have a secret to share with you.
Have you heard of IGOLD? Well, itís quite likely that
if youíre reading this on the ISRA website or in an
ISRA email that you already know of IGOLD. But thatís
not the secret.
IGOLD is Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day, and itís been
around for a few years now, having grown out of a
smaller event that was called ISRA Lobby Day. Why the
new name? The ISRA has been partnering with other
organizations in Illinois to make this a bigger,
better event, and it has been a success, and grows
every year. Sure, Iíd like for everyone who attends to
be an ISRA member, but itís more important for all
Illinois gun owners to be there, regardless of what
organization they belong to. Someone recently departed
from us, Gene Martin from Guns Save Life, came up with
the name IGOLD, and that has help the event be more
inclusive and have a larger outreach. But thatís not
the secret, either.
I bought my first firearm in my 30ís during the
Clinton Administration. One of my friends took me
shooting a couple of times & he planted the thought
that if I didnít soon exercise my right to keep and
bears arms, perhaps someday there would be no
opportunity. I became an NRA member too, right away
after becoming a gun owner. I joined the ISRA a couple
of months after that, I met the recruiter at the ISRA
table in the local gunshow. The next spring I found
out about Lobby Day for the first time.
My shooting buddy and I carpooled to Springfield for
Lobby Day. We got there early and found some on-street
metered parking. We went to the legislative briefing,
and there I saw faces for the first time that I would
come to know later as my mentors, folks like Richard
Pearson and Jim Vinopal. I saw NRA lobbyist Todd
Vandermyde there, too. Heís another great influence.
Well equipped from the briefing, armed with a few
pieces of paper, my friend and I made our way to meet
our legislators, along with all the other ďlobbyists
for a dayĒ. I got to meet my senator, but not my
representative. We walked the capitol building, which
is very ornate and grandiose, plus the office
buildings, which are more modern.
But what really left an impression on me was not the
surroundings, but the legislative process itself, and
my role in it. Because that day I was there, I was
part of the process. That day, the legislators were
not just approached by the full time lobbyists, but by
the individual gun owners and voters who took the time
to get to Springfield and meet them face to face. Do
you remember those ads the NRA ran with famous people
saying ďIím the NRAĒ? From that day forward, I can say
ďIím the gun lobbyĒ, because I was there. And I
continue to go back.
Since forming IGOLD, weíve multiplied the effect of
the individual lobbying, because we now form a wall of
citizens as we march to the capitol. We have expanded
the number of people that receive the message, the
call to go to Springfield, but it only means something
if you are the one who goes there. But perhaps just
casting a bigger net is not enough, thatís the reason
Iím sharing my own IGOLD experience with you. And who
knows, maybe once again the event will inspire someone
that becomes part of the next generation of ISRA
So whatís the secret? Thatís easy now: The secret of
IGOLD is being there.
The world is run by the people that show up. Take a
vacation day, youíve earned it. Spend it in
Springfield, you and your fellow gun owners need it.
For one day that lasts forever, be the gun lobby. Be
1st Vice President
Illinois State Rifle Association
Plan to be in Springfield on Thursday,
The event begins at the Prairie Capital Convention
Center at 8th St and Adams, the doors open at 10:30
am, and the event starts at 11:45 AM. From there
we march to the State Capitol (with transportation for
those who can't walk that far, a little less than a
mile) and rally on the Capitol Steps.
Ride easy! If
you don't want to drive, a fleet of charter buses will be arriving in
Springfield from all
corners of the state.
reservations are available! New for
2011: Buses from Lombard and Woodstock!
Show your support! New
2011 IGOLD Hats, T-shirts and Hoodies are available at
IGOLD.isra.org! Check out the special
IGOLD raffle for the
Loaded Black Stainless 1911 from Springfield Armory!
Volunteers needed: With a rally this
large, IGOLD volunteers are essential to the success
of the event. Have you been to IGOLD before? Be
a guide for those who are attending for the first
time. If you have been a volunteer before, please
Find out more here.
IGOLD is sponsored by the Illinois State Rifle
Association, dedicated to education, safety training
and support of Illinois firearm owners. The ISRA is
also partnering with IllinoisCarry.com, Guns Save Life
and Sangamon County Rifle Association and other
pro-Second Amendment organizations in Illinois to make
our voices heard in Springfield.
ISRA needs your continued support. McDonald v
Chicago was not the end of the fight but the beginning.
The ISRA is the front line in the battles for your
firearm rights here in Illinois, such as securing your
Right To Carry.