About Gun Owners of America

Gun Owners of America (GOA) is a non-profit lobbying organization formed in 1976 to preserve and defend the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. GOA sees firearms ownership as a freedom issue.

The GOA Story

GOA was founded in 1976 by the late Sen. H.L. (Bill) Richardson. The GOA Board of Directors brings over 100 years of combined knowledge and experience on guns, legislation and politics. GOA’s Board is not satisfied with the “status quo.” Americans have lost some of our precious gun rights and we want them back! This is why GOA is considered the “no compromise” gun lobby.

From state legislatures and city councils to the United States Congress and the White House, GOA represents the views of more than two million gun owners whenever their rights are threatened.

Join GOA Today!

GOA has never wavered from its mission to defend the Second Amendment.

Over the last 30 years, GOA has built a nationwide network of attorneys to help fight court battles in almost every state in the nation to protect gun owner rights. GOA staff and attorneys have also worked with members of Congress, state legislators and local citizens to protect gun ranges and local gun clubs from closure by overzealous government anti-gun bureaucrats.

As an example, GOA fought for and won, the right of gun owners to sue and recover damages from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) for harassment and unlawful seizure of firearms.

Strength Comes With Numbers

The more concerned Americans join Gun Owners of America, the more we can do to protect the Second Amendment and our freedom. We need you! Shouldn’t you become a member of Gun Owners of America?

The GOA Team

Late Sen. H.L. “Bill” Richardson

H.L. "Bill" Richardson, Founder of Gun Owners of America.

Late Sen. H.L. “Bill” Richardson

Senator H. L. “Bill” Richardson, founder of Gun Owners of America and Gun Owners of California, went home to be with the Lord on January 13, 2020. He was 92.

Senator Richardson was a nationally recognized, twenty-two-year veteran of the California State Senate who focused his extensive political career on the preservation and protection of our Second Amendment rights. An active hunter and outdoorsman, Senator Richardson was vigorously involved on the state and national scene, racking up political victories that spanned more than five decades.

Born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1927, Richardson fell in love with the beauty and grandeur of California following his graduation from the Cornish (Art) Conservatory in Washington.

In 1966, Richardson, then a successful advertising executive, was elected to the State Senate the same year Ronald Reagan was elected California’s Governor. Because of his vast hunting and outdoor experience, he was tapped to Chair the Senate Fish and Game Committee, and was elected by his Republican colleagues to a leadership position as Caucus Chairman, a post he held for many years.

In the early 1970’s, the Senator became very aware of the worldwide inroads the radical left were making in politics, most specifically their consistent attempts to disarm Americans. He became a life member of the NRA and, with their encouragement, authored the state preemption of firearms law which in 2009 resulted in overturning the recently enacted San Francisco handgun ban. He was subsequently elected to the NRA Board of Directors, where he served for over a decade.

In 1975, the radical left introduced legislation to ban all handguns in California. The bill generated strong support from elected officials and the main-stream media, which triggered Richardson to mobilize enraged citizens from throughout the state. It was at this point that Gun Owners of California was born, a direct mail attack was unleashed and the bill was defeated. Gun Owners of America soon followed and Richardson’s keen skill for mobilizing individuals toward a common goal launched a very effective political movement that continues to focus on the preservation of the Second Amendment.

During his 22 years in the California Senate, Richardson showed that a determined application of confrontational politics could produce big victories. While in office, in addition to GOC and GOA, Richardson organized multiple Political Action Committees [PACs] that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the political left. One such committee was “Law and Order Campaign Committee” which led the charge to defeat Chief Justice Rose Bird and two other liberal members of the state Supreme Court. The three anti-victim justices were defeated by over a million votes. LOCC then pushed for the return of capital punishment, a move strongly opposed by the liberal leadership of both houses and Governor Jerry Brown (during his first term in office). Using massive direct mail pressure, the bill passed both houses but in spite of heavy support from the public, the bill was vetoed. LOCC refused to give up, and using targeted direct mail and the mobilization of concerned citizens, Governor Jerry Brown’s veto was overridden.

