How to break the ice: Q&A suggestions please.


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CPerdue
August 5, 2008, 08:38 AM
Hi all,

I've been working the VCDL recruitment table from time to time at Salem and Roanoke, Va. gun shows. For anyone who doesn't know, the VCDL is a grass roots civil rights organizations focusing on our right to self defense.

We've been discussing ways to 'break the ice' with the public. Lots of people will stop 10' away, take us for the kooks we probably are :rolleyes:, and move on without speaking.

One thing we want to try to get people to approach is to put up a Q&A board displaying engaging questions. You have to ask us for the answer, which comes with an introduction and a pitch.

So, I'm asking you dear reader for suggestions, with citations please. Obviously we are not giving legal advice, we have to be careful to refer folks to professionals.

An example:
Q) Can you take your gun to Virginia Tech when you go to visit Jr.?
A) There is no law against it. There is a policy against it which does not apply to you unless you work for the school or are a student. Entering dorms, classrooms, or attending athletic events is a gray area that has not been tested in court. Smart money is probably on conceal in these cases.
Citation) Va. AG's opinion #05-078.

Q) I've got the machine gun Grandpappy brought home from the war. Is that legal?
A) Probably if you are not a felon. Go talk to a dealer and they will help you get it properly registered.
Citation) ???

Thanks for the help,

C.

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ZeSpectre
August 5, 2008, 09:01 AM
Having worked a few VCDL tables I've found that there are a few important things that work.

1) Attire. Think upscale casual. Working a VCDL table is NOT the time to wear camo and old beat up boots. Rather go for the decent shoes, nice jeans and a VCDL polo shirt. This "upscale casual" look applies to your carry piece as well. It's NOT the time to be wearing the full in-your-face "uber-tacticool" low slung "hey I'm an operator" gun rig.

2) Present a clean and neat appearance. If you look like a kook...

3) Get out from behind the table and greet folks.

One day we ran an informal "do you know your gun rights" gameshow kind of thing with stickers for prizes. It was a very public way to demonstrate just how many laws/rules the VCDL has had an impact on.

I think we signed up more people that day than any other show I have attended.

btg3
August 5, 2008, 10:05 AM
Excellent tips by ZeSpectre. Also consider:

4) Put something in their hand. A pamphlet or key chain or any token. It is always nice to be favored with a gift no matter how small and it serves to further engage them.

CPerdue
August 5, 2008, 02:11 PM
Thanks guys, keep it coming please. Much of this came up in our planning meeting. We have to be presentable and open, and we have to overcome limitations on space and how we set up. For example, we would love to put the table at the back of the space and stand in front engaging people - this may not be allowed.

ZeSpectre, do you have the materials for the game? The questions you used may be in line with what I'm thinking.

I'm trying to elicit interest while overcoming fear of looking ignorant and/or putting up with a hard-sell from a kook.

Thanks again,

C.

ilbob
August 5, 2008, 02:23 PM
Q) I've got the machine gun Grandpappy brought home from the war. Is that legal?
A) Probably if you are not a felon. Go talk to a dealer and they will help you get it properly registered.
Citation) ???
Maybe legal if gramps paid the tax.

Titus
August 5, 2008, 03:05 PM
This may not be the appropriate place, but how about getting some more t-shirts made for sale?

Seancass
August 5, 2008, 04:22 PM
one word: Freebies! and carry or pro-gun related t-shirts for cheap would be great too. food is nice. raffle something off, like a free box of ammo or a choice of holsters or similar for just a mailing address, then you can send them more stuff. along with ZeSpectre's game you could give away t-shirts.

Librarian
August 5, 2008, 05:23 PM
Ear plugs with VCDL logo (or something) on the case. They go like crazy at music concerts when radio stations hand them out. Google retrieves dozens of links for "promotional ear plugs".

The freebies are just to draw them closer and get them to talk - most of the supply needs to be behind you or otherwise out of reach, so they can't just grab and run.

6_gunner
August 5, 2008, 08:47 PM
I think the concept of presenting gun rights and self-defence rights as a civil rights issue is a great idea in itself. I've always seen it that way. However, a lot of people who are otherwise supportive of civil rights are still anti-gun. You might find people more receptive to your message if you present it in those terms.

The Q&A is a very good idea. However, I don't know about this part:
A) Probably if you are not a felon. Go talk to a dealer and they will help you get it properly registered.
Citation) ???

Since the NFA registry is closed, I don't think there's any way to register a previously unregistered machine gun. If gramps had it registered, then it could probably be legally transferred to the current owner. That might be a good thing to include in the Q&A. Unfortunately, I don't have a citation, either.

Another good one for the Q&A would be to clearly define the difference between fully auto and semi-auto. Another would be the definition of an assault rifle (carbine capable of fully automatic fire) as opposed to an "assault weapon" (anything scary-looking). You should explain that the term "assault weapon" is an arbitrary catch-all term created by anti-gunners, and not a real class of firearms. A frighteningly large number of people fail to understand that.
Another good thing to address would be the process of obtaining a handgun permit in your state.

And, of course, present yourself in a professional manner and be friendly and approachable.

Keep up the good work. I wish you the best of luck.

CPerdue
August 5, 2008, 09:38 PM
RE: machine gun, I thought there was an exception for war trophies. I'm still looking for the citation.

"What is an assault weapon", good one.

How about, "Is there a loophole here at this gun show?"

C

ZeSpectre
August 5, 2008, 11:17 PM
ZeSpectre, do you have the materials for the game? The questions you used may be in line with what I'm thinking.

We sort of invented the quiz questions on the spot. Just look on the VCDL page under "accomplishments" and go from there.

CPerdue
August 10, 2008, 05:34 PM
bump.

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