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ISRA Thursday Bulletin – April 13, 2023


ISRA Thursday Bulletin – April 13, 2023

The 2024 Democratic National Convention will be held in Chicago. The Midwest will be a battleground in 2024.  The Republican 2024 National Convention will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I remember the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Brace yourself.

In Washington State, the Democrat-controlled State Senate has pushed through their version of a so-called “assault weapons ban. “If this legislation makes it to the Governor’s desk, he will sign it.  That means that the lawsuits against the Illinois version of the so-called ‘assault weapons ban” takes on greater importance. Our lawsuit, Harrel v Raoul, is a federal case and will apply not only to Illinois but to the entire United States if we make it to the Supreme Court of the United States. At this time, I do not see any reason we won’t get there.


Yesterday was the long-awaited preliminary injunction hearing in our Harrel case and the three other consolidated cases in the Southern District of Illinois in East St. Louis. This is a challenge to the Protect Our Communities Act and the “assault weapon” and large capacity magazine ban in Illinois that was passed in January. The Judge started the 3½-hour hearing by noting that he had to look at the case from all angles: criminals and victims, their families, and law-abiding firearm owners who have done nothing wrong and who never will. Erin Murphy from Washington, D.C., argued for all the Plaintiffs and did a wonderful job explaining to the Court why the prohibitions were unconstitutional under the Supreme Court’s holdings in Heller and the 2022 Bruen decision. She explained that the prohibited firearms and magazines were clearly “arms” under the Second Amendment and that the law did not pass muster under the “historical tradition” test the Courts must now apply.

The attorney for the State was grilled heavily about the firearms and features that were prohibited, for example, why a pistol grip or a thumbhole stock that could allow a disabled or elderly person to use a firearm more effectively in a self-defense situation but did not make the gun fire faster or the bullets any more lethal, was singled out for prohibition. The Judge also asked why large capacity magazines were banned if one is allowed to carry multiple smaller capacity magazines with them and questioned how that affected the ability to engage in self-defense.

While the Judge did not tip his hand about a ruling, it is encouraging that the State’s position was challenged much more than ours. The Judge either knew a lot about firearms or had been very well prepared and also made a point of complimenting all the legal briefs submitted in all four of the cases. While we do not know of the timing of a ruling, Judge McGlynn has shown himself to be very efficient thus far, so we are hopeful a ruling is forthcoming soon. As the cases are expected to quickly go to the Seventh Circuit regardless of the Judge’s ruling, and since there is already a case on this issue in that Court already, timing may turn out to be very important.

Spring seems to have popped, and we are in summer already. Old Man Winter held the warm air back, but as always, it gets here sooner or later. With the advent of warm weather, I urge you all to get outside and do some shooting. It is a sport everyone can enjoy, including family and friends. 

Now and in the next few weeks, outdoor ranges will be having open practice sessions and starting shooting leagues and competitions. With ammunition prices dropping and more available, now is the time to get started.

Many people are interested in shooting activities but don’t know how to get started. The ISRA has some solutions for you. The ISRA has 16 or 17 shooting leagues. Every one of them will help you get started. The only thing you need to bring with you to the ISRA Range is a good attitude and a willingness to learn. 

One good example is shooting black powder rifles, pistols, and shotguns. The great thing about black powder is that it is inexpensive to shoot. The ISRA has quality black powder firearms we will let you try out under the watchful eye of our excellent instructors. All you must do is show up on the first Sunday of the month at the ISRA Range in Bonfield, Illinois, just west of Kankakee, Illinois. The black powder league starts at 8:00 A.M. You will need to show up by 7:30 A.M.  As I said, all you will need to bring is a good attitude, a willingness to learn, proper shoes (no open toes), and a baseball cap.  The black powder league is held on the first Sunday of every month. The next league will be on Sunday, May 7, 2023.

A great rifle class that is held at the ISRA Range is the Project Appleseed class. This class only requires a .22 semiautomatic rifle and is a mixture of marksmanship and history. This is a great class for kids of age ten and up and grownups.  I have attended a few of these classes. They are great.  This is not an ISRA class, but it is held at our range.  To get more information and register for the class, you will need to contact Chewie@projectappleseed.net. The next class is on April 22 and 23. 

To find out about more activities and classes at the ISRA Range, visit www.isra.org and click on Activities.  A drop box will appear and just click on Range Calendar. I will discuss other opportunities for those interested in different shooting activities in the coming weeks. 