Richardson took this sharp political insight and wrote a virtual “game plan” for political wins with his controversial book, “Confrontational Politics.” He clearly explains his core belief that politics is a struggle of competing ideologies, not a game of compromise and accommodation. A published author, other works include “Slightly to the Right,” an entertaining yet informative book written in the 60’s that taught conservatives how to debate their liberal friends. It became an immediate conservative classic which sold over 250,000 copies nationally.

“What Makes You Think We Read the Bills?” was written while Richardson was in the Senate and provides rare, yet funny insight into the real-life workings of the Legislature. It has been used as a textbook in political science classes throughout California.

Richardson also combined his love of writing and extensive knowledge of the American West to write a series of Western mysteries, beginning with “The Devil’s Eye” and followed by the sequel “The Shadows of Crazy Mountain.” For a change of pace, he authored “Split Ticket,” a political comedy based in Sacramento, California.

His unique perspectives and use of humor kept him in demand as a speaker and writer, providing colorful media commentary on a host of issues. He received numerous awards and accolades from fellow Second Amendment organizations, and such notable recognition as Outstanding Statesman Award from the Conservative Caucus, Law and Order Award from American Educational League, the Guardian of Freedom Award from YAF (Young Americans for Freedom) and the Ronald Reagan Freedom Fighter Award. He also was recognized for his exceptional work in law enforcement, having earned commendations from California homicide investigators, swat teams, police, parole and correctional organizations.

Richardson’s legacy, however, extends far beyond the world of politics. He was an extraordinary hunter and dedicated to the conservation of California game. He was an inexhaustible gardener, planting from seeds and harvesting all manner of vegetables, plus tending a vineyard and acres of fruit trees and berry vines which he named for his grandchildren.

Richardson’s family was his greatest legacy; married to his beloved late wife Barbara for 57 years, he was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He is survived by his daughter Laurie Paredes, her husband Sam, son Doug Richardson, his wife Karen, and his sister Jane Chastain and husband Tom. Predeceased by daughter Carrie Herbertson, he was beloved by his seven grandchildren and his 12 great grandchildren.

Erich Pratt

Erich Pratt is the Senior Vice President of Gun Owners of America and currently serves on the GOA Board.

Erich Pratt

Erich Pratt is the Senior Vice President for Gun Owners of America. GOA is a national grassroots organization representing more than two million gun owners dedicated to promoting their Second Amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC’s Today Show, MSNBC, CNN, CBS, Newsmax and Fox Cable News. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country, including USA Today.

In 2016, Pratt was awarded the “Gun Hero of the Day” by The Truth About Guns for “ably holding his own against [a CNN] interviewer’s bully boy onslaught.”

Pratt most recently authored a book entitled, Firing Back: How to Counter Anti-gun Propaganda and Become a Better 2A Activist.

Pratt has been involved with youth for over two decades, teaching civil government to high school students, serving as a Merit Badge Counselor in the Boy Scouts and coaching Little League baseball teams.

Mr. Pratt and his wife, Stacy, have eleven children.

John Velleco

John Velleco is currently the Executive Vice President of GOA, having served in various roles since 1993.

John Velleco

John Velleco is currently the Executive Vice President of Gun Owners of America, having served the organization in various roles since 1993.

Along with the entire GOA team, Velleco has taken part in legislative battles such as the passage of arming commercial airline pilots (signed into law in 2002), preventing gun confiscations after natural disasters like hurricane Katrina (signed into law in 2006), repealing the gun ban on National Park Service land (signed into law in 2009), and repealing the gun ban on Amtrak trains (signed into law in 2009).

While legislative responsibilities keep John on Capitol Hill on a regular basis, he has also appeared on various news programs on NBC, ABC, FOX News, CNN and C-Span, in addition to speaking at rallies and events across the country.

