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.
The GOA Pennsylvania Team
Colonel (Dr.) Val W. Finnell, USAF Ret. is the Pennsylvania Director for Gun Owners of America, spearheading GOA’s work within the Keystone State.
Val has been a stalwart defender of the right to keep and bear arms since the 1990s. In 1998, he was elected as the first president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), the premier gun rights organization in the Commonwealth of Virginia. VCDL was instrumental in making Virginia a “shall issue” state and continues its mission to the present day.
Val received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Pennsylvania State University in 1994 and a Masters in Public Health from the Uniformed Services University in 2008. He served as a Chief of the Medical Staff and a Deputy Group Commander in the United States Air Force.
In 2016, Val retired from the Air Force in the rank of colonel. He is a disabled veteran and also assists GOA in representing veterans’ interests before the Executive Office of the President and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
A native son of Pennsylvania, Val returned to his home state after his retirement from the military and has been serving as GOA’s Pennsylvania Director since April of 2019. He’s a proud member of the Sons of the American Revolution and currently resides in York, Pennsylvania near his grandchildren.
Melanie Costello is the Deputy State Director for Pennsylvania GOA. Melanie knows the importance of the Second Amendment, having been born and raised in Germany where Second Amendment rights have long perished. Melanie is an avid hunter, loves the outdoors, and wants to ensure future generations can appreciate their God-given freedoms.
Melanie’s professional career has been in the hospitality industry managing several travel professionals across the US and Internationally. She has been involved in Grassroots movements in her local county. Melanie lives in Penn Run PA, with her husband and four children. She enjoys horseback riding, gardening, and most of all defending the one right that binds them all, our precious 2nd amendment.