Eli Slaminko. GSL/TTAG Photo by John Boch.
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On Wednesday evening, Guns Save Life, the Illinois grassroots gun rights group, launched its seventh monthly meeting location in Decatur, IL. Nearly 150 people turned out to experience first-person gun rights activism. And GSL didn’t disappoint.

Even before the meeting started, attendees enjoyed hearing from a Guns Save Life member Senator Chapin Rose. He now serves as the Senate Assistant Republican Leader in the General Assembly.

Senator Chapin Rose, right. GSL/TTAG Photo by John Boch.

Long ago, when he worked as a prosecutor in Champaign County, he learned first-hand how Illinois gun laws keep good people disarmed when they need a gun. One day, while working in the yard, a man approached Chapin and asked if he lived there. Chapin, looking closer, realized he had put this guy in prison sometime earlier. “No, I don’t. And I don’t live here either,” he says he told the guy.

Two weeks later, someone tried to break into their home when his wife was home by herself. And then he had to wait weeks, like everyone else, for the State of Illinois to process his Firearms Owners ID card application. “And I really wanted to get a gun the next day!” he told us.

GSL/TTAG Photo by John Boch.

Also before the meeting, a whole lot of people young and old sought a chance to have their picture taken with a Browning M1919 .30-06.  Yes, a genuine piece of history.

Dave Randolph. GSL/TTAG Photo by John Boch.

GSL’s Decatur Regional Director Dave Randolph opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. Following the Pledge, we took a moment of silence for the two Illinois State Troopers who died in the line of duty in recent days.  Then we recognized our veterans present.

Guns Save Life’s Executive Director John Boch gave his update.  We talked about Guns Save Life’s successful lawsuit blocking enforcement of the Village of Deerfield, IL’s gun and magazine ban.  Boch also covered other court cases, including the invalidation of Illinois law against carrying stun guns and that decisions implications for possible future gun bans.

Guns Save Life’s motto is “We defend your right to defend yourself” and the group did just that in providing not one, but two expert witnesses for a recent trial in Champaign, IL.  A man who served his nation for 16 years in the Marine Corps faced charges for shooting a woman who threatened to kill him.  Originally, he asked some people out front of his place to hold the noise down and things devolved.  One woman said she was going to get her gun out of the car and settle it right then and there.

The defendant, unable to return quickly to the house as he walks with a cane, accessed his firearm.  The woman rooted around inside her car, then came out with her hand behind her back.  Following a warning shot, she kept coming while making threats.  So he shot her to stop her advance.

Guns Save Life looked at his recounting of the events along with physical evidence and believed it a righteous shoot.  So we offered two GSL Defense Training team instructors as expert witnesses.  Both testified and after a few hours’ deliberation, the jury came back with not guilty verdicts.

Steve Davis. GSL/TTAG Photo by John Boch.

Main Speaker Steve Davis, a just-retired attorney and firearms instructor, educated attendees on ten mistakes gun owners make that can land them in jail.  Among those:  firing warning shots, altering evidence, failing to retreat where possible and not calling the authorities after an encounter (even if shots aren’t fired).

Davis also cautioned against not participating in evidence collection (by saying, “I want to talk to my attorney” and nothing else to responding and investigating officers), failure to have non-lethal alternatives and not knowing the law.  Any of these can lead to difficulties with prosecutors – and potentially jurors in the aftermath of a defensive gun use.

While few defensive gun uses stand out as “perfect,” eliminating common mistakes will help ensure that good guys don’t face trial.  And if prosecutors demand a trial, making as few mistakes as possible will help secure an acquittal from a judge or jury.

GSL/TTAG Photo by John Boch.

Our Tech Time speaker Eli Slaminko shared his story of how he found and restored an old Browning machine gun – in semi-auto, much to the delight of the audience.  He says he also rehabbed what he believes is a historically correct tripod for it as well.


GSL/TTAG Photo by John Boch.

