Tuesday, January 30, 2018

State of the Sword 2018

It is my honor and privilege to apprise you all of the current status of Operation Blazing Sword and what we have accomplished in the past 18 months. Since this is happening on the same day as the President's State of the Union Address, I shall call this our first annual State of the Sword Report.

Even though Operation Blazing Sword was born on June 12, 2016, it was not granted 501c3 status until late November of that year. 2017 was a year of building foundations and networks, things which are necessary for our continued prosperity but which are invisible to those outside the Board of Directors.

While the Board was busy in the background, members stepped up to fulfill our core mission. Operation Blazing Sword has over 1500 volunteer instructors in nearly a thousand locations across all 50 states, as well as trainers in Canada, Australia, and the US Virgin Islands. Since our inception, these volunteers have trained at least 35 people in the basics of firearm safety and operation. (I say "at least" because as a matter of policy we do not require those we help to "out" themselves as having received training.) Of those 35 trained, 15 of them went on to buy firearms; 11 of those 15 applied for a concealed carry permit.

We have also raised nearly $4,000, all of which has been from private citizens. While this seems small, keep in mind that we are truly grassroots and do not have the backing of corporations or a New York billionaire. For a pro-gun, queer-friendly niche group, this level of achievement is astounding.

Put another way, our volunteers trained two people per month in firearm safety; 45% of those trained became gun owners, and therefore gun voters; 73% of those gun owners went on to become lawful concealed carriers; and all of this was done without government or corporate support, but instead through the efforts of individuals like you who believe that the Second Amendment is for everyone and that all human life is worth defending.

We achieved amazing things in 2017, and I look forward to surpassing those achievements in 2018. We will hold community safety seminars, host open range days, and sponsor concealed carry courses. Our goal is to help people — not just queer people, but all people — protect themselves from crime and violence in a lawful and responsible manner.

Through this instruction, we see each other through new eyes and tear down old boundaries. Gun owners gain an understanding of what it is to be queer, and queer people discover that gun owners do not hate them. Once you see someone as a human being, it is difficult to relegate them to the category of "the other".

As J.R.R Tolkien said, “I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”  Likewise, I do not love Blazing Sword for its accomplishments; rather, I love those people whom it has taught protection. In 2018, let us come together as one people and declare that the lives of gay people and straight people, of transgender people and cisgender people, of those on the right and those on left all have value and are all worth defending — because we love them. 

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