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Specific Steps You Can Take to Oppose the Coming Obama/Biden Gun Controls

I’m back with more specific ideas that you can try in your version of a “gun community” to oppose new gun control measures. My apologies for the time off from these, but it was a little tough to blog seriously with a 4-year-old niece crawling in my lap and wanting her hair brushed and styled with “big girl” hair clips. But those kinds of moments remind me why I try to protect our rights. Someday, she will be a big girl who should have the right to decide the best way to protect herself when she’s out on her own in this world.

In case you missed the previous posts, I’m writing a short series on the topic of contacting lawmakers over the next few days with specific ideas for various communities of gun owners to expand their reach. Whether you’re just some guy who owns guns and finds their “gun community” online, own a commercial gun range or shop, or are a member of a community gun club, I’m going to collect specific actionable, easy ideas for you to think about.

Today’s list is for individuals with a focus on reaching out through the media.

  • Don’t write off the media as completely against us and worthless for outreach. Many individual members of the national media aren’t good targets, but the local press is much more likely to be open to different opinions. In my holiday local news viewing opportunities, the often featured viewer comments via social media and email responses which showed support for the Second Amendment and opposition to new gun control measures.
  • If you live in an area with local weeklies or other small papers, turn to those as an outlet. When I did my Congressional internship, the Congressman’s primary office had a subscription to every single paper in the district – no matter how rinky dink the circulation. I can’t speak for every single Congressional office, but I suspect that this is pretty common. The offices generally want to keep up with what all district media are saying about them.
  • If you are writing to the local paper, try to include the name(s) of your targeted elected officials. As the only intern willing to work daily in the aforementioned office, I had the joyous task of reading every single paper and finding any and all references to the Congressman. It did not matter what the topic of the article/letter to the editor was about. If it was calling him to do something or mentioned his record on something, I had to cut out the article. This is likely still done for any offices that take smaller local papers that don’t publish all sections online.
  • If you submit a letter to the editor or comment to the local television/radio stations that doesn’t get published or aired after several days, then post it online. If you have a blog, post what you intended to say online and include a link to what inspired you to write. The staff of any officials named will pick it up in Google Alerts and see that you are contacting media outlets in his/her district, even if your letter or comment wasn’t published that day. If you don’t have a blog and have a particularly well-written letter to the editor that you have submitted that didn’t get published, then email it to your favorite gun or political blogger to see if they will post it. Make sure to include the media outlet you targeted, and any relevant links to original stories.
  • Email a copy of your letter to the editor directly to your lawmakers. If you want to go the direct route, just email the office of your representatives with a note that you thought they might like to see the letter to the editor you just submitted to the relevant district news outlet that mentioned them. Don’t do this every single week, but just a friendly and professional heads up since it is relevant to potential press coverage for their boss.
  • In any communication with the media, you’re more likely to be featured if you are clear and concise. With letters to the editor, they shouldn’t be any longer than 150 words. The shorter letters provide more flexibility as they lay the pages out for publication. Typically, a writer or commenter won’t be featured more than once every 30 days, so don’t bombard any outlet with constant letters or comments if they have recently published or shared something from you.
  • Use spellcheck. Ask a family member, friend, or even a fellow commenter on your favorite gun blog or forum to take a look at something before you submit it. It will help to keep you message. Don’t forget to include your name and city, as well as contact information so they can verify with you if they want to publish or feature your comments.
  • If you have a state or regional political news site or blog that covers your lawmakers, consider submitting a guest editorial to them on the specific policies being discussed. If you’re lacking inspiration, use gun blogs and forums as guides in writing a well-argued piece. Don’t plagiarize, but you can certainly use ideas and concepts for composing a serious post.

I do have more ideas for individual action than just the media, but I wanted to do a media-themed post since there will be so many opportunities to talk specific issues and specific lawmakers in the next month. It’s not a completely lost cause to use these outlets.

A thorough response to one of the bigger (now defunct) political blogs here in Pennsylvania got at least one journalist to stop falsely reporting that a Democrat was pro-gun. While I’m not encouraging that kind of response to every mainstream report, it shows that readers/viewers/listeners who speak out can remind the media that we’re going to keep them on their toes. More importantly, it amplifies your voice to lawmakers since they now know that you’re not only contacting them as a constituent, you’re out there talking to other voters.

14 Responses to “Specific Steps You Can Take to Oppose the Coming Obama/Biden Gun Controls”

  1. Fiftycal says:

    Here is a copy of a post I made to an article against arming teachers.