The ISRA Range in Bonfield is in the midst of our Spring 2023 membership drive.  The ISRA Range is the ONLY outdoor Five Star in Illinois.  There are only 14 outdoor Five Star Ranges in the entire United States. If you are interested in joining the ISRA Range and would like to arrange a range tour, you may call the ISRA Range Office at 815-939-1909 between 9 am and 4 pm to set up a date and time.  You will need to have your FOID Card with you and present it to the Range Officer on duty.  See you at the range!


Recently, I was reading an article by Massad Ayoob in which he mentioned his experience at the Chapman Academy.  Ray Chapman and Jeff Cooper founded what is often referred to as the school of “Modern of Modern Pistolcraft.” The Chapman Academy was located in Columbia, Missouri. I was a Bullseye and International shooter and had little experience in, for lack of a better word, combat shooting.  I decided I would take my vacation at the Chapman Academy. I was in for a great experience.  It is what I have come to call “Immersion Firearm learning.”  Today there are several schools that train you in immersion-type training, Gunsite, Front Sight, and Massad Ayoob’s Mag 80 class, to name a few. For a week, it would be nothing but handgun training.  

All my handguns were target guns not suited for combat shooting. I knew I would need something else for the Chapman Academy.  I decided to get a Les Bear .45 Caliber 1911, the forerunner of the Les Bear Premier II. I already had a Springfield Armory “Ball Gun” that was built by Les Bear while he worked there. It would work but have a lot of sharp edges that would be difficult to handle in combat situations.

I also equipped myself with extra magazines, Bianchi holsters, magazine pouches, belt, and 3000 rounds of .45 full metal jacket ammunition. You were not allowed to use wimpy target loads in this class, this was the real deal.

When I got to the class, I looked around. There were Navy Seals, Policemen, and would-be professional shooters in the class. For a moment, I got one of those “what am I doing here” thoughts sweeping through my mind. It didn’t matter, I was in the boat, so there was nothing to do but row. 

The class was strenuous. We had to shoot sideways, in several positions on the ground, climb on top of roofs and shoot down, shoot at moving targets, shoot on the move, and shoot from vehicles in the bodyguard training section. Those were the days before magazine loaders and the lips on 1911 magazines are sharp. I shot 2700 rounds in five days, which meant I had loaded my magazines about 350 times. My fingers, like everyone else’s, were cut up, and our hands had blisters. I don’t think by Friday, there was a box of Band-Aids available for sale within 10 miles of the range.  At the beginning of the class, Ray Chapman told us that every gun would break before the end of the class.  He had a gunsmith on hand and a pile of parts. Every gun did break but one. My Les Baer. It never missed a lick.

It was hot, so by the end of the day, we were sweating through everything. At the end of each day, we showered and headed for a quick dinner, came back to the motel room, cleaned guns, and fell into bed like a sack of potatoes.  Morning would come early.

When Friday came, we all went to a local watering hole, sweat and all, with Ray Chapman. I was pretty happy; I came in third out of a class of 27. By the way, if you ever wander into that local watering hole and order a Manhattan, what you are going to get is gin, white vermouth, and an olive.

That was total immersion firearm training.  It works.  If you can take such a class, do it.



April 13, 1782
Washington, North Carolina, becomes the first town named after George Washington.

April 14, 1775
The first abolitionist society in the U.S. is organized by Benjamin Franklin.

April 14, 1865
Abraham Lincoln is shot by southern Sympathize John Wilkes Booth.

April 14, 1902
J.C. Penney opens its first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.  t was known as the Golden Rule store.

April 15,1865
Abraham Lincoln dies.  

April 15, 1912
The ocean liner Titanic strikes an iceberg and sinks. The loss of life was devastating; 1517 died. Only 700 survived.

April 15, 1923
This is the 100th anniversary of Insulin becoming available for widespread use. 

April 6, 1927
Anne Oakley becomes the first woman to break 100 clay pigeons.

April 17, 1964
Ford Motor Company introduces the Mustang. I remember when the local Ford dealer received his first Mustang. It was bright red. Every kid I knew just had to get down to his showroom, it seems. He probably had to wipe the car down every hour for a few days to get the fingerprints off of it.

April 19, 1775
Shot Heard Around the World Day…
At 12:30 A.M. Paul Revere and William Dawes reach Lexington.  At 1:30 A.M Samuel Prescott reaches Concord. The Lexington Militia is ready. At 5:00 A.M., the first shots are fired at Lexington.  The Revolutionary War begins.  No one ever said, “The British are coming.”  Everyone was British. They said, “The Regulars are coming.” 

