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Some of you have noticed the new guy posting at The Truth About Guns named John Boch. Yep, that’s me. I wanted to take an opportunity to introduce myself to the TTAG family.


My journey into the gun rights world began with Bill Clinton signing gun control into law in 1994, even though at the time I didn’t own any of the guns affected. I joined the NRA.

A year later, I found a group of men and women working to make a difference at the local level and they became my family. That group of people has grown into today’s Guns Save Life, an aggressive grassroots gun rights group with thousands of members spread across 40 states. Today, I’m proud to work as the Executive Director of GSL.

We’re famous to a lot of people for our Burma Shave-style highway sign program, seen by 600,000 people each day on Interstates and highways across Illinois. Like this:

DIALED 9-1-1

The signs plant little brush-fires of freedom in the minds of passersby to subtly help influence their thinking and bring them around to our side. Our monthly journal, GunNews Magazine has a circulation averaging about 20,000 in the past couple of years. And then there are our six successful, upbeat monthly grassroots meetings across Illinois from Charleston to Chicago.

From left, Todd Vandermyde, the NRA-ILA’s contract lobbyist in Illinois, John Boch, Executive Director Guns Save Life and Shannon Alford, the NRA-ILA’s legislative liaison to Illinois. Together, we protect and defend Illinois gun owner rights like no other.

We work closely with the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. We work with the Illinois State Rifle Association to facilitate shared goals. We’re also eager to build bridges with other gun rights groups, and other like-minded organizations like Live Free USA – the nation’s oldest and most respected survival organization.  Ditto for other pro-family and pro-gun groups.

The People of The Gun outside of Illinois may remember us as the group who took a whole bunch of rusted, broken down junk up to Chicago in 2012 and sold them to the do-gooders there for $6240 that we used to help send kids to the nation’s longest-running NRA Youth Shooting Camp. We gained international publicity with that. Oh yeah, we bought some guns with that money that were given away to the kids at camp.

TTAG has certainly been a part of that growth of GSL, detailing some of our successes and helping to fill my quest for the latest news and information from The World of the Gun. And today I’m lucky enough to pay it forward helping to inform and influence others as Robert, Dan, Nick and others have done for me.

Empowering others

In my spare time, I’ve been a firearm trainer with GSL Defense Training, teaching thousands over the past almost twenty years.  While GSL Defense Training isn’t part of Guns Save Life, we bring the same excellence to firearms training that GSL brings to gun rights advocacy.


I’ve studied under a who’s who of nationally-known and respected trainers and regional schools, like most of our other instructors. I hold certifications from three national firearm training organizations not counting Appleseed as I’m only an “instructor in training” with them. I’m also a survival instructor with Live Free USA.

NRA Youth Shooting Camp Guns Save Life GSL Defense Training

GSL has two dozen instructors including everything from high school grads to PhDs on our team. Farmers, teachers, IT nerds, engineers, former FBI, law enforcement, lawyers, a physician, EMTs and a nurse, pilots, and a college professor or two – we all share the love of teaching others skills that may save their lives as they’ve done for others before them.

We teach because there’s nothing more satisfying than former students crediting us and our training for helping them successfully survive a deadly force encounter.  These include a home invasion, hot burglaries, domestic violence incidents, and an attempted armed robbery with a knife to date.

Personal life

Life’s more than about guns, even though I joke I’m married to guns. My lovely wife Wendy works in HR at a major Illinois university. I’ve got a pet ferret named Nipsey – aka Nippers. Wendy tolerates him.  She would probably like him better if he got a job and quit hiding things under the dresser.

My wife and I spend a lot of time helping others as well. One of our pet projects is the HOOAH Deer Hunt For Heroes – a local, 100% volunteer program that helps wounded servicemen heal outside of a hospital.  Some of these guys are dealing with life-changing physical injuries (those IEDs really tear men up) while others are fighting mental battles. HOOAH helps them forget about their problems and at the same time overcome their disabilities and worries for a time during outdoors – at no cost whatsoever to the soldiers.

Governor Rauner with HOOAH soldiers
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner welcomes some wounded warriors to Springfield at last year’s HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes Deer and Pheasant Hunt. The SCHEELS store outfitted the soldiers from head to toe at no charge.

I’ve personally seen guys who were suicidal turn their lives around and thrive. When they credit the support of their new-found HOOAH “family”, it moves you. And that’s where my wife comes in, planning and executing their northern golf outing and fundraising dinner. I help with publicity and promotions. We all have a role as the group has grown, sort of like how GSL has grown.

Four years ago HOOAH took four soldiers. Last year, they helped about 100 at a dozen-plus events. The founders keep saying they’re going to hold the line, but the friendships formed, lives changed for the better and suicides avoided are all reasons they don’t say no when volunteers materialize to make new events come off successfully.

