June 10, 2011, 12:36 PM
I'm interested in trying to garner support in my state for some changes to our CC laws. "Constitutional Carry" would be the ultimate goal, but it would be nice to see some changes in where we can carry (restaurants that serve alcohol, church, etc).
What is my best course of action? I've contemplated emailing representatives in my area first to see who might support and bring such legaslation to the next session. Has anyone else done this? Advice?
June 10, 2011, 01:11 PM
Several of us in Nevada did what you want to do.
It's working for us. Here is my exerience.
Do your background education and research
First get yourself completely educated on the subject and its legislative history in your state. You aren't the first to try, you need to find out who tried before, where they succeeded, and where they failed. Wherever they failed, don't do that again. People will point out past failures constantly, be prepared to avoid the appearance of going down that path again.
Identify 'experts' in the field, preferably those who have written legislation before. Maybe you know a lot, but you aren't a recognized 'expert'. Get one.
Sometimes it is helpful to contact the state Attorney General's office, the State Historian, the Legislative Historian, and/or Legislative Counsel. Find out what they know.
Contacting state representatives
Each representative gets a gazillion emails per day. Staff often reply with a stock response if they reply at all, that's the best they can do. Or sometimes they simply add your address to the mailing list for monthly email messages telling you the wonderful things the rep has done for you.
Same is true for voice mail. You can try email and voice mail if you wish, just be prepared to try other means as well.
If your state has a web site where you can post suggestions for new legislation, or comment on existing legislation, that seems to hit home more reliably among legislators.
In many states, new legislation may be proposed by persons other than legislators. Interest groups, government agencies, citizen groups can write proposed legislation, but it requires that you actually write the proposed legislation. You need someone on your team accustomed to writing laws that have a chance.
My favorite way to contact a representative
Each representative has a personal assistant, often a spouse or sibling or adult child. Call the local office of your representative and get that person's name. Contact the personal assistant, explain that you're a voter (you are registered to vote, aren't you?) and you are interested in specific changes or additions to the law. Start a dialogue outlining the exact changes you want to see (and why). Reasons like public safety, public policy, cost savings or no impact to cost, and streamlining regulation are great examples. Spouting out the Constitution rarely helps, they hear that a gazillion times a day. Whatever reason(s) you select, make sure you can answer exactly why, because they will ask.
When you talk to a representative or his/her assistant, you want to find out if they will support your ideas. If not, MOVE ON. It's the dead horse you don't wanna flog. You will eventually find those in legislature who believe as you do, and it won't matter if you live in that rep's voting district.
Keep doing that until you identify a group of legislators who will support you. Find out which one is willing to have his/her staff write legislation. Get staff together with the 'experts' you already identified through your research. Be fully willing to help, but since you aren't an expert you must be prepared to stand aside. Don't be a pain in the butt.
That's what I think. I hope you get other advice, too.
Best of luck to you, and let us know how it goes.
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