Originally manufactured in early World War II, the business end says to bad guys “Get off my lawn!” in a universally-understood language.

GSL/TTAG Photo by John Boch.

Marisa Mueller from the US Concealed Carry Association talked up the USCCA’s Self-Defense Shield, part of their comprehensive coverage plan for members.

Marissa Mueller from USCCA.  GSL/TTAG Photo by John Boch.

Clearly, as GSL members have seen in recent cases in Central Illinois, even when good guys try do do everything right in self-defense, they can still face charges – and even trials. And those cost big bucks.

USCCA, Mueller says, offers criminal and civil legal representation, civil damages coverage, bail money, wage protections as well as coverage for firearm theft-related liability issues. They have a bunch of other benefits including discounts with partner companies, educational materials and training, and much more. In event of a deadly force incident, their Self-Defense Shield puts an attorney by your side within 24 hours of your call – or a call on your behalf.

Family members using deadly force in self-defense at home are also covered by USCCA plans as well, so if a member’s 14-year-old daughter blows a canoe in some drug-addled, knife-wielding intruder’s head, USCCA will bring their full resources to bear on her behalf as well.

You can use your own attorney, or the USCCA has a network of lawyers across America. And if they can’t reach your preferred attorney, they will send one of their network people to start your defense.

Additionally, their coverage is on a “per incident” basis, not annual or lifetime benefits. Volunteering as part of your church’s “safety team”? USCCA covers any defensive gun uses there as well.

Check out their website, USConcealedCarry.com for more information. Contact their group sales people to sign up and save 15% as a Guns Save Life member. Not a GSL member? Sign up then call them, or mention us as a non-member and we’ll get a kickback (but you’ll have to pay full fare).

At the end of the night, we drew for the 50/50 drawing and one lucky gent took home about $200.

Bob Taft with his new rifle. GSL/TTAG Photo by John Boch.

Guns Save Life always has a gun drawing at our monthly meetings.  On this night, Decatur resident Bob Taft won one of America’s favorite rifles.

In the end, we had a great night and brought a whole grassroots gun rights activism to another region of Illinois.

Does your state have similar grassroots gun rights meetings like these?  If not, why not?

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  1. A southern Illinois prosecutor says he’s changing political parties for the 2020 election.
    Another piece of good news for Illinois firearms owners.
    Jefferson County State’s Attorney Sean Featherstun says he’ll run as a Republican next year. He tells WSIL he’s grown apart from the Democratic Party, especially on issues such as gun control.

    Featherstun is a Mount Vernon native who was the Jefferson County chief public defender before winning election as state’s attorney in 2016.

  2. I’d love to have a 1919. I’ve tossed around the idea of buying one of the semi auto ones but, eh, I don’t know.

  3. I was there. It was a madhouse! A lot of good people. Davis was great on legal. Boch was on fire. The 1919 was awesome! First time I have seen one up close.

  4. If you live in the State of Illinois become a member of the Illinois State Rifle Association. The President, Richard Pearson, is a lawyer and contributed to the legal team in the McDonald (Chicago) case. Democrats used to say the ISRA was the most powerful lobby in the State.

    • Pearson is not a lawyer. His background is insurance.

      Democrats have NEVER said the ISRA is the most powerful lobby in the state. Not even in the top 100.

      ISRA does some things well. They have a nice range, Pearson’s Thursday updates are nice and they have email alerts.

        • Isra can kiss my ammo. Small local gun shops are closing with more to follow soon thanks to this gun dealer licensing scheme. Isra is in bed with both of the traitor companies that we can thank for this legislation. Meanwhile I’ll proudly pay dues to any group that fights FOR gun owners ie: GSL,NRA, GOA, and SAF.

    • Shotgun blast + brain housing group = canoe.

      Credit to Thunder Ranch’s Clint Smith. I’ll change that for written publication in GunNews.

    • when one makes a traditional canoe, the innards of a solid log or tree trunk is hollowed out. I think you got it from here.

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