So that’s who I am. I look forward to serving all of you as part of the TTAG staff.

All the best,

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  1. Welcome, and I look forward to more of your posts.

    Is it true .17 HMR is good for ferrets?

    I kid! I kid! Buddy of mine has one, affectionate little buggers…

    (Ferrets, the other white meat… 🙂 )

  2. I am so glad you put the other pictures up. If I went by the first one alone I get a crouching psycho hidden creeper vibe. Kinda of like Mister Rogers but with hatchet behind his back. So, yeah glad to have ya.

  3. Any organization whose response to reports of people in Ferguson tripling their gun purchases is “More, please!” has the right attitude.

    Welcome, John.

  4. I have been to a few of gsl meeting in effingham il. They are some damn good dudes. I can’t wait to read some stuff from someone close to home.?

  5. Welcome aboard, sir. I’ve seen your byline here, there and a few other places before. Mostly Facebook. It sounds like you do quite a bit. I do have a somewhat pedantic question of sorts to ask, though. Why is the group named “Guns Save LIFE” instead of the seemingly more grammatically correct phrase “Guns Save LIVES” instead? Is there a story behind this by any chance?

    Cute ferret, by the way. Friend of mine had one, very entertaining pets.


    • Thanks everyone.

      To Tom’s question about why “Guns Save LIFE” instead of “Guns Save Lives”…

      When we started the sign program, we decided to make the fifth and final sign always be the “tagline” with our website. Our goal was to make that sign convey a message of its own, and ideally two messages. It had to be less than 20 characters, which is effectively the maximum number of characters that will fit on one of our sign panels. was unavailable, and at that time owned by an Ohio grassroots group.

      GunsSaveLIFE was available. We thought about it and the more we pondered it, the more we liked it.

      Life like “pro-life”.
      Life like people saved.
      Life including more than just people, but pets, etc.

      We are now incorporated under that name and continue to grow. In fact, in just this past month, we’ve helped launch a grassroots gun rights group in Fresno, California that has their first meeting tomorrow night. The may not become our first GSL chapter outside Illinois, but we’re still more than happy to give them a recipe for an effective meeting and plans for growth.


  6. Signs on the side of the road are cute. Call me when you want piles of brass and dead democrats, until then it’s conversation.

    • I could use some piles of brass, especially 5.56, .44 mag and .40 s&w. Have no use for democrats. Dead or otherwise.

    • Hey Bud! A true patriot!

      Glad to hear you’re alive and well. Sad that you moved out of IL but knowing where you were at, understand completely.


  7. Don’t let that 12 year old girl from Utah anywhere near that Ferret. She’ll kill it, put her foot on it in a great achievement pose, take a picture and post it on Facebook where everyone is supposed to go ohhhhhh ahhhhhhh!

    • It’s our first lawsuit. I’ve learned these things make the speed of smell seem like an SR-71 on afterburner at altitude.

      We’ve gone back and forth on a number of motions and more motions and counters. Initially they tried to toss the suit because we hadn’t paid the ammo tax yet, but they dragged it out long enough that we submitted proof we had.

      Too smart by half comes to mind.

      The judge wanted – as I understand it – a completely re-written suit and that’s where we are at now. I think this judge knows this is going up on appeal – potentially to the Illinois Supreme Court – and is making sure he does everything as close to perfect as he can.


    • How about an update on the lawsuit that John threatened against Mike and Valinda Rowe of Illinois Carry?

      John’s minions at GSL weren’t able to get their banner in front of the Illinois Carry banner at the IGOLD march at the Illinois state capitol in Springfield this March. Valinda Rowe goes through the rigamarole to get the street march permit for IGOLD, but that doesn’t matter to John. Product placement of the GSL banner is very important to him, it enhances the brand image, which in turn advances his financial position.

      Forget about John’s “let’s all work together in Illinois to advance gun rights” rap. Watch what he does, not what he says. No doubt he has erased all reference to his threats against the Rowe’s from the GSL website. Censorship for purposes of maintaining his control is his first response to everything, not free speech or democracy.

      If John wants to sue Mike and Valinda Rowe, let him use his own money, not money from GSL members. The GSL board has crowned him executive director, he should be able to afford it.

  8. From one flat lander of Lincoln to another……. Welcome. I should learn more about your organization. Sounds like you do some good work. Welcome aboard.

  9. Sorry, you lost me at “pro-family”. That’s a cute name for taking away the rights of others (e.g. gays) who simply want to live their lives without bothering you.

    It’s rather hypocritical to advocate for gun rights on the basis of freedom, but then deny freedom to others, especially when those denied freedoms don’t affect you.