John resides in northern Virginia with his wife of 26 years and their five children.

Tim Macy

Tim Macy currently serves as the President and Chairman of the Board for Gun Owners of America.

Tim Macy

Tim Macy has been on the Board of Directors of Gun Owners of America since its inception over 35 years ago and currently serves as President and Chairman of the Board.

Mr. Macy helped GOA Founder and former Vice Chairman, Senator H.L. Richardson, form GOA by personally calling and getting commitments from all of the original members of the GOA Advisory Board in early 1976. Mr. Macy oversees all operations of Gun Owners of America and interviews Presidential, U.S. Senate, Congressional and Gubernatorial candidates for GOA’s affiliate, Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund. He also oversees the affairs of Gun Owners Foundation, the 501(c)(3) non-profit education and legal arm of GOA.

He is also Vice-Chairman of Gun Owners of California and oversees all operations of GOC, along with GOC Executive Director and Chief Lobbyist Sam Paredes. Macy has been a consultant to candidate’s campaigns and a fundraising consultant to organizations, candidates and committees, personally raising millions of dollars for these groups and individuals during his career. He is an avid hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman.

Sam Paredes

Sam Paredes is a Board Member of Gun Owners of America, and he has served as the Executive Director of Gun Owners of California for over 35 years.

Sam Paredes

Sam Paredes has been with Gun Owners of California for over 35 years, currently serving as Executive Director, a position he has held since 1998. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Gun Owners of America and Treasurer of Gun Owners Foundation.

GOC is a non-profit lobbying organization formed to protect and preserve our Second Amendment rights in California. Paredes is a registered lobbyist, has testified in hundreds of legislative committee hearings and has advocated on behalf of the gun community before the California Fish and Game Commission, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Justice.

Paredes has been interviewed by virtually every California news outlet as well as national and international media such as Fox News, ABC World News Tonight, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the Larry Elder Show, Al Jazeera and the BBC (Britain and Australia) as an expert on gun laws in the Golden State. He is a frequent speaker before conservative groups and has given workshops on “Confrontational Politics” in Missouri, Nevada and throughout California and has served as co-host of Sacramento’s “Just Guns” radio show on Money 105.5 FM.

In addition to his work with GOC, Paredes was appointed by California Governors George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson, serving in both administrations in the Trade and Commerce Agency.

Born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents, Sam is the second of three children. He attended Pepperdine University on scholarship and graduated with a degree in political science; he also studied at the Foundation for Economic Education in New York.

Sam is a certified firearms instructor, an avid outdoorsman and enjoys all shooting sports, hunting, fishing, golfing and traveling. He has served as a volunteer firefighter and as a board member of his local fire protection district in El Dorado County. He is the father of three children and grandfather to an ever growing brood of grandkids. He lives with his wife in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

GOC is the oldest pro-gun political action committee in the United States of America, having been at the forefront of the battle since assaults on the 2nd Amendment began. GOC functions as a 501(c)4 non-profit and operates exclusively from membership contributions and donations, utilizing funds to actively educate on issues and candidates. Employing a strong, three-pronged approach to beating back the assault on the Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, GOC is involved in the following: 
• Fighting full-time in the legislative halls, serving as a critical resource to policy makers.
• Fighting in the courts – in California and across the nation, having filed amicus briefs in California and other states as well as before the U.S. Supreme Court.
• Fighting at the ballot box – raising money to elect pro-gun candidates and to defeat the bad guys.

Gerry Ognibene

Gerry D. Ognibene is member of the Board of Directors of Gun Owners of America, serving continuously for over three decades.

Gerry Ognibene

Gerry D. Ognibene is member of the Board of Directors of Gun Owners of America, serving continuously for over three decades.

Gerry was born in Brooklyn NY in 1943, moving at age 3 with his parents and older brother to Los Angeles, CA.

