with Massad Ayoob’s Lethal Force Institute, the 40-hour “Holy Grail” of national firearms classes, which teaches not only advance defensive pistolcraft, but legal considerations of using deadly force. Paul Vallandigham, an LFI-grad and adjunct legal instructor, raved over the class and told John to take it. John did and shot a 299/300 on the qualification, meriting only #3 in a class filled with outstanding shooters. Since then, he’s been to almost three dozen other schools and classes.
He’s also the published author of thousands of articles on self-defense strategies, firearms use, defensive mindset and product reviews. He’s also (legally) carried a gun everyday – as a civilian in Illinois – since the late 1990s.
John also serves as editor emeritus of GunNews Magazine, Guns Save Life’s monthly journal with a circulation of roughly 20,000+ copies.
He’s also married to Wendy (Lund) Boch, a delightful woman who could do better.
He’s also got the reputation for being a terrible boat driver, tragically losing most of his guns and ammo in a series of boating accidents, including boats lost in the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Michigan and most recently, Lake Bloomington.
More recently, he’s pretty good with a shovel too. Although he prefers a backhoe.