    In any case, welcome to TTAG.

    • So you didn’t actually bother to research their position, just made a half assed assumption based on a term used. Nice work. And newsflash, others are allowed to have their own opinions on gays, abortion, etc. Diversity and all, right?

    • @Alan……There are a bunch of photographers, bakers, and florists that would like to question you about “not being bothered”. After that there are millions of parents who would like to be “not bothered” with trannys in their daughters grade school locker rooms.

      The gay mafia agenda over the past few years is a direct result of gay marriage aftermath. It was all predicted by a few folks and then scoffed at by the elitists and media. A perfect example of mass “first stage thinking”.

    • Alan:

      By pro-family, I mean the older, more conventional definition, not the modern twist given to it by leftists trying to change the meaning of our language.

      I’m sorry you’ve been conditioned to see “pro-family” as “anti-gay”. We as GSL (and me personally) welcome all people who share a belief in self-defense and gun rights into our family.


  10. Is Guns Save Life an Illinois not for profit corporation?
    When did Guns Save Life create the position of “executive director” and when were you installed in this position?
    Are you paid by Guns Save Life in your position as “executive director?”

    • Use your real name and email and I’ll be happy to answer away. Your earlier drive-by attack calling GSL members “Rubes” and “illiterate” good old boys, and attacking me personally has you with one foot in the blacklist grave and the other on a banana peel.


      • He’s a troll John Boch- AKA DemoMan. He hates IL rifle assoc. and Todd Vandamyde,central IL and white folks. And Chatsworth. And I guess he hates you too. You have to do a helluva’ lot more than that to be “blacklisted” on TTAG. I guarantee you’ll never get a real name…

      • So Guns Save Life members pay dues, the GSL board appoints John “executive director” but he won’t answer any questions about how he spends membership money because someone dared to question him? First the ad hominem attack, then the snitching. Still stuck in debate team mode from your days at University of Illinois?

        Don’t toss out words like “grave” and don’t make threats. You never took the oath, you wouldn’t have lasted three days in basic training, and you never wore the uniform. Police Explorers with Lt. Joe Gliniewicz in Fox Lake doesn’t count.

    • You know, demo man, you’re the only one making these negative comments about John and Todd. No one else says these things.

      So, do you get paid by mda or kapo bloomberg directly?

  11. JBOCH! Glad to see you come to the dark side!
    I’ve followed your work on GSL intently, and I’ve always appreciated your thorough investigation.

    You do what journalists used to do.

  12. So he’s from the same group “survival” group that peddles this fear mongering nonsense?:

    “The eventual result of these combined and multiplying manmade and natural disasters MUST BE A GENERAL WORLD COLLAPSE some time in the next twenty to one-hundred-years.” (emphasis added)

    Those dudes have some amazing predicting powers that no one else has apparently and a very dismal view of the ability of human beings to better our situation.

  13. I’ve enjoyed your contributions so far, welcome aboard! You’re doing important work and I commend you for that.

    Suggestion: Just because you work in the political/training side doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to hear your firearm reviews as well. Letting us know about your favorite weapons would help us get to know you better too!

    • Otis my man, are you a wingnut conspiracy theorist living in his mom’s basement, or is all that tinfoil on your head to keep your hair dry?

      • Actually John is a Freemason, which is relevant to the way he runs Guns Save Life. Pay your dues, shut up, don’t ask questions regarding my new from scratch position of executive director, etc., ad nauseum. He has a master plan for gun rights in Illinois, but you little people can’t be let in on it right now. Trust John Boch and only John Boch, and thou shalt have no false gods before thee!

        In the central Illinois small town corn belt where John hails from, a majority of cops, lawyers and judges are Freemasons. It’s a remnant of the good old boys who used to run America, for our own good of course. Richard Pearson of IL State Rifle Association is a Freemason also. He and Boch have more than the self-anointed title of executive director and a Masonic ring in common. They both have failed to do a thing to improve Illinois’ terrible concealed carry bill even one little bit.

        • I am? LOL.

          I have considered joining the Freemasons, but am not a member. I’ve considered joining because the Freemasons I know are good people.

          You know, OMG, if you devoted your energy at the other side instead of at pro-gun folks, you might actually be an asset.


  14. Welcome, sir!

    I’ve got a busted air rifle I hope to “turn in” for ammo money and a donation to a gun rights group.

  15. I had a range buddy who had a ferret and a cat. The cat thought he was a ferret, and the ferret acted like a cat.
    His wife also wore the pants in their relationship, while he was the stay-at-home partner. She regularly told him what guns he should buy…. which is why he bought a 9mm Korth semiauto, despite being more interested in collecting handmade boots & hats. That house was an excercise in opposite day, every day.


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