    Excuse me. I know some parents get hysterical when thinking their little darlings are within 1000 feet of a gun. God knows what the parents tell the little ones about cops with gunz. But let’s stick with a few facts. There are about 116000 schools in the U.S. There has been an average of 1 school shooting every 4 years. So spending $10 billion more tax dollars a year to prevent a statistically insignificant event is not in the cards.

    Now we saw how effective a teacher is when they confront an armed suspect without arms of their own. They die. Doesn’t do anybody much good. Would an armed teacher have guaranteed a better outcome? Who knows. You want a guarantee, buy a dishwasher. But they would have had a CHANCE.

    Burt one solution would be to allow concealed carry in schools. Take the ability to ban concealed carry away from Texas school districts because of the 1032 school districts, exactly ONE has let teachers with CHL’s carry at school. With zero problems of course. If a teacher wants to carry a handgun they can. There are small safes that can be attached to desks that open only with a fingerprint or digital code.

    And one thing the nervous nellies need to realize. There are more than 500,000 CHLs in Texas with the number rising every day. You are passing by them dozens if not hundreds of times a day. There are almost 10 times as many law-abiding citizens with concealed carry licenses than there are cops. And some of them are teachers. I know. I taught some of them in my concealed carry course. And CHL holders commit crimes about 1000 times less per capita than the members of Bloombergs “Mayors against illegal guns”.

    So, 1) it probably won’t happen in your kids school and 2) if it does, would you rather have “a good guy with a gun” or a teacher with an English Lit book?

    • Harold says:

      Note that “exactly one” Texas lets other people know they have teachers carrying concealed. Its suspected there are a few others who do it quietly.

      Your letter needs focus, and probably needs to be split up into 2 or more with each having a clear theme, which will also help with size; right now it’s more of a pudding, to quote Churchill I think.

  2. Eck! says:

    Several things.

    Chack seplling, point made I hope. [Burt ==but?]

    Avoid TLEs CHL, we know what that is but does the average person or editor? Why take a chance. Spell it out concealed
    handgun license. It also helps put emphasis on licensed.

    The primary limiter is the Gun-Free School Zones Act, GFSZA, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(q). This has been in effect for decades, (part of the 1968 gun control act and consolidated in 1990) and is provably useless and an enabler for criminals.

    Eck!

  3. Fiftycal says:

    Yah, my proofreading neeeds wrk. And the “gunfree school zone act is no hinderance to teacher carry.

    18 USC § 922 (q)(2) –

    (A) It shall be unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm that has moved in or that otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.

    (B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to the possession of a firearm—

    (i) on private property not part of school grounds;
    (ii) if the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located or a political subdivision of the State, and the law of the State or political subdivision requires that, before an individual obtains such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the State or political subdivision verify that the individual is qualified under law to receive the license;
    (iii) that is—
    (I) not loaded; and
    (II) in a locked container, or a locked firearms rack that is on a motor vehicle;
    (iv) by an individual for use in a program approved by a school in the school zone;
    (v) by an individual in accordance with a contract entered into between a school in the school zone and the individual or an employer of the individual;

    (vi) by a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity; or

    (vii) that is unloaded and is possessed by an individual while traversing school premises for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting, if the entry on school premises is authorized by school authorities.

  4. Andrew says:

    My letter to a paper in FL:

    In the early 1950s, anyone could buy a military semiautomatic carbine with a 20 or 30-round magazine and folding stock for under a hundred dollars directly from the government. Millions were sold and have been used safely by generations of Americans. Nine-millimeter pistols with 15-round magazines were widely available by the 1930s. Yet school shootings were completely unheard of until the 1970s and barely breached the public consciousness until 1999, five years into the Clinton-era “Assault Weapons” Ban. Obviously something changed over the course of sixty years, but it wasn’t the type of guns available to the public.
    Why, then, are all of the proposals put forward by the left to prevent school violence centered around taking away guns that are demonstrably not the cause of school violence?
    Contact Congressman Jeff Miller, Senator Marco Rubio, and Senator Bill Nelson to let them know you want their strong leadership in defeating gun ban schemes!

    • Andy B. says:

      My suggestion would be to avoid using partisan-charged words like “liberal,” “leftist,” “pinko,” etc., etc., etc.

      Those are motivators only for people already in our camp, and we’re not trying to persuade ourselves. Meanwhile, they immediately polarize people who are not completely our enemies, on the issues, yet self-categorize themselves in the “liberal” or “left” camp. If we are attacking them, they reason, then we and our issue must be their enemies, so they’ll hit back. At very least they won’t be won over.

