gun laws

How To Effectively Communicating With Your Lawmakers

gunlaws | House | Politic

As a voting constituent, you have a tremendous ability to influence the outcome of legislation. Ask any elected official which individual`s concerns are most important to him, and chances are they all will deliver the same response: his constituents`. All politicians are keenly aware of the fact that it is their constituents who hold the keys to their political futures. Therefore, constituent concerns are of the utmost concern to politicians. The best way you can affect the outcome of legislation is to directly communicate your views to your lawmakers.

REMEMBER: Your lawmakers work for you!

 

WRITING EFFECTIVE LETTERS

One of the most often-utilized methods of communicating with your lawmakers is by writing a letter. As a voting constituent, a letter is an easy way for you to let lawmakers know your views on specific issues, encourage them to vote your way, and let them know you`ll watch how they vote on particular issues and keep those votes in mind on Election Day!

Personally-written letters allow you an opportunity to present your position to your lawmakers without interruption. With that in mind, you`ll want to keep the letter short and to the point, with just enough facts and figures to further enhance your statement. Never lie or make a statement you can`t back up with evidence. Always let your lawmakers know how a specific issue will affect you personally, and make sure he understands that you live and vote in his district or state, and therefore, what affects you may affect your fellow constituents as well. If you own or operate a business, use your company letterhead. If you`re a member of the PTA or other civic group, don`t hesitate to mention that. Taking these steps will enhance your message and ensure your concerns are taken seriously.

  1. How To Address Your Representative. Address your letters to “The Honorable _______,” and begin the letter “Dear Senator” or “Dear Representative.” If writing to a Committee Chairman or Speaker of the House, address him as “Mr. Chairman” or “Mr. Speaker.” (You may obtain your lawmakers` addresses by clicking here https://www.senate.gov/senators/index.htm
  2. Be Brief, Specific, & Always Be Courteous! Letters shouldn`t exceed one page, and the purpose of your letter should be stated clearly in the first paragraph. If your letter pertains to specific legislation, identify it accordingly (use the bill number, if known, and the title of the bill and/or a brief description). To make sure your letter is as productive as possible, always be courteous, even if you disagree with your representative`s position! Never threaten or use abusive language. This only hurts your cause.
  3. Ask Them To Write Back. Always ask for a response to your letter. You`ll want a hard copy of your legislator`s positions on these issues for future reference and to document their positions.

 

E-MAIL

E-mail is becoming a more popular way to communicate your views to your lawmaker. While not every lawmaker can receive e-mail messages, most are able  and more and more elected officials are utilizing it. Tips for transmitting an effective e-mail message are similar to writing a letter, though this format is usually less formal and allows you to be a bit more brief in your message. A major advantage of e-mail versus a personally-written letter is the speed in which your message will be received. Be prepared for some lawmakers to “respond” to your e-mail message with a canned reflector message that may not specifically address your concern. Whether you receive a specific response to your message or not, be sure that you request your lawmaker`s position in writing so you can document his position easily.

 

ATTEND TOWN HALL MEETINGS

Lawmakers often host town hall meetings in their districts — especially during congressional district work breaks — to tout their achievements and solicit feedback from their constituents. Such meetings are a prime opportunity for you to ask your lawmakers to state their position on firearm-related issues for the record, in an open and public forum. The following guidelines should be helpful when planning to attend town hall meetings.

  1. Get On The Invite List And Attend The Meetings. Write your lawmakers and ask to be put on the invitation list for the lawmaker`s town hall meetings. If they do not have such a list, ask for information on the next meeting. When you receive word that a town hall meeting is scheduled, be sure to make plans to attend, and share this information
  2. Prepare Questions Ahead Of Time. Have specific questions in mind, such as asking for your legislator`s position on a specific bill or issue, e.g., Right-To-Carry, a ban on gun shows, lawsuit preemption, H.R. 123, or S. 456.
  3. Get An Answer. Ask your question clearly, and as simply as possible, e.g., “Do you support Right To Carry/ Do you oppose gun bans?” If your legislator doesn`t answer your question sufficiently, politely repeat the question.
  4. Follow-Up With a Letter. Whether you had the opportunity to ask your question or not, follow up with a letter to your lawmaker. Let him know you attended his last town meeting. Ask your question in your letter if you didn`t have an opportunity to do so at the meeting, or address his response to any firearm-related questions other constituents may have asked. This letter will ensure your lawmakers take you and your views seriously, and will allow you to obtain a written response addressing your concerns

