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Contacting Congresscritters

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Art Eatman, Dec 25, 2012.

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  1. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    I stand corrected about my ideas concerning snail mail to Congresscritters, courtesy this link from Tamara's blog:



    * The "boss" will almost never read your letter directly unless they know you personally. But he/she will likely ask their LC's if they've been getting any mail on certain issues. My boss used to ask if we did almost daily whenever there was a hot issue being discussed on the Hill, and would want to know what percentage of it was for or against the issue. Believe me, if a majority of the letters they are receiving are against gun control legislation, they will hear about it.

    * Don't send form letters. Form letters are letters that special interest groups will send in on your behalf. You'll usually get them in an email and all you have to do is type in your name and hit 'send.' They all look identical, and the staff knows that you put absolutely zero thought into the issue, and therefore will assume that you probably don't give that big of a ****. When the boss asks if he's getting any mail on a certain issue, he often asks how much of it is form letters, and how much of it is real letters. Real letters (while rarely read by the member of Congress) are still a lot more powerful in the grand scheme of things.

    * Don't use snail mail. Everything that gets sent into Capitol Hill has to go through the Capitol Police and is scanned for bombs and anthrax. It usually takes weeks for it to get to its destination, and more often than not, the issue is long over by the time it gets there.

    * Be professional, but make your concerns heard.

    * Keep it short and sweet. They don't need your life story. A few sentences will do just fine. Let him know you care enough to write your own letter, but keep it short enough to not bore him to death.

    THR folks who go to other boards might do well to inform moderators about this method of contact; spread the word.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  2. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

    May 2, 2012
    The Texas Hill Country
    I like the word Congresscritters. I just saved it into my suggestive spell checker's memory and will be using it! Thanks, Mr Eatman!
  3. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

    Jun 14, 2008
    SouthEastern FL
    One point that should be taken, though: You'll stand a better chance of having your correspondence responded to in a positive manner if you don't address it to "Congresscritter."
  4. ccsniper

    ccsniper member

    Jul 5, 2008
    midwest Arkansas
    But it does make for a good way to get flagged!
  5. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    I used the NRA 'form' when sending my letters to my politicians but it didn't have a pre-saved letter, I wrote it all my self. It just asked to answer a few extra questions to make them more likely to respond; are you a registered voter? did you vote last election? etc.
  6. smalls

    smalls Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Macomb County, MI
    A thought of someone writing a letter reading : "Dear Congresscritter Joe, ..." Just went through my head and I almost spit pop out. I like that, too :D
  7. Tim the student

    Tim the student Member

    Feb 1, 2009
    I'd also like to add that apparently on hot issues, the interns/staffers simply make a record of the gist of what people send in. (Pro/anti whatever issue is at hand.)

    So email multiple times, call multiple times, and if you want - write multiple times. I can't imagine this will be a super quick thing, so maybe it would be a good thing for them to receive a postcard every couple days from everyone on THR, TFL, and ARFcom. :neener:
  8. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

    Sep 21, 2007
    Californicated Colorado
    And please don't copy/paste the talking points or sentences you see that someone here put together. It begins as an original thought but then becomes a form letter/email and is disregarded. If you see something that hits the nail on the head, write it a few different ways in your own words to see how it should come from you alone.
  9. Silent Bob

    Silent Bob Member

    Apr 2, 2003
    I've been busy today, e-mailing both my state senators, my rep., and even a senator of my former state of residence (Coburn, OK, who will be instrumental in the gun control fights coming). Granted, every one of the congressmen I e-mailed today has at least an A rating from the NRA (I am in Texas), but I am doing what I can, for now.

    Still shaking my head how one week we get Illinois' concealed carry ban ruled unconstitutional to less then a month later Democrats are pushing forward what is effectively a semi-automatic firearm, not just assault weapon, ban. May you live in interesting times, indeed.
  10. Bullz

    Bullz Member

    Jan 20, 2012
    I've been writing to my Ohio reps. I'll keep sending emails. I'm surprised that email is effective compared to conventional mail... but I'm going to trust you guys.
  11. maniak

    maniak Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    what I sent my delegation

    While I agree with CoRoMo that it is better not to simply "copy/paste the talking points or sentences you see that someone here put together," we should keep in mind that most of us that most us will be writing to different congressional delegations; so there probably won't be all that much overlap from one correspondent to the next.

    Plus, sometimes it helps to have a place to start.

    What follows is what I sent all three members of my congressional delegation this past weekend.

    And to paraphrase Barry Goldwater, "Plagiarism in defense of liberty is no vice."

    This is way too long, so I encourage everyone to shorten it or borrow from it as they see fit. (Providing still another randomizing effect.) Plus the staffers can decide for themselves when they want to quit reading, to the extent that they're just tallying yays and nays, and some may be distinguishing between those who took the time to go long and those who did not.

    So, anyway, here goes:

    Dear Senator/Representative,

    I write to urge you to vote "no" on the recently introduced "Assault Weapons Ban of 2013" should it come to a vote in any committee on which you sit or on the floor of your house in the U.S. legislature.

    I do not take this stance lightly. I, too, am appalled by the recent mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; Oak Creek, Wisconsin; Tucson, Arizona and elsewhere; as well as the much more common individual shootings that have recently drawn the nation's attention in Chicago. And I, too, would like to see us "do something" to reduce the loss of innocent lives. But that "something" needs to be something that will work.

