Richard A. Pearson, Executive Director of the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA), is the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month for July.
 In nominating Pearson for the Award, John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, said that, “as the gun rights movement more and more begins to show increasing legislative and political strength at the national level, the gun grabbers are pouring more and more of their resources and concentrating more and more of their attention towards promoting their cause at the state level.  This is especially so in those particular states where the gun grabbers believe they have a greater opportunity for promoting their anti-gun ideas.
 “One of these states is Illinois, long a battle ground for preserving the individual civil right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.  With a number of activist anti-gun politicians holding public office, including that of the Governor, Rod Blagojevich, the battle to preserve citizens’ rights is a tough and ongoing one.  Fortunately, there are a number of pro-gun activists in Illinois who are hard working, perceptive and articulate in promoting Second Amendment rights and in countering the nefarious efforts of Blagojevich and company.  One of the leaders of these activists is Richard Pearson, who has given unstintingly and tirelessly of himself in this fight.  He certainly is most deserving of the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award.”
 Pearson understands full well what is at stake.  In a recent message to Illinois gun owners, he wrote that, “the average guy or gal sitting in a duck blind or in a tree does not understand that there are lawmakers just waiting for the chance to wipe out their way of life.  They do not understand that their son or daughter may never be able to enjoy the freedoms or experiences they have had.  What could change all of this that we have taken for granted as our birthright?  The answer is insidiously simple – just a few words changed here and there in the laws of Illinois.  Over time, if allowed to happen, we would be amazed at how quickly our freedoms would disappear.
 “To keep from losing our freedoms, somebody must attend every committee hearing on gun legislation; somebody must talk to almost every legislator before they vote; somebody must read every bill with the foresight to understand every word, every sentence, and every nuance, and be able to comprehend short and long-term consequences.  Someone must attend every committee hearing, give testimony, and represent the gun owners and sportsmen in this state.  Someone must meet every day to discuss bills coming up that day, that week, and that month…
 “Who is there to make sure that next year we will be able to see our kid or grand kid climb into a shooting stand for the first time?  That our spouses will be able to defend themselves in their own houses?  That they will be able to go target shooting?  So, who do you think is fighting for you?”
 Pearson says that someone is ISRA.  He, as ISRA Executive Director, actually is the individual who does much of if not in fact most of that work.
 Recently, Pearson commended citizens in Wilmette, Illinois for risking their own safety to defend a teenaged girl who was under a savage attack from an ex-wrestler former boyfriend.  Noting that Wilmette is one of a few municipalities that prohibits its citizens from possessing handguns, Pearson said that he and ISRA are fighting against legislative proposals designed to put an end to lawful firearm ownership in the state.  He said that in the Wilmette situation, “an armed citizen could have turned the tables in a hurry.” 
What happened there, though, was that “one would-be rescuer, a 69 year old man, was severely beaten while also another of the men was reportedly beaten and choked by the attacker before police could step in and save him from further harm.”
 Richard is an insurance broker and was owner of the Shafer-Pearson Insurance Agency in Chatsworth, Illinois from 1978 through 2001.  He was a geography teacher at the Bloomington Junior High School in Bloomington, Illinois from 1976-1978 and a cooperative work training instructor there from 1970 through 1977. 
 His prior career also includes service as a teaching assistant in the Department of Geography and Geology at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, as a teacher for the Illinois Youth Commission of the Illinois Department of Corrections at Kankakee, Illinois, and as a social studies teacher at Bradley-Bourbonnais High School in Bradley, Illinois.