Gerry attended Don Bosco Tech majoring in metallurgy, Cal. State University majoring in government, and pre law at Western State University Law School.

At age 8, Gerry began his life long interest in hunting and fishing. By age 18, Gerry was an experienced fly fisherman, offshore angler and hunter.

While in college, Gerry developed a close friendship with the legendary gun maker Harry W. Sanford and the founder of Gun Owners of America, Senator H. L. “Bill” Richardson.

With the mentoring of Harry and H. L., Gerry became an advocate for the U. S. Constitution and the Second Amendment.

Gerry was senior vice president of the Mission Viejo Company, a community development subsidiary of Phillip Morris Inc. His duties included governmental affairs, public relations, legal affairs and community relations.

After leaving Mission Viejo Co, Gerry started Vote Rite Systems, Inc, a data processing company focusing on conservative political data.

Gerry is currently president of Vote Rite Systems and is providing data services to many conservative organizations, politicians and candidates.

Chris Stone

Chris Stone is the Director of State and Local Affairs for Gun Owners of America

Chris Stone

Chris Stone is the Director of State and Local affairs, managing all of GOA’s state and regional directors. Chris is responsible for the training and development of staff and oversees all of the operations for GOA’s state lobbying initiatives.

After graduating from George Mason University with a degree in Government and International Politics, Chris worked for a Member of the U.S House of Representatives before moving to the public policy side of the financial services industry. During the 2012-2013 gun control push by then President Obama, Chris was hired by Gun Owners of America as the Director of Federal Affairs – successfully lobbying against the Toomey-Manchin gun package and spent three years lobbying for GOA on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

In 2016, Chris left GOA to continue working in the firearms industry, holding various roles as a registered lobbyist and communications director advocating for the right to keep and bear arms nationwide. He has over a decade of experience lobbying in Congress and in more than 15 state legislatures. In 2023, Chris was re-hired by GOA to manage the State and Local Affairs team.

Chris is an avid sports and outdoors enthusiast, spending most of his time outdoors with his wife and their two children.

Megan Browning

Megan Stein is the Director of Event Services for Gun Owners of America

Megan Browning

Megan Stein is the Director of Event Services for Gun Owners of America (GOA), ensuring membership satisfaction.

Before joining GOA, Megan Stein graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Government: Politics and Policy from Liberty University. She also has experience working for Teenage Republicans and lobbying for a conservative non-profit.

During her college career, she founded two successful Young Republican chapters in North Carolina and currently serves as the Northwestern Regional Director of North Carolina Federation of Young Republicans.

Megan and her husband reside in North Carolina.

Kailey Nieman

Kailey is the Director of Development and Marketing Services

Kailey Nieman

"When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life." False. When you love what you do, you push yourself to be better than the day before. I have a deep passion for the Second Amendment. In 2020 I helped launch and direct GOA's Strategic Partnership Program (SPP), and what started as a way to meet our members' needs has quickly grown to over 34 companies who fully endorse our No Compromise strategy. Then in 2021, I had the pleasure of launching and directing GOA's Caliber Club, which is our outreach to the Second Amendment frontline workers, gun stores, and ranges. Currently, we have over 5,000 members in our caliber club. It is my honor and privilege to work and serve our incredible grassroots activists, strategic partners, and Caliber Club members. If you put the mission first and treat everyone better than you want to be treated, you will see growth, not only in your organization but also in yourself.

Aidan Johnston

Aidan Johnston is the Director of Federal Affairs for Gun Owners of America.

Aidan Johnston

Aidan Johnston is the Director of Federal Affairs for Gun Owners of America. Aidan spends most of his days on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., serving as GOA’s primary point of contact for two branches of federal government and helping to define and execute no-compromise strategies in response to political developments.

Before working for GOA, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from George Washington University. He also interned for GOA, the Susan B. Anthony List, and Senator Pat Roberts.