    After carefully reading the proposed "Assault Weapons Ban of 2013," I am convinced that this bill is not that something.

    The Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was similar to the current proposal in that it banned certain semi-automatic weapons based on their possession of any two of a set of named characteristics.

    It also required that the attorney general deliver to Congress a report evaluating its effects within 30 months of the ban. The National Institute of Justice within the Department of Justice issued that report ("Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban: 1994-96") in March 1999.

    "sing a variety of national and local data sources," the DoJ study "found no clear ban effects on certain types of murders that were thought to be more closely associated with the rapid-fire features of assault weapons and other semiautomatics equipped with large capacity magazines. The ban did not produce declines in the average number of victims per incident of gun murder or gun murder victims with multiple wounds."

    Overall murder rates did, indeed, decline over the period the study covered (as they continued to decline through the remainder of the time in which that ban was in effect, and as they have continued to decline since that ban expired), but the authors were unable to attribute that decline to the ban, noting, "Although it is highly improbable that the assault weapons ban produced an effect this large, the ban could have reduced murders by an amount that would escape statistical detection."

    The authors suggested that any positive effect of the ban may have "escape[d] statistical detection" because: "studies before the ban generally found that between less than 1 and 8 percent of gun crimes involved assault weapons, depending on the specific definition and data source used. Although limited evidence suggests that semiautomatics equipped with large capacity magazines are used in 20 to 25 percent of these gun crimes, it is not clear how often large capacity magazines actually turn a gun attack into a gun murder. Second, offenders could replace the banned guns with legal substitutes or other unbanned semiautomatic weapons to commit their crimes."

    The authors also noted that the timeframe from which they were able to draw statistics (two years) may have made it more difficult to discern any positive effect of the ban, but a more recent study conducted for DoJ at the University of Pennsylvania, released as the ban expired in 2004, was able to look at nine years of collected data. That report ("An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003") found even less cause for believing such a ban would work:

    "Although the ban has been successful in reducing crimes with [Assault Weapons], any benefits from this reduction are likely to have been outweighed by steady or rising use of non-banned semiautomatics with [Large-Capacity Magazines], which are used in crime much more frequently than [Assault Weapons]. Therefore, we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury, as we might have expected had the ban reduced crimes with both [Assault Weapons] and [Large-Capacity Magazines]."

    Although the newly proposed ban expands the definition of "assault weapon" to include even one of a now longer list of "military" characteristics there is no reason to expect that would improve this ban's performance or the outcome.

    Neither study suggested that the so-called "military" features listed in that ban or the recently proposed one had any bearing on the lethality or number of injuries resulting from gun violence. Looking at the list, it is difficult to imagine what the connection would be:
    * pistol grip (listed in both)
    * forward grip (new to the 2013 bill)
    * folding, telescoping, or detachable stock (listed in both)
    * grenade launcher or rocket launcher (listed in both)
    * barrel shroud (new to the 2013 bill)
    * threaded barrel (listed in both)

    I do not have a problem with banning grenade and rocket launchers, but neither do I see that there is much opportunity for reducing the number of crimes committed each year with either.

    I would rather see our political capital invested in passage of a bill requiring universal background checks for the purchase of all firearms, with or without grenade launchers. Let us not waste it on "doing something" that accomplishes nothing.

    Should you want to read either of these reports in its entirety, they can be found via the addresses provided below. I recommend them:

    Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban: 1994-96
    ( https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/173405.pdf )

    An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003
    ( http://www.sas.upenn.edu/jerrylee/research/aw_final2004.pdf )

  12. maniak

    maniak Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    appeal to democrats

    those of you who can write to democratic legislators, and especially those who can honestly identify yourselves as democrats, it is especially important that you write to those legislators to let them know that you are a vote that they cannot afford to lose
  13. Jesse Wales

    Jesse Wales member

    Sep 25, 2010
    Colorado USA
    use ur 1st amendment rights

    I agree:
    and yet ive sent out emails to all the lawmakers Democrat and
    as a concerned citizen, im not affiliated with either of them , im starting to agree with
    Michael Savage that we do now need and we allways have needed a three party system
    a sort of watchdog society, in which two keep an eye on the other and thriceaversa stop the corruption , we havent had a three party system since FDR,, im not trying to plug this but, I am agreeing and starting to look into his message that we need a
    Nationalist party made up of the people who think,like me
    who work, pay taxes, abide by the boundries weve set for selves , and exercise our rights , most importantly our right to vote , the tea party just couldnt cut it ,
    I would ask u to do this tho :
    go to the Ruger home page and click ( take action now)
    enter some minor info Name, web addy, zip .. it will send a letter to all ur lawmakers from the Prez all the way down to ur local lawmakers , and ask them to preserve your secondment rights on your behalf ...
    Ive checked all the major mfg's and Ruger is the only one doing this ,
    then tell all the guys u know whether they vote or not , spread the word
  14. V-fib

    V-fib Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    email & snail mail to congresscritters

    If you join GOA Gun Owners of America ( and joining is any amount you want not a set fee like NRA) you get tons of email alerts with pre written letters you can email through GOA on issues, votes pending on bills in both senate and house and other issues. these emails are then sent to your states senators and congressman. you can add to the prewritten letters and personalize them. they also send you stuff in the mail and frequently enclose postcards that are pre addressed to your senators and congressman. Many times votes have been swayed because of the massive amount of emails and postcards from GOA members.

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