      The bottom line is that name-calling, even when the names fit, accomplishes nothing. You may be hailed as a local hero down at the club, but you will not really have done anything for the battle.

      • Andy B. says:

        I should add that there is a place for writing to motivate our own people, but you need to be very clear about what your goal is when you sit down to communicate. In a “general audiences” forum, what motivates your own side, could anger the opposing side so much it motivates them to write to their legislators, or whatever.

        “Really telling THEM” is one of the strongest motivators for all of us, but usually accomplished the least in a political debate.

        • Andrew says:

          You’re probably right, and I did consider it, but my non-profanity vocabulary to describe gun grabbers failed me. Also, in that part of the state, there aren’t a whole lot of people who identify with the term “the left.” And both of those guys are jerks anyway.

          But…constructive comment noted and readied for future use. Thanks.

          • Andy B. says:

            I hope I didn’t sound too critical. I can do that when I’m lecturing myself about my own mistakes from the past.

            I am guided by my own reactions which are, that if I start reading something from either “left” or “right” perspective, and I run into pejorative terms being thrown around, I will often divert from reading it, dismissing it as just another rant and not something likely to contribute any worthwhile ideas.

  5. I am a legal gun owner who submitted to background checks, completed the appropriate training, and take gun ownership seriously. As law-abiding citizens we are expected to navigate the labyrinth of conflicting state laws regarding firearms and we do successfully everyday. Although many of these laws are conflicting between neighboring states, we still respect them and abide by them everyday. Let’s make it easy for everyone (including David Gregory) and develop a basic framework across the United States.

    With 300 million firearms in private hands (one-third of them pistols), the overwhelming majority of gun owners ARE responsible, law-abiding citizens, which is why these horrific massacres are not commonplace, but rather horrific outliers that can never be legislated away (e.g. DC, Chicago, and “Gun Free Zones”).

    For several examples for the recent use of firearms for defensive purposes not typically reported by the national media please visit: http://www.equalforce.net please forward this address to others to whom this information may be useful. @forceequalizer

    • Harold says:

      Erk. While throwing out the concept of “a common framework” might be a good short term diversionary political tactic, I doubt you’ll find much support from gun owners. I’ve lived for significant lengths of time in Massachusetts, Virginia and Missouri, with a small period in New Jersey, and only in the first and last states would that be good for me. Otherwise, any such compromise would almost certainly be vastly more restrictive for me now that I’m back in my home state of Missouri, where I only have to jump through the hoops you mentioned to get a CCW license.

      It sounds too much like the eternal cause of EU “tax harmonization”, which really means forcing up taxes in some nations so the really highly taxed countries are less uncompetitive. Except of course there’s no county in which guns are less regulated we could move to….

      WRT to your prose, I’d condense the 2nd and 3rd sentences, you’re saying the same thing twice. My favorite English teacher told me to think thrice every time I used the same word close together, it’s a good metric for closer examination.

  6. ecurb says:

    Getting actual people to read it and check that it makes sense is pretty invaluable. Especially someone who isn’t part of the same group mind.
    As for relying on spellcheck… “Yule live to regret this”, while seasonally appropriate and free of spelling mistakes, is not a particularly compelling argument.

    Thanks for the tips. I’ll be doing some of this in the next week.

  7. Ed says:

    WARNING: LONG AND HAS DATA

    In assorted commentaries I’ve been doing a lot of number crunching. Gun control advocates want to throw numbers around and claim they support gun control, we of course respond with other numbers, nobody believes the other person’s numbers and they proceed to shoot them down.

    I have one I did that I think is simple enough for most people to get, but I don’t have a good way to present it or include the graph.

    What I’d like to submit would be something like:

    In the debate about gun control there are a lot of numbers and statistics talked about. Crime rates, murder rates, different states, different countries, different years. There are a lot of regulations proposed, bans, magazine limits, background checks, tests, training.

    In an effort to get something that doesn’t require advanced mathematics to understand, I wanted to compare the amount of gun control in each US state with the murder rate in that state.

    Crime data for each state is collected and published by the FBI and murder rates for each state in 2011 are available at: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-4.