Aidan grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, only shooting guns recreationally. He first began to realize the significance of the Second Amendment when he bought his first gun for self-defense during a period of rioting and looting.

Now a firearm enthusiast, Aidan likes to collect interesting firearms such as his 3D printed and 80% receivers as well as black powder firearms.

Aidan resides in Northern Virginia, near the nation’s capital.

Antonia Okafor Cover

Antonia Okafor Cover is the National Director of Womens' Outreach for Gun Owners of America and the founder of Empowered 2A, a women's-only non-profit.

Antonia Okafor Cover

Antonia Okafor Cover is the National Director of Womens' Outreach for Gun Owners of America. In 2017, Antonia created the organization Empowered 2A, a women's-only non-profit created to empower all women through the Second Amendment, firearm training and education, and advocacy. Antonia now runs Empowered 2A through Gun Owners of America. GOA is proud to have the organization as its official project to increase female participation in the Second Amendment community. Antonia also works on increasing membership in GOA by reaching recently growing demographics of gun owners: women, African Americans, Latinos, and other traditionally underrepresented groups in the Second Amendment community. Antonia also serves as a national spokesperson for GOA. You will see her on a regular basis on national TV on channels such as OANN, Newsmax, Fox News, and the Black News Channel (BNC) promoting our human right to keep and bear arms. Her written work has been published on Fox News, NBC, the New York Times, and The Independent. In addition, Antonia is the host of Bulletproof--a Second Amendment/current-events focused show that is a partnership between GOA and the podcast network, Ricochet.

Felisha Bull

Felisha Bull is Gun Owners of America’s Communications Director and is a passionate advocate of the right to keep and bear arms.

Felisha Bull

Felisha Bull is Gun Owners of America’s Communications Director and is a passionate advocate of the right to keep and bear arms.

She is a firearms enthusiast and works to share GOA’s No Compromise mission, battles, and victories with the 2A community. She ensures GOA content is engaging and educational, with a twist of humor. Her background in grassroots activism and her work in the conservative movement has allowed her to be well-versed in several policy issues and that gives her a unique perspective when it comes to fighting Big Tech Censorship and making sure GOA’s accounts stay active and growing.

Felisha made the full-time switch to fight for Second Amendment freedoms in 2020, and in the 86th Texas Legislative Session, she played a crucial role in the passage of Constitutional Carry legislation that repealed 150 years of tyranny in the Lone Star State.

Felisha is a meme aficionado, an avid reader, and a native Texan who lives in Austin with her two pets and enjoys the perks of living in a free state.

Mark Jones

Mark Jones, a Certified Wildlife Biologist®️, is GOA’s National Hunter Outreach Director and also serves as the State Director for his home state of Wyoming.

Mark Jones

Mark Jones, a Certified Wildlife Biologist®️, is GOA’s National Hunter Outreach Director and also serves as the State Director for his home state of Wyoming.

Mark moved to Wyoming and began working for GOA after retiring from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission where he had nearly three decades of experience performing wildlife research, publishing peer-reviewed scientific papers, managing wildlife resources, working with hunters and recreational shooters, and engaging in legislative issues and governmental policy.

Mark's 30+ years of professional experience as a Wildlife Biologist is coupled with almost 45 years of hunting experience that began as a child growing up in the Appalachian Mountains of southwestern Virginia. Mark has been blessed to hunt personally and work with hunting issues professionally all across America, and he is passionate about protecting the Second Amendment and the American hunting tradition. Mark has a proven track record of standing up for the Second Amendment and hunting opportunities through both professional and personal efforts at the local, state, and national levels.

Before coming to the GOA team, Mark was very active in Republican Party politics in his personal life where he served in a variety of leadership roles including as a two-term County Vice Chairman and two-term County Chairman. Mark wrote and helped pass North Carolina’s first strong county-level Second Amendment Protection Resolution, and this Resolution became a model that was copied and adopted by many counties across the state. Mark also helped repeal Second Amendment restrictions in county parks and buildings and helped pass a variety of other legislation while working with the Legislature on Second Amendment and hunting issues impacting the entire state.

