Happy Independence Day!

Dear IFC Members,

240 years ago today, on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress began signing the Declaration of Independence, thus officially severing the American colonies’ allegiance to the Crown of England forever, and setting into motion a war that at times very nearly destroyed us.

11 years later, on the last day of the Constitutional Convention which was made possible by the Declaration, the representative from Pennsylvania, one Benjamin Franklin, was reportedly approached by a woman.  According to the legend she asked Mr. Franklin, “what have you given us, Sir?”  To which Mr. Franklin famously replied, “a republic, Ma’am, if you can keep it.”

I know times are tumultuous now.  Our politics is in disarray and it seems like there is great division and discord in America.  But as fragile as it seems right now, it has been because of people like you that for over two centuries we have managed to keep our republic.  78 years after winning our freedom, people like you stood up against slavery.  Then, 100 years ago, the fight was for women’s suffrage, and 60 years ago the fight was against Jim Crow and for the equality of all.  And in 2016, it falls to us that our share of the duty in ensuring freedom for future generations is by standing in the gap and fighting for the rights guaranteed and protected by the Second Amendment.

You are all a part of a long line of Americans who have stood up for the right thing.  That tradition runs through you, in a straight line leading right back to those early patriots this country reveres so dearly, like Thomas Jefferson, whose glorious and immortal words we remember today:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

These words do not live on a sheet of paper housed under armored glass in Washington D.C.; they live within all of you, and because of that the principles those mere words convey cannot ever be destroyed.  You–all of us together–are the genuine vessel of freedom.  You are the torch bearers, carrying the flame forward until our children and our children’s children can take it up and themselves carry it forward.  And for this truly amazing and sublimely beautiful thing, I give you all my most gracious and humble thanks.  I thank you for doing everything you do to keep American values, virtues, and traditions alive, especially now that they are seemingly under attack from multiple sides.

And to IFC’s amazing volunteers, I want to express my gratitude to your families as well, for it is because of their sacrifice in time away from you that you are able to do what you do to protect the civil rights of every single Iowan in this state.  Please pass along my thanks to them.

Happy Independence Day, IFC.  This day is for you!

With the levity of a joyful heart,
Proudly standing by you to protect the Second Amendment in Iowa,
Yours truly,
Barry B. Snell
President, Iowa Firearms Coalition

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