The National Rifle Association Annual Meeting was amazing as always. It was great to see old friends again, put faces to those known online, and meet entirely new folks for the first time. Quick run-down in the next day or two, when work slows down again.
It’s that time of year again. After finally having our right to carry recognized, Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day is matching again. This years focus is on cutting down on the number of disarmed victim zones required by law with a special emphasis on public transportation – a place where carry is especially needed.
I tried to live blog this, but the cell towers were jammed from having too many people in too small an area. I had five bars of 4G signal and nothing was getting through. Here’s the running log I tried to keep until my battery died. My phone usually lasts a day and a half – it was sucked dry in less than 5 hours today. Apologies to anyone whose name I missed or mis-spell, I was typing furiously, but still couldn’t keep up. I’ll attempt to go back through and correct names and insert titles along with other details.
Best guess at attendance was Three to Four Thousand. The common thought is that many people think “we’ve won” and saw no reason to put the effort into attending.
[added comments in brackets]
11:15 – the doors opened at 10:45 and folks are milling about, chatting, and buying shirts and other merchandise.
11:45 – Still waiting to get started. Scheduled time was 11:30. The buses haven’t arrived yet.
11:50 – Speakers starting, no buses yet.
11:52 – Mike Weissman speaking and leading the pledge of allegiance.
11:57 – Richard Pearson, Executive Director ISRA. “‘Those people got concealed carry. Maybe now they’ll just go away.’ Guess what? We’re not going away!”
“They want to make Illinois into another Connecticut and we’re not going to let that happen.”
“We used to just do things on the legislative side. We looked into entering the court system, but were told, ‘Don’t do that. Don’t do that. It’ll be expensive.’ Well we did it. It was expensive.”
12:03 – State Senator Dale Rider
“I have a 100% voting record with the NRA and ISRA. No applause. Don’t applaud me. I get paid to do that. I get paid to uphold your constitutional rights.”
[Now the candidates for the GOP Gubernatorial Primary speak. Bruce Rouner was scheduled (I think. I saw him on a speaking list, crossed out), but cancelled.]
12:09 – State Treasurer Dan Rutherford
“‘Will you carry?’ You bet I will.”
“Senator Dillard and Senator Brady are up here and I think either on of them would make a wonderful governor. I just think I’d make a better one.”
12:12 – Bill Brady
We can’t trust those rights to Rahm Emmanuel, Pat Quinn, or Barack Obama.
Only candidate with 100% NRA voting record.
Attacked Kirk Dillard several times – claims Dillard answered a poll in favor of gun control, and that Dillard thinks the Fed Gov should be able to determine what an assault weapon is.
[Overall, I felt he stumped for himself too much and attacked Kirk Dillard too much. This wasn't the right forum for election attack speeches]
12:16 – Senator Kirk Dillard (with running mate Jill Tracy)
Shout outs to Todd Vandermyde Jim Venople and Brandon Phelps.
“You gatta be vigilant can’t go back to sleep
Counters Brady’s claim “As repub spokesman of seen Jud committee, I’ve been fighting an assault weapon ban and scars
Attacks Brady, says he was against carry. [Possibly the Chicago exempt carry bill the NRA actually lobbied against several years back? That one had a LOT of people upset with the NRA]
[Like Brady, lots of attacks in the wrong forum. Some responses to what Brady said. Tracy didn't say a word, just stood by Dillard's side. ]
12:22 – Rep Brandon Phelps – chief sponsor of the CCW bill, a southern IL democrat
“When I say the fight’s not over, I mean that”
Fee used to be $1000 for 1 year
Training used to be 40 hours no credit for past training
We’re fighting for lower restrictions, reciprocity
12:24 – Valinda Rowe
Trading in her Tactical rat tail comb and tactical tongue depressor for her CCL and a 9mm.
[A reference to an old Illinois State Police webpage suggesting women use a comb as a weapon or gag themselves to the point of vomiting to make rape less appealing]
We need to fight to repeal the 23 restricted places. City Parks, public transit, and prevent banning concealed carry in churches.
To Senator Dan Katowski:
“Your churches already have the right to ban carry if they want to. Stay out of our district.”
Gun free zones are killing zones. The sooner we can get that message to Cullerton and [politicians], the sooner we can have the right definition of “shall not be infringed.”
12:31 – Senator Dale Syverson
Our job would be a lot easier with a pro 2A governor
12:33 – Todd Vandermyde [Our esteemed and celebrated NRA lobbyist for Illinois]
“I got to eat in little restaurant around the corner call Saputo’s, what must have been the safest restaurant in the state. Fifteen private citizens with guns strapped on their hips.”
The superintendent’s having a hissy fit on regular business.
“It dawned on me why they are so bothered by them. [The gun free zone sign] It’s a reminder whenever they go by one of these places, every day it’s a reminder that they lost.”
While they thought it was cute or let’s run a Chicago style bill, our brethren in CT are having to register their rifles.
[Speaking about a recent IL bill to register all firearms]
“It’s only about registration…until it’s about confiscation”
“Funny thing. It’s never about gun control and confiscation until it’s about gun control and confiscation.”
What drives them all nuts. They keep saying we’re a declining breed, but the number of FOID cards since Barack Obama was elected has jumped from 1.2 million to 1.67 million
City of Chicago has paid our attorneys over two million dollars so far.
“You’re going to be sending our lawyers grandchildren to Harvard to come back and fight you again.”
12:44 – John Bosch Guns Save Life
Instructions for when visiting the capitol. Kill them with kindness. Be courteous.
Don’t be lured into losing composure with someone looking for a YouTube moment.
Don’t just give them an olive branch, give them a wreath. Even with someone I’m sure has a sheep or two in their ancestral tree.
The only thing that stops bad people with evil in their hearts is a good guy with a gun.
12:50 – Tom Schaeffer
“Thirty years ago I had a dream that I opened my mailbox and received my concealed carry permit. Last Saturday it came true.”
3 entrances at the capitol, 2 at the Stratton building, 2 at the Howlett building. “Only one of them is the $600,000 bronze doors. It’s not required that you kiss them as you go in, but you can if you want to.”
12:56 – Lining up to leave.
1:34 – Arrived at the Capitol for speeches at Lincoln’s statue.
Senator Sam McCann spoke briefly.
1:37 – It’s cold. Stood in line for security.
1:47 – Handing out lobby cards. [We were given small cards to fill out and hand in to the offices of our state senator, state representative, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House]
3:00 – Rally at the rotunda
[Sadly this is where I ran out of battery power. I really wish I had video taken of the chant we did at the end of the rally. The acoustics of the rotunda were amazing. Several thousand voices shouted out "Gun Free Zones Are Killing Zones!" 10 times. The you could hear it throughout the Capitol.]
Dale Righter spoke briefly – “Isn’t it ironic that the biggest city in the state that has a history of trampling on our second amendment rights that is the area where guns are needed the most.”