Mark developed and directs GOA’s National Hunter Outreach Program for all 50 states while also managing legislative responsibilities in Wyoming where he resides with his wife and their two children.

Stephen Willeford

A native of Sutherland Springs, Texas, Stephen Willeford was raised in a family of five on a dairy farm near the First Baptist Church. He is the fourth generation to live on a few hundred acres of land in Wilson County.

Stephen Willeford

A native of Sutherland Springs, Texas, Stephen Willeford was raised in a family of five on a dairy farm near the First Baptist Church. He is the fourth generation to live on a few hundred acres of land in Wilson County.

Stephen has always relied on his faith to guide his life, and his deep roots in Sutherland Springs are a product of his family’s commitment to their community. An avid sportsman, Stephen began shooting at a young age and honed his shooting skills by participating in shooting competitions as he grew older. He made sure his three children were trained in gun safety, passing along his expertise.

After the deadly mass shooting in November 2017, Stephen has become known across the country as the “good guy with a gun.” Stephen credits his unwavering faith and penchant for preparedness as to why he was able to step in during this critical incident, believing that each day of his life prepared him for what happened on that Sunday morning.

Stephen has begun speaking publicly about his life and experiences, even delivering a lauded speech at the National Rifle Association Convention in May 2018. Because of his selfless service to his community, Stephen was also an honored guest of members of the Texas delegation at the 2018 State of the Union address in Washington, D.C.

An experienced professional plumber, Stephen earned his license from the Plumbers and Pipefitters Apprenticeship School in San Antonio and has nearly 35 years of experience in his field. In 2018, Governor Greg Abbott appointed Stephen to serve on the Texas Private Security Board. He is a Life Member of the Gun Owners of America (GOA), is a certified instructor, and a former assistant scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America.

These days Stephen works at GOA as their Grassroots and Industry Liaison.

Stephen has been married to Pam Farmer Willeford for 33 years and has six children.

Michael Csencsits

Michael Csencsits is the Deputy Director of State and Local Affairs and the Northeast Regional Director for Gun Owners of America.

Michael Csencsits

Michael Csencsits is the Deputy Director of State and Local Affairs and the Northeast Region Director for Gun Owners of America (GOA), where he represents gun owners in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Before joining GOA, Csencsits graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. During his time at Penn State, Michael was President of the Turning Point USA chapter on his campus. His work in that club grew it into the largest political organization at Penn State, beating even the College Democrats and College Republicans. Csencsits was also a volunteer interior firefighter for 5 years in Bath, Pennsylvania.

Michael Csencsits and his wife, Olivia, reside in Pennsylvania.

Iain Graeme

Iain Graeme is the Regional Director for the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains.

Iain Graeme

Iain Graeme joins the GOA team as the Regional Director for the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains.

Mr. Graeme is a passionate advocate of the God-given right to defend life and property with commonly held arms. He was brought on board after a lengthy career in the military and working as a private military contractor overseas. Additionally, Mr. Graeme served a term of duty in the trenches of education as a Classical school teacher, where he taught upper-level History, Geography, Economics, U.S. Government, and Moral Philosophy.

Mr. Graeme holds a Bachelor of Arts in American History with a concentration in the Colonial Period from Beloit College, where he earned the distinction of summa cum laude and was awarded the prestigious Taylor Merrill Prize for his mastery of multiple historical periods. Mr. Graeme was also presented with Madison College’s Honours Society academic achievement accolade for his work on the genesis and current state of the Fourth Amendment. In addition, Mr. Graeme holds a Master’s Degree with a concentration in American History from Liberty University, where he graduated with distinction for his noteworthy study on the “nightmare world” of Loyalism during the Revolutionary Period.

