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Small Talk


It Amazes Me!

by Don Bekeleski

I worked the ISRA booth at the Rosemont outdoor show late January. If you ever wonder why we don’t have the support and memberships of all of the gun owners across this state, you need to be at one of these shows and hear their comments. John Hunter, another member and friend also helped & could not stop shaking his head in wonderment.

I would like to share some of this day with you. I asked one fellow after handing him a copy of the Shooter if he was a member. He replied, “I have a FOID card”! John said, “I have a driver’s license”! I told the gentleman if they have their way and pass gun restrictions, you can use that FOID card for dental floss! It amazes me how they just don’t get it. A Police Officer said, “I carry all the time.” Then John said let me present something to you. You come on the job and your Sgt. says, “Here’s your badge and gun, make sure you turn them both in at the end of your shift.” The officer said no way. John says -don’t bet on it. We are here to fight for you and all of us to carry one all the time.

Another person told me he was a life member of the NRA. I said that is good, I belong too and the NRA is a very valuable organization, but here at home we the people of Illinois have to show we want conceal carry. We have to organize a home front battle line. The force leading the battle line is the ISRA! Then I proceeded to show him what the ISRA has done as far as winning the McDonald case, supporting the Cook County “Assault Weapons” case in the Ill. Supreme Court and organizing IGOLD. After listening to me a little longer he signed up as a member. John said to me we should have a bucket of sand here and tell some of these gun owners—you qualify, put your head in here.

One person told me he isn’t in to guns but he believes in the right. I said that’s what we are all about, but he still did not want to listen. These are gun owners who have no idea what is happening around them. One guy didn’t even know they passed an “Assault Weapons” ban in cook County. I tried to stress to these people that the email alerts will keep them informed as to if a bill is going down in Springfield and what to do about it. I try to tell them it’s not your $25 dollars I am after; it’s you being an informed gun owner. The $25 gets you a membership and the paper. It’s him calling to Springfield on a bill is what I am after.

One man I talked to told me he was a life member of the ISRA and showed me his card to prove it. In the next breath I asked him if he was going to IGOLD with us this year. His reply, ”What’s that”? I am serious people. There were quite a few members who had no idea what IGOLD was, only that they had heard about it.
I think the greatest thrill I had working the show was with one person Thursday afternoon. I had talked to him for about seven minutes or so. He said he would think about it. I told him I would be there till 9p.m. and I hoped he would stop back. It wasn’t two minutes later, here he comes. He told me he didn’t get three fourths of the way down the aisle when what I said weighed on his mind and he wanted an application. I was thrilled!

They are out there folks—they walk among us—and they have no idea of the threat to their 2nd Amendment rights at all! They seem to think that since it is in the Constitution they have nothing to worry about. I feel they think we are some kind of organization trying to make money off of the gun controversy and nothing could be further from the truth. John even told them that you don’t see our president on television hunting in Africa.

Every one of us need to stress what this organization has done and continues to do for them. Then convince them to join. People join unions to fight for their wages, conditions etc. Well we are the gun owners union in Illinois, but there are too many out there that are not aware of the benefits awaiting them inside this union of patriots! All of us must be the Business Agents to make this union stronger!

This article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the official position of the ISRA.

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