Promoting freedom is a uniquely American quality. Millions of Americans promote freedom everyday. They do this through participation at some level in grassroots activism to protect and defend our Second Amendment rights. While Michael Bloomberg and his fellow anti-gun billionaire buddies have big bucks, we have plenty of people on the ground working on the just and noble cause of defending our gun rights.
Every state has its own unique ground game. Thankfully good guys run the show in most states. But even the most gun rights-freindly have those who don’t like guns. The good guys keep them on defense, promoting RKBA advancements like constitutional carry or campus carry. Meanwhile, gun-hating radicals have completely taken over states like Massachusetts and California. But progress is possible, even in deep blue states dominated by politicians who are hostile to Second Amendment rights.
Until the November election, Democrats have had super-majorities in the House and Senate here in my home state for as long as I can remember. Until the previous election we had a gun-hating governor too. What’s more, we earned the dubious distinction as being the last state in union to get right-to-carry.
We fight hard though, and we do it well considering the well-entrenched opposition. Each year we face a constant battle in a deep blue state to fend off the latest gun control schemes. Simultaneously, we fight publicly and work privately to get pro-gun measures passed.
How does that happen?
The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action works as the foremost political muscle in Illinois. Fortunately, they retain a contract lobbyist, Todd Vandermyde, who works in Illinois year-round. Todd and his boss Shannon Alford do magnificent work. Vandermyde’s work and political strategy border on brilliant…and that’s on a bad day.
The NRA commands respect in Illinois, and Todd has become well-liked by many, even respected by most who vote against gun rights. In the end, politicians respect voters.
Illinois has two powerful local gun rights groups working to back up the NRA’s efforts. The Illinois State Rifle Association serves as the NRA’s state affiliate in Illinois. ISRA has political clout here second only to the NRA. They’ve earned honors from both the Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association for excellence.
Guns Save Life, another Illinois-based gun rights group, specializes in grassroots activism and public education. We hold well-attended monthly meetings in six cities across Illinois from Chicagoland down to Charleston. Each month in these cities, we meet and share a good meal, great camaraderie and to keep up to date on gun rights the the grassroots level. We have a lot of fun, too.
Our famous Burma-style highway sign program is read by over a half-million people each day. One of my favorites reads:
AND I’M ON HOLD
SURE WISH I HAD
THAT GUN I SOLD
GunNews gets created and distributed by our member volunteers. Our members put up and maintain the signs. And yes, sign repairs await us now that the crops are out. We also have a lobbyist-in-training in Springfield as well.
People get involved because helping and volunteering with grassroots gun rights groups greatly amplifies their voices. It helps us reach more people to influence and educate them. Ordinarily, most people’s spheres of influence involve only their friends, family and neighbors. But grassroots groups like ours reach hundreds of thousands of people each and every day, friends and foes alike.
We plant brushfires of freedom in the minds of everyday Americans. Our messages bring them around to our way of thinking. Each time we win someone over, Michael Bloomberg loses another voter.
Working through a grassroots gun group allows you to reach exponentially more people. Your work has influence, bringing fence-sitters and undecideds around.
Bloomberg’s money can’t buy the kind of dedication of ISRA or GSL members. I’ve seen Bloomberg’s people on the ground here in Illinois. Take away the paycheck and you take away what little dedication they have. (Secret: many of them actually own guns. How ironic, right?)
If we can fight and hold the line in a deep blue state like Illinois, it can be done in by other like-minded gun owners where you live. It just takes a willingness to get involved and make a difference. If you’d like more information about bringing Guns Save Life’s template to your state, email me at [email protected] As a friend once told me, “Freedom is not a spectator sport.” Don’t just sit on the sidelines! Get involved and get active.