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The 2018 Gun Rights Policy Conference is being held at the Chicago O’Hare airport Hyatt Regency this year. I arrived after driving up from Dallas. The hotel had something new this year. A small “no guns” sign in red on the entrance doors. We were told the hotel coffee for the conference costs the Second Amendment Foundation $145 per gallon so we’re drinking as much as we can.

The conference features dozens of speakers on politics, policy, culture, and trends in pro-Second Amendment advocacy.

One speaker mentioned that he had interacted with an attendee of a doctor’s conference that’s also being held here at the same hotel. The conference organizers had warned the doctors that the GRPC conference would also be here and apologized for putting them, unknowingly, in such close proximity to “gun people.”

Chicago Guns Matter has a table set up outside the conference room, along with several others, including Knife Rights, The Illinois State Rifle Association among many more.

There are several hundred attendees at this year’s GRPC. Attendance seems a little down from the last time we were in Chicago. There’s been some buzz about the Cody Wilson situation and surprise that the U.S. government had been able to have him arrested in Taiwan, so quickly. Wilson made many powerful enemies with his support for the right to be armed, Defense Distributed, and the 3D printing of guns and gun parts.

Matthew Goldstein gave an informative presentation on the state of ITAR regulations and the settlement in the Defense Distributed case.

If you have time, I highly recommend attending a GRPC. The Second Amendment Foundation does an excellent job putting on the annual event. They are informative, the speakers are informative and approachable, and you will be able to rub elbows with many well-known names in the gun culture.

One speaker from Detroit, Marcus Allen Weldon, the author of The Santa Shooter: Guilty Until Proven Innocent, suggested the GRPC be held in Detroit one year. I thought it a fair request as the Motor City is a far more gun friendly venue than Chicago.

Next year the GRPC will be in Phoenix.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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    • Hear, hear. Any organization that expects me to lay out my own money for travel, food, and accommodations (and municipal taxes on ALL OF IT) to come to their show better believe I’m taking into account how the destination and venue views my rights.

      I get that they’re probably trying to generate a positive influence in an “anti” locale, but places like that are corrupt beyond hope, and absolutely undeserving of the collateral “support” of our currency.

      • I’m right there with you, I WILL not spend my money in those non-American parts of the country. I won’t even buy accessories or anything firearm related from companys based in the unfriendly states.

    • Alan has it in these places because it brings uneducated people to the event to become informed.

      Also, people who work at these hotels and area tell us they have a handgun and a carry license but would like to learn more.

      Attendance from the local area is better when it’s in a hostile state.

      The attendance this year was much higher than it was in Dallas last year. Too many people in TX, FL, etc. don’t bother because “everything’s fine.”

  1. Why would it be in such a gun unfriendly city? Makes zero sense. How much you wanna bet the staff of the hotel was doing bad things to the food and beverages.

  2. O’hare isn’t in Chicago, and isn’t in Cook county, it is in DuPage which historically has been “Okay” with gun rights. it is just more convenient to call it Chicago so people know where you are at since nobody will want to go to a conference if it is advertised as being in DesPlanes. Chicago is still a great City with bad politics and a serious crime problem in some areas. Were not California yet, don’t abandon us yet.

    • When it comes to places like California and Illinois, it is time to fall back and regroup. Your state has abandoned you, not the rest of us. I left California and WA state because they are both losing battles due to a host of overwhelming factors.
      Come join us in Idaho!

        • I’m in Coeur D’Alene. A good place to be for fellow conservatives and gun rights advocates. I’m 6 minutes from downtown with a shooting range in my backyard. There are numerous public ranges here too.

    • ord int’l airport proper is annexed and owned by the city of chicago, and all of rosemont and des plaines lie within cook county.
      du page is quite a bit further west. just ask the hoffman estates cabela’s how much ammo tax is…

    • O’Hare is in Chicago and Cook county. They annexed it years ago. I’m in Cook county, too. Having the event here gives us hope. They didn’t ban the event. I didn’t see any protesters. When I asked for directions to the room the attendant said “What does SAF mean?” I told him and also, that we kinda don’t want to advertise the name, for fear of protesters, etc. He smiled, nodded his head and said he understood.

    • O’Hare and Midway are both in Chicago. The airport property and subway lines to the airports are physically part of Chicago.

      I learned that the hard way when Chicago was allowed to ban smoking but Illinois didn’t get around to it as of yet. I could no longer find the smoking rooms and I was informed Chicago banned them. To my dismay, I was educated on the railway and airport being part of Chicago.

      Either side of the blue line is not Chicago. But the tracks and airport are.

      Also, Rosemont, where this years even took place is in Cook County.

  3. SAF is paying $145 per gallon of coffee? You are drinking as much as you can? Thanks for wasting money that could be used for advancing the cause.