Monte Bowen

Monte Bowen is the Pacific Regional Director for Gun Owners of America

Monte Bowen

Monte Bowen is the Pacific Regional Director for Gun Owners of America (GOA), where he represents gun owners from Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington.

Monte Bowen is a retired Law Enforcement Officer with 30+ years of experience. Bowen holds a Master Instructor Certification for Law Enforcement. Bowen also holds a certification as a Master Firearms Instructor and has conducted training for departments and Police Academy Cadets.

Wes Virdell

Wes Virdell is the Texas State Director for Gun Owners of America

Wes Virdell

Born and raised in the heart of Texas, Wes Virdell is a veteran and small business owner in the Transportation Industry. Like many hardworking Texans, Wes places a priority on faith, family, and freedom.

A few short years after graduating from Brady High School in 1998, Wes served in the U.S. Air Force where he worked on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and served as a Military Training Leader.

After being honorably discharged from the military, Wes returned to his hometown of Brady and got involved in the fight for the right to keep and bear arms.

In fact, he started attending committee hearings for gun legislation in Texas in 2011 and was active in the battles for open carry in 2015 and Constitutional Carry in 2021.

Equipped with proven leadership, experience, and a love for Texas values, Wes ran for the Texas’ 11th Congressional District in 2020. Wes has also served as a 2020 and 2022 State Delegate for the Republican Party of Texas and as a 2020 National Delegate for the Republican National Convention.

Wes also served as the Texas Hill Country Coordinator for Gun Owners of America from 2020 to 2022.

With the support of his family and countless liberty-loving Texas patriots, Wes now happily serves as the Texas State Director for Gun Owners of America.

Luis Valdes

Luis Valdes is the Florida State Director and the Director of Outreach for Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands for Gun Owners of America

Luis Valdes

Luis Valdes is the Florida State Director and the Director of Outreach for Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands for Gun Owners of America. A life-long advocate of freedom and a firearms shooter, hunter, competitor, and collector. Luis is the first of his family born in the United States of Cuban Immigrants who fled Communism and whose family saw firsthand what gun control truly results in.

Luis believes in service before self and has taken the oath first as a cadet with the U.S. Civil Air Patrol, then as a solider in the U.S. Army, and lastly as a Law Enforcement Officer for the State of Florida. Serving a total of fifteen years in law enforcement from corrections, uniform patrol, internal affairs, protective operations, emergency disaster response, and fraud investigations. Luis ended his career as a Plainclothes Investigator and certified Field Training Officer along with receiving numerous awards for service. Luis says his life saving award was the most important recognition he’s received since that truly means he made a difference.

Luis has tirelessly fought for Second Amendment rights for a nearly decade in Florida while wearing the badge, including standing before the State Senate to fight the Parkland Gun Control bill (SB 7026) and organize a pro-gun rally at the State Capitol in 2018 where Luis volunteered as GOA’s eyes and ears in Florida.

Retiring from law enforcement in 2020, Luis joined GOA fulltime and is now is able to dedicate his full time and energy to the cause of advancing liberty and making Florida truly earn its title as the “Gunshine State”.

Other than Florida, Luis directs Gun Owners of America’s efforts of preserving and expanding the rights of ALL AMERICANS, including those in America’s far-flung possessions in the Caribbean of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Luis believes in our nation’s motto; e pluribus unum – out of many, one. We are all American and such, we all deserve our rights to be protected and respected.

Luis happily resides in Florida full-time and part-time in Puerto Rico with his wife and daughter.

Alex Shay

Alex Shay is the West Virginia State Director for GOA

Alex Shay

Alex Shay, The GOA West Virginia State Director, natural born West Virginian, served in the US Army as a Combat Medic for 10 years. Six years Active Duty and four years Reserve. In his time in the Army, he became a Combat Medic, certified EMT-B. Then became a CPR, AED, CLS, BLS, and First Aid Instructor though the American Heart Association. Alex served one 15 month tour of duty in Iraq. After returning to the USA, Alex moved to Morgantown, WV and started his own DJ & Event Coordination company Called Total Party Package. After 10 years as a professional DJ, Defense In Depth approached him about Membership and Event Coordination. He took the job and since then he has established incredible membership benefits, established the GSSF, Master Academy Cup and has become Glock Armorer Certified, Glock Operator Certified and a USCCA Basic Pistol and Home Defense Certificated.

