Gun owners, get active!

By John Meacham, ISRA Member

This article first appeared in the County Journal.

As I read an article with the headline “RNC internal poll finds GOP in danger due to complacent Trump voters: report” on thehill.com, I was reminded of what Illinois State Rifle Association leaders told those of us who attended a regional meeting in Marion Tuesday of last week.

We conservatives in general and law-abiding firearm owners in particular are all too often our own worst enemies. We are too often too apathetic or uninformed to bring our full power to bear against our very real foes.

ISRA executive director Richard Pearson provided some numbers. There are 2,280,658 Firearm Owners Identification card holders in Illinois – an average of 19,000 per legislative district. There are 310,543 Concealed Carry License holders in the state. All have passed extensive criminal history and mental health background checks.

Nationally, there are 17.25 million concealed carry permit holders, and 14 states allow carry without a permit, Pearson added.

“We need them to get active, but a certain percent have an ostrich complex,” he said. “They don't want to hear about problems.”

And there are problems, Pearson continued. This year in Illinois, seven Republicans voted for some form of new gun control legislation, he said, adding that Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed some of the worst and Southern Illinois Democrats “saved us” by voting against other measures.

ISRA's immediate priority is to turn out pro-Second Amendment voters in the November election, Pearson said.

“Everything will turn on what happens November 6. If we lose the governor, we're toast.”

ISRA is taking other steps, too, Pearson and the organization's lobbyists reported. One is asking county boards to pass a Gun Sanctuary County Resolution which opposes “any bill where the 100th Illinois General Assembly desires to restrict the individual right of US Citizens as protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

The commissioners of 33 counties, including Perry, Washington and Monroe, have passed this resolution. It is pending in 43 counties, including Randolph. There has been no action in 26 counties, including Jackson and St. Clair. Pearson noted that the resolution has no legal effect, but can influence legislators politically.

I urge my fellow pro-2nd Amendment residents in Randolph, Jackson and St. Clair counties to urge their commissioners to pass this resolution.

ISRA lobbyist Bill Potts outlined the SIGHT program, designed to bring law-abiding firearm owners to in-person meetings with their state representatives and senators.

“Just two or three persons can have a big influence,” Potts said.

I confess that I came away from this meeting feeling guilty of doing too little, but determined to do more. Those who agree may contact the ISRA at www.isra.org or (815) 635-3198.

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