Calling a Congressman/woman questions.


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XxWINxX94
February 3, 2011, 06:05 PM
Hello everyone,
I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I have a few specific questions I seek advice for.

I would like to contact my Senators about the H.R. 308 bill* limiting magazine capacity.

My questions:
1) I have the # of my congressman, do I just call and talk to him directly? Or am I taken through numerous people and talk to a representitive of this person?

2) This is my 1st time calling, is there anything I should know about it, what to say/what not to say, or when to call/when not to call, etc?

3) If somebody could give me an example of what happened when you called, that would help me out alot. There is info online, but nothing that is specific.

*I know this bill will probably not pass, I would just like to call for the sake of calling/voicing my opinion.

Thanks!
~Al~

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kingpin008
February 3, 2011, 06:29 PM
1) Usually, it will be an aide or secretary, sometimes a voicemail message. People have gotten directly through to representatives, but I wouldn't count on it.

2) Keep it brief and polite. Let them know why you're calling, identify the bill you're calling about, and express your strong opposition. Thank them for their time and consideration, and say goodbye. Your thoughts will be passed on to the representative.

3) I called a bunch of folks awhile back in regards to a proposed AWB bill here in MD. When I called, I got a live person two out of three times, and did exactly what I mentioned above. Identify myself as a constituent, give the reason for my call, and gave my opinion of it. Thanked them for their time, and hung up. Same with voicemail. There's really nothing to it. :)

mes227
February 3, 2011, 06:39 PM
Good advise, KingPin. I'd add to your clear statement of opposition a brief reason why. For example, "even with limited experience anyone can change a Glock mag in under 2 seconds so capacity irrelevant" or "The Arizona shootings constituted less than 0.1% of the American homicides in the past 12 months and it's unreasonable for public policy to be made this way."

kingpin008
February 3, 2011, 07:16 PM
Mes227 - Thanks. In regards to adding a reason why, normally I'd say go for it, but the chances that it'll make a difference when calling is pretty slim. The people answering the phones are generally not going to care, or remember to pass it along.

The place to mention all that stuff is in letters. Letters do get read, and even if they're just skimmed, that info is still taken in. Phone calls are best kept brief and to-the-point, IMHO.

TexasRifleman
February 3, 2011, 07:28 PM
Since that piece of legislation is not out of committee you won't likely get much response.

Most legislators will not really respond to legislation that doesn't exist, and for practical purposes a piece stuck in committee with hardly any sponsors "doesn't exist".

So basically you will be one check mark in the "pro gun" scorecard. That's not a bad thing at all of course but just understand that whoever you talk to on the phone likely won't know about this legislation unless your rep. is on the committee.

And of course you might want to make sure your rep. isn't one of the co-sponsors :)

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-308

nalioth
February 3, 2011, 08:00 PM
And of course you might want to make sure your rep. isn't one of the co-sponsorsLet'em know anyway.

If a politician thinks 51% of their constituency doesn't like they way they're rolling, they'll flip-flop faster than a fresh-caught fish.

TexasRifleman
February 3, 2011, 08:04 PM
Let'em know anyway.

Absolutely, just nice to know who you are dealing with when you call :)

Don't give an inch, you are completely right!

gloucestergarand
February 3, 2011, 08:44 PM
Down here in Virginia's First District, we just invite our Rep. Wittman to an Open Carry dinner in Yorktown...not only does he come and enjoy a meal with us, but so does our very supportive County Sheriff!

A tip I learned having lived in Alaska is that our Senators and our Rep. were busier than bees...but if you wanted to interdict their focus and decision cycle, get friendly with the staffers at their local offices. When you have a problem or issue, don't waste time with an email or call...send a nice letter to the local office...that way they get the credit for pushing the issue up internally, and you get a name (and face) to the local point of contact that can help you...in my case I was able to get Senator Ted Stevens (RIP) personal assistance in overturning ATF and State Dept objections regarding importing an "instrument of war"...a M1 Garand, from Germany. Be patient, be polite and be firm...kindness gets more results than loud demands!

kingpin008
February 3, 2011, 09:17 PM
kindness gets more results than loud demands!

This bears repeating.

Most anti-gun (or even neutral) politicians have a picture in their minds of the pro-gun crowd, and it isn't a good one. For many, the picture is of an ignorant, blustering fool with a big scary machinegun, screaming "COME 'N TAKE 'EM!" while stomping around in a Nascar t-shirt.

Being calm and polite and not riding up on a high horse when we contact them goes a LONG way towards breaking this stereotype, and opening the lines of communication. It's tough to maintain sometimes, in the face of the "enemy" as it were, but it's absolutely necessary and very, very worth it.

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