Feb. 27, 2017 – West Bend, WI – State Representative Bob Gannon (R-West Bend) will be speaking to the West Bend Sunrise Rotary on Tuesday about a directive from the Rotary International Board that forbids local clubs from participating in events that relate to guns.
Some of the suggested events include gun shows, shooting events, gun raffles, etc.
During a one-on-one interview Monday morning Gannon said he learned about the decision by Rotary International last week.
“All I can assume is the Rotary International Board probably, as part of the debate to pass something this broad, somebody brought up that this wasn’t going to go over well in America and all I can assume is the people around the table said ‘tough,'” said Gannon.
“Rotary International has every right to act like a mini United Nations, but I also have the right to no longer support them.”
Gannon said Bill and Melinda Gates have been generous donors in the fight to eradicate Polio, which is one of the primary missions of Rotary International.
Gannon also said Gates and his wife are “big funders of the anti-gun movement.”
“I hope the money from donors like them isn’t influencing what once was a great organization,” he said of the Rotary.
During Tuesday’s meeting Gannon, a well-known advocate of concealed carry, said he plans to announce his intentions to take a leave of absence from the West Bend Sunrise Rotary Club, with the expectation that this will lead to a permanent resignation.
“I am not going to be told as a volunteer in my community that I can do this or can’t do that,” he said. “It’s disappointing to note that that little bit of international assistance we give out comes with heavy rules.”
Gannon did not know how much of the proceeds from their club’s fundraising go to Rotary International.
Gannon said his action to step out is directly due to a recent Rotary International Board decision that forbids local clubs from participating in events that relate to the subject of guns. “This would include Wal-Mart, Fleet Farm, the local hardware store, and all other gun and ammunition sellers which are no longer good enough to donate and support my Rotary Club going forward,” said Gannon.
This new regulation also forbids clubs from accepting “sponsorships or a cooperative relationship” with any company that “supports the use of weapons.”
Gannon felt that directive would also threaten the great relationship that all the local Rotary’s have with Delta Defense/United States Conceal Carry Association.
“This company has been a fabulous local corporate citizen, and one which has always been there to help when called upon. Their business is focused solely around assisting “responsibly armed citizens” and exists as a reminder of what the second amendment to our constitution means,” said Gannon.
Tim Schmidt, founder and CEO of Delta Defense/USCCA was reached for comment. He said he was not aware of the decision by Rotary International.
“Rotary International is a private organizations and thus has the right to create whatever rules suit their organization,” said Schmidt. “I personally think that a rule banning relationships with gun-related events is rather strange.”
On Tuesday Gannon will ask the West Bend Sunrise Rotary to send a resolution to the Rotary International Board advising them to rescind their actions or that we will consider no longer operating under the Rotary banner.
“I’m expecting this will have no impact on their decision,” said Gannon. “I will then be resigning my membership in an organization that I love, an organization that I served as president of and a club that has had such a positive impact on West Bend, the city that I call home.”