Compiled by Gila Hayes

As many of our readers know, your Network leadership team has only recently returned from a very rewarding visit to the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville. Meeting our many affiliates and members and hearing how they are sharing knowledge with armed citizens in their communities all across the country is an important benefit of attending this event. The Network booth was rarely quiet, with visits from affiliates Dennis Fater, Robert Keller (pictured below), Larry Bignall, Bill Martin, George Roe, Brad Smith and many, many more. In fact, one of the interesting differences between this year’s NRA Annual Meeting and those in previous years was how many more Network members stopped by to shake hands, say a few words of appreciation, or to introduce a friend.

RKellerOne affiliate, Henry Lievens, serves Network members as both an Affiliated Attorney and instructor, as well as taking our Foundation’s complimentary booklet What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law with him when he promotes gun safety training at preparedness events and other conventions in his area. I had a great visit with Henry, and toward the end, he pointed at a young woman standing patiently across the aisle with a baby stroller, indicating that his wife and infant were attending the NRA meeting with him. We stepped across the aisle and exchanged a few words, and got several cute smiles from the baby, too. Henry’s was only one of many family groups seen at the meeting, which is indeed heart warming.

In other affiliated instructor news, we recently heard from Jon Abel who owns Phoenix Firearms Training. He’s currently busy pioneering the use of the Jedburgh Target System at his training academy. This is a steel target system that is programmable to present the shooting student with a number of randomized variables, including differences in the number of rounds required to neutralize a target, the order in which targets appear, the numbers of targets, plus other parameters the firearms instructor programs into the system. Jon notes that his school is currently the only private sector training group with access to the Jedburgh system. Learn more about Jon’s training opportunities with this system at

I enjoyed the story of how our Affiliated Instructor Sara Ryan started her Athena's Armory, when she and I exchanged several emails last month. Sara told me that as she was starting her family, shooting and personal defense became a lot more important. “I’m just five feet tall and wondered how I would protect the little one if really put to the test,” she related. While shopping for holsters and other gear, she discovered that the big box sporting good stores had inadequate options at best, but the smaller gun stores were intimidating to shop in, and “besides, they didn’t really carry any woman-specific products,” she related. Sara and her husband were interested in opening their own business, and they combined their passion for self defense with their belief that to succeed in business, one must solve a problem people face.

“During this same time period, I had good and bad shooting instructors and saw firsthand what a difference the instructor can make, especially for new shooters and women that may have a fear of firearms or have been put off by too many bad experiences with alpha-male egos. It seemed like a natural fit for me to help other women solve their personal defense issues and learn to shoot,” she explained. Sara went on to earn instructor credentials, and she and her husband opened an online store selling holsters and other products for armed citizens. The same website also gives details about their training classes, as well as sharing information through product reviews, blogs and articles. Check it out and get to know Sara at

While the focus of this column is usually on our affiliates, I want to digress slightly to share a tidbit about the Network’s growth. With the Network’s growth steady, recently exceeding the 11,000-member mark, we’ve brought on a new team member to help us engage more dynamically with Network members, affiliated instructors and armed citizens who need to be Network members.

JoshAmosIt is my pleasure to introduce to you our newest staff member, Josh Amos, who will be helping with Network marketing and Internet presence. Here’s an “early-days” example of his efforts, a cost-free outreach that I would have never thought of on my own. Under Josh’s guidance, we have been building up the Google reviews of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, so potential members can easily find the feedback they need to make a decision to join. This is an ongoing effort and we invite your participation. Just Google Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, then click “view all Google reviews” link at the bottom of the module on the right side of the Google web page and add your reasons for being a Network member to all the comments other members have posted there.

Now, a bit about our newest team member: Josh is a former Marine, a 2014 MBA graduate of Saint Martin’s University, in Lacey, WA and a graduate of many classes with Network President Marty Hayes’ training organization, the Firearms Academy of Seattle. When you have needs, ideas, thoughts and questions about Network promotion, outreach and growth, I hope you will see Josh as your new “go to guy!” You will be hearing more from Josh in coming months, as he begins helping me with this fun, newsy column as well as many other projects here at the Network. Welcome aboard, Josh!

I want to emphasize that the Network would not be the strong member support organization it is today without the friendship, feedback and continued support of all of our members. Josh and I are looking forward to working together to keep you informed of the Network’s latest efforts and accomplishments, fun events hosted by Affiliated Instructors, as well as more membership growth ideas that Josh is dreaming up. Please contact us anytime with your own ideas and inspiration at 360-978-5200 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We have long dedicated this Networking column to introducing our affiliate members to our readers, sharing their event announcements, news of affiliate accomplishments, business growth and other interesting tidbits. Affiliates, please send us an email if you have any special events like open houses, seminars, classes or other interesting tidbits that we can announce in this column. If announcing an event, about 60 days advance notice is best since we publish only once a month.

Also, please let us know when you need more copies of our Armed Citizens’ Educational Foundation’s booklet What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law and our tri-fold brochures by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 360-978-5200.

We’re all in this together! Let’s work as a team to get the word out so armed citizens in your community have a better understanding of lawful, judicious use of deadly force and what to expect in the aftermath.

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