  4. WTF…supporting an anti 2A city with a pro-firearm conference…about as stupid as shooting yourself in the foot.

    Doctor’s Conference…hoo wee, conservative estimate is that there are over 250,000 deaths in the USA every year due to “medical errors”….far, far more than ALL firearm related deaths + vehicle deaths…Physician Heal Thyself before your barge into my backyard.

  5. I thought it a fair request as the Motor City is a far more gun friendly venue than Chicago.

    And it has now been held in Chitcago 3 times since 2010.

    Yes, O’Hare is the biggest airport in the interior of the country, but why patronize Rahmville, again and again?

    • I live in Cook county, but rarely go to Chicago…once a year. You can carry there, but don’t. Not worth the grief if you have to use it. Of course, if you’re a gang member, you get a slap on the wrist. I could tell you stories……………

  6. I can understand why the NRA sometimes has to hold its annual meeting in a facility that bans firearms. There aren’t many with the capacity for such a big event. I doubt the Gun Rights Policy Conference is that big. The organizers should be able to find a facility that doesn’t disrespect the attendees.

  7. Chicago is an incredibly expensive place to hold a gathering. Every thing there is obscenely priced and excessively taxed. I’m a member of a statewide association that moved its annual conference to another city to avoid going broke.

    SAF would do well to shop around a bit.

  8. They move the GPRC around a bit – next year it is in Phoenix, Az
    This is the 33rd year.
    The first one in Chicago, in 2011 was an “In Your FACE” type thing as we were fighting fiercely, then 2014 was celebrating Illinois’s carry victory.

    2017: Dallas, Texas
    2016: Tampa, Florida
    2015: Phoenix, Arizona
    2014: Chicago, Illinois (Audio for the entire conference is here.)
    2013: Houston, Texas (Audio for the entire conference is here.)
    2012: Orlando, Florida (Audio for the entire conference is here.)
    2011: Chicago, Illinois
    2010: San Francisco, California
    2009: St. Louis, Missouri
    2008: Phoenix, Arizona
    2007: Cincinnati, Ohio
    2006: Charlotte, North Carolina
    2005: Los Angeles, California
    2004: Washington, D.C.
    2003: Houston, Texas
    2002: Phoenix, Arizona
    2001: Cincinnati, Ohio
    2000: Washington, D.C.
    1999: St. Louis, Missouri
    1998: Seattle, Washington
    1997: Denver, Colorado
    1996: Washington, D.C.
    1995: Dallas, Texas
    1994: San Francisco, California
    1993: Washington, D.C.
    1992: Los Angeles, California
    1991: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1990: Phoenix, Arizona
    1989: Atlanta, Georgia
    1988: Dallas, Texas
    1987: Buffalo, New York
    1986: Seattle, Washington

  9. Unbelievable. What idiot decided that Chicago should be the place to host this conference? There are a great many cities that would have the resources to hold this conference, Indianapolis for example, and going to anti-gun Chicago should have been at the bottom, or at least near the bottom, of the list!

  10. Definitely attend GRPC, Alan Gottlieb always runs a great show. Alan and SAF do great work, they actually win, not capitulate to police unions. Then NRA and their affiliated racist hick contingents swoop in to finish the job. See the cast of characters in person:

    Richard Pearson came in from Illinois State Rifle Association World Headquarters in Chatsworth. After doing nothing to advance concealed carry for twenty years, Pearson helped con Otis McDonald to sign on to the lawsuit against the city of Chicago handgun ban, then sold out Otis and every other black person in the state with Duty to Inform in state Rep. Brandon Phelps’ 2013 concealed carry bill. Pearson can usually be found close to the bar with a highball in his hand, pondering how he can lose yet again for “law abiding (white small town) gun owners.”

    Valinda Rowe from Illinois Carry was there with her charming husband Mike. Rowe also helped recruit Otis McDonald for the Supreme Court case with attorney Alan Gura, then stood back and let NRA contract lobbyist for Illinois Todd Vandermyde place Duty to Inform in Brandon Phelps’ “NRA backed” carry bill, because the police are your friends, (if you are white and live in a small town) according to Valinda.
    “Illinois Carry” is a not-for-profit corporation, but there is no information anywhere as to who is on their board. That’s because “Illinois Carry” is Valinda sitting in her living room with her fuzzy slippers. No “transparency” in southern Illinois. Good old boy Brandon Phelps was her state Rep. Where else can you see these sellouts in person?

    The only bright spot was that former NRA lobbyist Donald Todd Vandermyde was not there to smell up the room, rumor has it he’s working as a night clerk at Motel 6, now that he got fired by Chris Cox at NRA-ILA.
    NRA, Inc. finally did a background check on Vandermyde and found his associations with president William Dugan of the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers local 150 in Countryside. Dugan was convicted by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in 2010. Great resume for the rat that backstabbed Otis McDonald and every gun owner in the state. Thanks Todd! (for disappearing, that is.)

  11. I wouldn’t attend this event on a bet. I’d be willing to bet everyone who did attend was under surveillance the entire time they were there and probably searched if the tried to leave the hotel.


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