 

House Dems propose bills to stop online ammo sales, ban mags

House | News | Politic

House Democrats have introduced a number of new gun control measures in the wake of a deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Among the proposals are HR.3962 to ban online ammunition sales, H.R. 4025 requiring gun dealers to report the sale of two or more rifles to the same person in a five-day period, and HR. 4052, which would ban magazines able to hold greater than 10 rounds.

“Several of my colleagues and I have introduced commonsense legislation that, if enacted, would reduce gun violence and the tragic impact it has on our communities,” said U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, the New Jersey Democrat sponsoring the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act.

Coleman’s proposal is much like a state law approved last year by voters in California in the respect that it would require federally licensed ammo dealers to directly confirm the identity of those buying ammo over the Internet by verifying a photo I.D. in-person. Also, the measure would require the vendor to report any individual sales of more than 1,000 rounds in a five-day period to the U.S. Attorney General. Garnering 29 co-sponsors, all Democrat, the measure has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Gun reporting

The Multiple Firearm Sales Reporting Modernization Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calf., would require FFLs to report the sale of two or more long guns to the same buyer within a five-day period to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Currently, dealers must report multiple handgun sales while a 2011 rule that requires only dealers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas report multiple rifle sales. Under the new proposal, it would be the law of the land.

“This bill is a long-overdue update,” said Torres. “Our law enforcement agencies need to know if anyone is stocking up on AR-15s and AK-47s.”

The measure, referred to the Judiciary Committee, has three co-sponsors including Nevada Democrat Dina Titus, whose district includes Las Vegas.

Magazine restrictions

Billed as the Keep Americans Safe Act, Connecticut’s Elizabeth Etsy would ban detachable magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Backed by several gun control groups including the Brady Campaign and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Esty contends it is needed for public safety.

“There is simply no good reason why sportsmen and women need more than 10 rounds in a magazine,” said Esty in a statement. “No sportsman or woman needs 30 rounds to kill a deer. It’s shameful that we protect our deer better than we protect our people.”

Referred to the Judiciary committee, Esty’s bill has 85 partisan supporters including virtually Nevada’s entire delegation to the House apart from U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, a Republican whose district hails from the more conservative Northern part of the state including Reno and Carson City.

The bills join measures to ban bump stocks and other devices that can accelerate a gun’s rate of fire, mandates for smart gun use, expanded background check proposals and efforts to increase federal funding for gun crime research, all introduced in the past two weeks.

4th Green Beret missing after Niger ambush has been found dead

House | News | Politic

 

US officials say an American soldier missing for nearly two days in Niger has been found dead. He was one of four US troops killed in a deadly ambush.

His body was found and identified Friday after an extensive search. Four Niger security forces were also killed.

The Department of Defense on Friday also identified the first three Green Berets killed as Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Georgia.

The name of the fourth Green Beret killed has yet to be released.

US officials say they believe extremists linked to ISIS were responsible for the attack about 200 kilometers north of Niger’s capital of Niamey.

The joint patrol of US and Niger forces were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders and were in trucks. They were ambushed by 40-50 militants in vehicles and on motorcycles.

Eight Niger soldiers and two US troops were wounded. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Washington D.C. seeks retrial in concealed carry case

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The city is looking for a do-over after the courts overturned the District of Columbia’s strict “may-issue” policy for issuing concealed carry permits.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a petition with the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit asking that it vacate the pro-gun ruling handed down last month by a three-judge panel and rehear it in front of the full court.

“The District’s requirement that those requesting concealed-carry permits must have a ‘good reason’ for doing so is virtually identical to rules in other cities and states – requirements that four other federal appeals courts have left in place,” Racine said in a statement.

