Very important live discussion on this!!!
Everyone should be aware of what is happening. ICarry members and ordinary gun owners have been threatened and intimidated by the Illinois State Rifle Association and IllinoisCarry.com because of what they want to wear to "pro-gun" events. There is a large number of gun owners, you may be one of them, who believe we've talked long enough, and it's time to do SOMETHING to show our resolve and solidarity. We're talking about expressing, symbolically, our right to bear arms and how we have been disarmed and rendered defenseless by bad and unconstitutional public policies.
Illinois gun owners have shown increasing interest in wearing fanny packs or empty holsters as a sign that they've been disarmed. Fannypacks represent "container carry" in Illinois. Illinois law allows and even instructs FOID card holders to carry firearms unloaded and enclosed in a case. For some reason, the ISRA and IllinoisCarry.com do not want this fact publicized!!! We are not sure what they're afraid of.
The ICarry.org board of directors - made up of myself, Shaun Kranish from Rockford, IL, Joe Franzese from Hainesville, IL and Christopher Morley, formerly of Chicago, IL (now living in Wisconsin) have concluded that the issue of freedom of expression at public events where all gun owners should be welcome must be resolved now.
Repeated attempts to quell our message - that we always have and will support law-abiding gun owners who conduct themselves responsibly in exercising their rights. We support the full exercise of rights under the law. In Wisconsin this is "open carry" and in Illinois this is "container carry." Changes will not happen until gun owners can exercise their rights without fear or intimidation by government. All gun rights groups should be supportive of lawful behavior.
Our mission statement and beliefs - publicly posted after being adopted by the ICarry.org board - say it all. We always have and will support the exercise of rights even if no one else does. We're proud to say that up in Wisconsin there ARE groups who support it. Wisconsin Carry, Inc for example. We just finished attending an open carry event with them, and all groups are welcome, all people are welcome, and no one is discouraged from exercising their rights. Everyone is welcome, and everyone is free to behave responsibly. No one is told how to dress, what to wear. Up there they carry loaded pistols in holsters in public!!!
ICarry.org is launching a new initiative - encouraging firearms owners to express their beliefs with fannypacks, pouches, other containers, and/or empty holsters. As our mission page states, we TRUST gun owners to be responsible. We are not hesitant for one minute to encourage gun owners to do this, because we know there won't be any problems.
We are very sorry that Illinois Carry can't be like Wisconsin Carry. We are sorry that the Illinois State Rifle Association doesn't trust you. We are very disappointed and enraged that these organizations have the nerve to tell gun owners how to dress and even threaten to turn them away from public events because they want to express themselves. ICarry will continue to seek a diplomatic resolution to this problem. The only resolution we see is the willingness of these two groups to respect gun owners, trust them, and never again show such insecurity, fear, and obsession with control as to tell gun owners what to wear and exclude groups based on the exercise of their rights.
ICarry.org will continue to find ways to INVOLVE gun owners, represent their interests, survey and listen to their needs, and be their voice even if no one else will.
Below is the message from the Illinois State Rifle Association and IllinoisCarry.
Contrary to an individual calling for empty holsters and fanny packs to be worn to the NEIU town hall meeting, scheduled for Mar. 3 at the Carruthers Institute for Inner City Studies in Chicago, the event is an educational/informational meeting and not a demonstration or protest.
The individual calling for the demonstration is not affiliated with the sponsoring groups in any way and did so without notice to, or consent or approval from the organizers of the event. Any continued call for such conduct is in direct opposition to the organizers.
Gerald Vernon, of the UTATU Collective advisor and key organizer, wishes to emphasize the purpose of this event is to begin an open dialogue within Chicago about the Right to Carry and as such is an invitation for attendees to bring their questions and concerns about the issue - and not to raise concerns among those from the inner city about what may or may not be in holsters or packs.
Attendees are asked not to bring holsters and fanny packs. Anyone doing so will risk being turned away at the door.
Gerald Vernon, UTATU Collective
Valinda Rowe, IllinoisCarry spokesperson
Mike Weisman, 1st Vice President, Illinois State Rifle Association
I may be the loudest voice because I do most of the administration of this website, but this will NOT be made to look like it is an individual. Read the live and active forum discussion for an example. Make your voice heard there as well!! http://www.icarry.org/ftopict-2460.html
I don't believe gun owners, no matter what group they may be a part of, need to ask for permission to attend an event. No one has advocated a "demonstration" or "protest." ICarry and its members have advocated expressing themselves as they wish.
If a true dialogue with the public is what is wanted, then gun owners should be able to express themselves as they wish. We will do this not by disrupting events or interfering with their schedules or plans, but by attending the events and showing our solidarity with all gun owners!!!
Personal attacks will not hide the truth: organizations in Illinois are unwilling to represent gun owners who want to take the next step - moving from talk to action. Our action now is to increase our numbers, force media coverage, and not stand back idly waiting for just a few people to represent us as they continually tell us to hold back.
IMPORTANT CALL TO ACTION:
Please use the following links to send a message to the Illinois State Rifle Association and Illinois Carry. Please ask them to respect the wishes of those who want to wear "containers" or empty holsters at events as a freedom of speech expression. Ask them not to discriminate, not to segregate, and to stop trying to control others in such trivial ways. Lastly, please ask them to work with ICarry.org so we can all support one another's events with promotion, getting people there, and news and media coverage. All public events should be for everyone - no gun owners should be turned away. Your emails will be forwarded to the correct person(s) at the respective groups.