You can't have "No" in your Heart. Life is a garden. Dig it.

~Joe Dirt~

Joshua Barnhill

Joshua Barnhill is the Louisiana Deputy Director for GOA

Joshua Barnhill

Joshua Barnhill is the Louisiana Deputy Director for GOA. In addition to working with GOA, Joshua is a Louisiana licensed attorney and a lifelong resident of the great state of Louisiana.

August Shettler

August Shettler is the Michigan and Ohio State Director for Gun Owners of America

August Shettler

August Shettler is the Michigan and Ohio State Director for Gun Owners of America. He is very passionate about the gun laws of Michigan, and wants to improve the Second Amendment rights of Michiganders.

August Joined GOA in early 2022, but has been involved politically since he attended Wayne State University and served as the President of the WSU College Republicans. He also interned for District Representative Mary Whiteford.

August Graduated from Wayne State in 2021 with a BA in Political Science and currently is living in west Michigan.

Eric Blandford

Eric Blandford is the Georgia State Director for Gun Owners of America

Eric Blandford

Eric Blandford of the IraqVeteran8888 YouTube Channel is GOA's Georgia State Director.

Eric has used his channel to advocate for gun rights as well as introduce new gun owners to the Second Amendment community for many years.

In May of 2022, he teamed up with GOA to fight for the Second Amendment alongside his fellow Georgians.

Tim Harmsen

Tim Harmsen is the Indiana State Director for Gun Owners of America

Tim Harmsen

Tim Harmsen is GOA's Indiana State Director.

Tim's YouTube channel, which has over 1 million subscribers, has provided gun owners with content about firearms and the Second Amendment for 13 years! 

In June 2022, Tim decided to join GOA in the fight, and help to continue the mission to preserve, restore, and defend the right to bear arms. 

Tim will be working diligently to protect the rights of citizens across the state of Indiana, and fight against the corrupt politicians who compromise on the Second Amendment. 

Daniel Woodruff

Daniel Woodruff is the Kentucky State Director for Gun Owners of America.

Daniel Woodruff

Before joining GOA, Daniel Woodruff grew up in a gunsmithing family (3rd Generation)  and firearms were a normal part of life. It was only natural to become a Second Amendment advocate. Daniel eventually joined the Navy and later became a law enforcement officer. He  now works as a social media influencer. He  was the first Youtuber to work with GOA. Daniel lives in northern Kentucky with his wife Melissa and two children.

Val Finnell

Col. (Dr.) Finnell is the Pennsylvania State Director for Gun Owners of America.

Val Finnell

Col. (Dr.) Finnell is a native of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, and currently resides in the Mechanicsburg, PA area, very close to the PA State Capitol Complex.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Washington and Jefferson College in 1990, a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in 1994, and a Master of Public Health (Health Services Administration) in 2008. Dr. Finnell completed a residency in Anatomic/Clinical Pathology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and a second residency in Preventive Medicine/Public Health from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

He retired in July of 2016 from the United States Air Force in the rank of colonel.

Dr. Finnell is a staunch advocate for the right to keep and bear arms for over 20+ years. He was the first president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a statewide grassroots organization dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment. Under his leadership in Pennsylvania, the GOA-backed Constitutional Carry bill made it to Governor Wolf’s desk in November of 2021.


GOA’s Top Ten in 2022

GOA’s Top 2A Highlights in 2021

GOA’s Top Ten in 2020

GOA’s Top Ten in 2019

GOA’s Top Ten in 2018

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