At 7: 00 A.M., the Regulars reach Concord. 9:30 A.M. The Battle at North Bridge takes Place. At 12 P.M., The Regulars begin to march back to Boston. There are skirmishes all along the way.  At 5;30 P.M, the Regulars attacked the home of 58-year-old Jason Russel. Russel was a crippled man and refused to leave his home when the Regulars told him to get out. Russel and ten others took refuge in the cellar. The Regulars slaughtered them. Russel’s wife discovered the bodies. The small room had about four inches of blood surrounding the bodies. It was a gruesome sight. Throughout the Revolutionary War, the British Regulars committed atrocity after atrocity on the Americans. The massacre at Jason Russel’s home was just the beginning. 

As the Regulars returned to Boston, they were under constant attack.  At one point, the 700 militiamen were about 15 minutes away from flanking the Regulars, but it didn’t happen. Had that happened, they would have wiped out the Regulars, and that would have changed the course of history.                                                                                    
At 7:30 P.M., the regulars arrived back in Boston. The Regulars suffered 73 killed, 174 wounded, and 26 missing. The Colonials suffered 40 killed, 41 wounded, and five missing.

British Army Commander Hugh Percy said after the Battle….” For my part, I never imagined they would have attacked the King’s troops or have the perseverance I found in them Yesterday.”

The Revolutionary War was underway!


The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has some surplus ammunition available.

For those who want to compete in the M1 and M1 Carbine Matches, this is probably what you need to practice. There are limits on what you can purchase, and all ammunition will be shipped from Anniston, Alabama. The CMP Store at Camp Perry, Ohio, does not have ammunition in stock at this time. That could change during the National Matches.

A qualified person can purchase one 400-round can of 30-06 ammunition for $392.
A qualified person can purchase two 240-round boxes of M1 carbine ammunition for $108 per box.
A qualified person can purchase two bricks of .22 ammunition for $40 per brick.
Shipping and handling are extra.  

This is enough ammunition to get a zero for your matches but precious little to practice to any great extent. Still, it is probably what you will be issued to shoot the matches.

Go to the CMP website to order. https://thecmp.org/​​​​



Executive Director

Illinois State Rifle Association

If you are not an ISRA member, please join today!

Donate: https://isra.org/support-us/

Visit www.isra.org

Upcoming Events: https://isra.org/events-calendar/

Upcoming Meetings: https://isra.org/isra-activities-and-events/

Range Calendar

April 15  Defensive Tactics. For Concealed Carry.  Level 1

April 22 and 23. Project Appleseed 

April 22.  ISRA Academy Basic Tactical Pistol Class. 

April 23.  Handgun drills

April 23 ISRA Academy NRA Basic Pistol Class

April 29.  Armed Women of America Meeting

April 30. Introduction to 3Gun and Steel Challenge 

April 30. High-power league Brown Match 

  Illinois CCL Qualification 

Kane County Sportsman’s Show – St Charles, IL
Kane County Fairgrounds
Date: April 16, 2023
Hours: Sunday: 7:30-1:30
Admission: $7.00

04/16/23Sunday, April 16, 2023
05/21/23Sunday, May 21, 2023
10/08/23Sunday, October 08, 2023
11/12/23Sunday, November 12, 2023
12/10/23Sunday, December 10, 2023


All shows are Sunday 7:30 AM -1:30 PM


May 27-28, Intro to Defensive Pistol, $500

This intensive two-day program introduces the new or novice #shooter to combat handgun #training. The program focuses on firearms safety issues, marksmanship basics, various shooting positions, speed reloads, drawing from a holster, and more. This is designed for the shooter who has never had formal firearms training or would like to review the fundamentals. Emphasis is placed on trigger control, sight alignment, accuracy, and safety. 500 rounds. No prerequisite is required, and you do not have to be an ISRA member to attend. Classes will take place at the ISRA range 1589 N 7000 W Road Bonfield, IL. Contact Andy Kemp at 208-771-3413 or [email protected] or visit www.midwesttraininggroup.net

Illinois State Rifle Association
Illinois State Rifle Associationhttp://www.isra.org
ISRA Supports Illinois Firearm Owners with Education, Training, Litigation and Legislation to PROTECT your 2nd Amendment Rights. All Article Posts Are Made With A Working Agreement With The ISRA


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