I feel like we always assume that people know “what to do” to act when big gun control is coming down on law-abiding gun owners. It’s often summed up as “call your lawmaker.” But, the fact is that the process of opposing these things probably should be spelled out a little more.
I’m going to do a short series of posts on this topic over the next few days with specific ideas for various communities of gun owners. Whether you’re just some gal 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 gun shops and commercial gun ranges.
- Every person who comes in the store or range will, at some point, provide you with an address. Look that address up and immediately had that person a business card or sheet of paper with the following information: Their two Senators, their Congressman, and the state’s Governor’s office. Your customer base likely only comes from a couple of Congressional districts, so make the effort to get that local.
- If you have room, set up a table with paper, pens, and envelopes – pre-addressed if you really want to make it easy. If there’s a wait, strongly encourage people to sit down and write 3-4 letters – one to their Congressman, their Senators, and (if relevant for state concerns) the Governor. Put out sample language and talking points taped to the table to get them started. Put up a collection box for the completed letters, and eat the cost of a stamp to mail them all. This way you know they make it to the lawmakers. If you don’t want to worry about stamps and envelopes, put your fax machine to use and fax them in throughout the day. Just make sure people include their mailing address in the letters if you choose this option.
- Offer a discount or freebie of something to people who prove their participation in the issue. Maybe they complete the above letters and get a coupon for $5 off of their next purchase, or even get a gift card to Starbucks if you’re concerned about the process of issuing coupons. Perhaps they get a free range session on their next visit, or can upgrade to a more expensive-to-rent gun. You could also tell people that if they have already sent letters, they can bring in the response from their lawmakers to show and get the discount or coupon.
- If you already have some kind of points/frequent renter club, give extra points to those who participate in the letter-writing campaign. If you do this, don’t make the reward very small. Make it worth their while. Make the statement that you value their participation in the defense of our rights at a big dollar amount. It could be the same as spending $25 in range fees or something equally big. Don’t give them a credit that’s equal to like 50 cents of spending. That shows that you don’t value participation at all. (If you don’t currently have any kind of points/rewards club, the perceived dollar value of anything else you give them doesn’t matter quite as much since it’s a new perk, not one comparable to other perks.)
- Set up a pay-as-you-go cell phone (choose the option to pay per day used, not by minute) and put it at the counter with the phone number to all area lawmakers – federal and state – with a couple of sample scripts. Tell customers to give the offices a call right there.
- Post a petition-type letter that opens with something “we the undersigned members of the InsertLocationHere lawful gun owning community” and make a letter that’s pretty focused on the gun issue. Then, leave lots of spaces and pages for people to sign their names and include at least their cities or zip codes. Collect signatures until you fill a sheet (or more sheets) and then mail it in to all of the regional lawmakers.
The point in these suggestions is that you need to translate to your customers that they will lose their rights if they don’t stand up, and that you VALUE their participation in defending gun rights. It’s not just a mumbled “good job” or pat on the back.
For some, these suggestions may be a bit late for the rush. But, if you have a mailing list of customers, let them know if you set something like this up. It encourages them to come back, even if you don’t have the rifle or ammunition they want in stock. Getting feet back in the doors is ultimately good for business.