The three-judge panel in July issued a permanent injunction prohibiting city authorities from enforcing a “good reason” test as part of its gun licensing program, which has resulted in more permits declined than granted and has effectively barred most people from exercising Second Amendment rights outside their home.

“To be sure, the good-reason law leaves each D.C. resident some remote chance of one day carrying in self-defense, but that isn’t the question,” said Judge Thomas Beall Griffith in his majority opinion. “The Second Amendment doesn’t secure a right to have some chance at self-defense. Again, at a minimum, the Amendment’s core must protect carrying given the risks and needs typical of law-abiding citizens. That is a right that most D.C. residents can never exercise, by the law’s very design.”

Racine disagreed, characterizing the vanquished requirements as “common-sense gun rules” and saying they were in line with Supreme Court precedent on the Second Amendment. The petition argues that Washington, D.C. is unique because its dense population includes “thousands of high-ranking federal officials and international diplomats.”

The ruling came in the combined cases of Wrenn v. DC, backed by the Second Amendment Foundation, and Grace v. DC, backed by the Pink Pistols organization. Both sought to bar the city from applying the vague “good reason” test as part of its gun licensing program.

Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder, and executive vice president said Thursday his group expected the city to file the appeal.

“They have no intention of complying with any court decision that supports the right to keep and bear arms,” Gottlieb said. “It took the Heller decision to force them to allow a gun in your own home for self-defense. It took the Palmer decision, another SAF case, to force them to repeal their total ban on carry and now they are kicking and screaming about losing the Wrenn decision.”

As noted by the Washington Post, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department has approved 126 concealed carry permit applications as of July, rejecting another 417.

A majority of 11 judges on the D.C. Circuit, under Chief Judge Merrick Garland, would have to vote to rehear the case, a rarely granted procedure. If denied, the city could continue its appeal to the Supreme Court.

Female firearm instructor aims to train 1 million women

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As the number of female and minority gun owners continues to grow, one Georgia-based firearm instructor aims to teach black women how to shoot.

Marchell Tigner, owner of Trigger Happy Firearm Instruction, is a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor whose personal mission is to provide training to 1 million women.

“It’s important, especially for black women, to learn how to shoot. We need to learn how to defend ourselves,” Tigner told the Associated Press, noting that black women are more likely to become victims of domestic violence.

According to her website, Tigner, whose love of firearms stemmed from spending seven years in the National Guard and later working at a firing range, started her company last year after she noticed a lack of representation for black women in the gun community. Tigner said she worked at a firing range and would often see women trying to learn how to use a firearm at the instruction of their significant others, something which, she said, made her uncomfortable.

“Sometimes it’s hard to believe you can do something until you see someone who looks like you in that position,” Tigner noted.

Thus, Tigner’s firearm instruction company was formed.

As part of the training, Tigner provides plastic replicas to women as she goes over basic safety rules and proper stance, grip, and handling. The instruction then moves to the range where women learn to load a magazine and, finally, shoot the target.

“The bad guy’s dead. He’s not getting back up,” Tigner tells a student as they look over a bullet-riddled target during a recent class in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

The class was made up of about 20 women; some experienced with firearms, some not.

Jonava Johnson, 50, who attended the class, noted that gun ownership has also been rather frowned upon in the black community. Johnson admitted her own fear of guns, which stemmed from a domestic violence situation when she was just 17 years old. Johnson’s ex-boyfriend, armed with a gun, threatened her before he fatally shot Johnson’s new boyfriend in front of her.

About 30 years after she witnessed the death of her high school boyfriend, Johnson considered getting a gun after her daughter was sexually assaulted in their own home. Johnson instead decided to get a guard dog, but she’s now a proud gun owner.

“I hope I never have to kill anybody, but if it comes down to me or my children, they’re out,” Johnson said.

Tigner said it’s important for women to feel like they’re in control of their own safety.

“I’m just here to empower women and make sure that no one else becomes a victim,” she said.

 

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