    Measuring the overall gun laws of a state would be difficult for one person, but The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ranks each state on the basis of their gun control laws. Those rankings are available at: http://www.bradycampaign.org/xshare/stateleg/scorecard/2011/2011_Brady_Campaign_State_Scorecard_Rankings.pdf

    By comparing a state’s gun control rank and their murder rate we should be able to see more gun control leading to less murder. The result is below (from best Brady Rank to worst):

    State Brady Rank Murder Rate (per 100,000)
    California 1 4.8
    New Jersey 2 4.3
    Massachusetts 3 2.8
    New York 4 4
    Connecticut 5 3.6
    Hawaii 6 1.2
    Maryland 7 6.8
    Rhode Island 8 1.3
    Illinois 9 5.6
    Pennsylvania 10 5
    Michigan 11 6.2
    North Carolina 12 5.3
    Colorado 15 2.9
    Oregon 15 2.1
    Washington 15 2.4
    Alabama 17 6.3
    Minnesota 17 1.4
    Delaware 18 4.5
    Virginia 19 3.7
    Georgia 22 5.6
    South Carolina 22 6.8
    Tennessee 22 5.8
    Iowa 25 1.5
    Maine 25 2
    Ohio 25 4.4
    New Hampshire 27 1.3
    Vermont 27 1.3
    Nebraska 29 3.6
    Nevada 29 5.2
    Arkansas 39 5.5
    Indiana 39 4.8
    Kansas 39 3.8
    Mississippi 39 8
    Missouri 39 6.1
    New Mexico 39 7.5
    South Dakota 39 2.5
    Texas 39 4.4
    West Virginia 39 4.3
    Wyoming 39 3.2
    Florida 41 5.2
    Wisconsin 41 2.4
    Idaho 47 2.3
    Kentucky 47 3.5
    Louisiana 47 11.2
    Montana 47 2.8
    North Dakota 47 3.5
    Oklahoma 47 5.5
    Alaska 50 4
    Arizona 50 6.2
    Utah 50 1.9

    Even just comparing the 10 states tied at 39th by Brady Rank the murder rates vary quite a lot.

    We can also see that California, rated best for gun control, has a murder rate of 4.8, more than double of worst rated Utah’s 1.9.

    If gun control works, it should save lives and reduce crime. If anyone can reliably evaluate a state’s gun control, The Brady Campaign should be able to. If anyone can provide useful murder rates, the FBI should be able to. Using what should be reliable numbers, a state’s gun control doesn’t seem to have any effect on murder rate.

    If it doesn’t reduce murder, should we be seriously considering gun control?

    I thank you for taking the time to read this and consider the numbers. I hope this helps you make a decision on gun control.

    Ed

    ******
    I seriously want to get that down to something like one paragraph, really, really short. I’m bad at short, I’m a lawyer.

    I really like that this is data anyone can get. The comparison is one pretty well anyone can do, and definitely anyone could go verify my numbers very easily.

    I also did one with a Murder Rank (1 being least murder, 50 being most) and that looks like (in order of lowest murder rate or rank to highest):
    *****
    [below would be an alternative to chart and such above]
    State Brady Rank Murder Rank
    Hawaii 6 1
    Rhode Island 8 4
    New Hampshire 27 4
    Vermont 27 4
    Minnesota 17 5
    Iowa 25 6
    Utah 50 7
    Maine 25 8
    Oregon 15 9
    Idaho 47 10
    Washington 15 12
    Wisconsin 41 12
    South Dakota 39 13
    Massachusetts 3 15
    Montana 47 15
    Colorado 15 16
    Wyoming 39 17
    Kentucky 47 19
    North Dakota 47 19
    Connecticut 5 21
    Nebraska 29 21
    Virginia 19 22
    Kansas 39 23
    New York 4 25
    Alaska 50 25
    New Jersey 2 27
    West Virginia 39 27
    Ohio 25 29
    Texas 39 29
    Delaware 18 30
    California 1 32
    Indiana 39 32
    Pennsylvania 10 33
    Nevada 29 35
    Florida 41 35
    North Carolina 12 36
    Arkansas 39 38
    Oklahoma 47 38
    Illinois 9 40
    Georgia 22 40
    Tennessee 22 41
    Missouri 39 42
    Michigan 11 44
    Arizona 50 44
    Alabama 17 45
    Maryland 7 47
    South Carolina 22 47
    New Mexico 39 48
    Mississippi 39 49
    Louisiana 47 50

    If gun control works, better gun control should mean less murder. In that case, the Brady Rank and the Murder rank should be similar. Number one Brady state California is 32nd for murder rate. Dead last Brady state Utah is seventh best in the nation for murder rate. The two just don’t match up.

    I don’t know if gun control has worked for other countries or other times, but I think comparing gun control ranks and murder rates shows gun control doesn’t work now, here, and doesn’t save US lives.
    ****
    Somebody help make that useful, please?

    • Ed says:

      Stinking formatting messed up my nice table…you can likely still paste it as space delimited data into spreadsheet program of your choice.

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