Don't Waste Ammo!

In addition to thinking he was irresponsible, what would you think of a hunter who shoots at every movement, every sound, gets rattled at the slightest suggestion that something is going on? You'd think he was wasteful, at the least, and at the worst, just plain dangerous.

That's what I'm seeing right now with gun owners and their reaction to all the emails pounding in-boxes. We all remember HR 45, the terrible bill that would take away guns, register your chickens, and require cats and dogs to live together (with apologies to Bill Murray).

Millions of emails were traded on this. In the end, the bill was killed. Everyone collectively sighed a huge sigh of relief.

Every year there are many terrible gun control bills introduced, which don't go anywhere. This was another one. While it's great that so many people got worked up about this -- it shows there is much passion for gun rights -- we also are wasting our "ammo" on a target that is no more than smoke. 

What's the problem with sounding the alarm? You can motivate people to action only so many times before they think you are crying wolf. There are certainly going to be some nasty fights to protect gun rights, but this is not one of them. Let's keep our powder dry, saving it for threats which have a better chance of succeeding.

So, how do you proceed with making your voice be heard? It is simply if you follow some simple rules I learned back at Missouri while I was in J school. 


Journalism 101. The "Five Ws" and the how. Every story must have these, and if possible, they should lead the story. This is true of determining our actions, also.

Who? You. No one else. Not the gun companies. Not the NRA. Not the GOA. Just you. That's what makes this work. Yes, I think you absolutely MUST belong to the NRA, and then join any other groups you want to support. (Click Here to join the NRA and give $10 memberships to family and friends).

But when it comes to contacting local, state and federal representatives, it's about you. As always, be polite, but be quick and to the point. "Hello, I am Tom Gresham, I live in the congressman's district, and I would like the congressman to oppose any effort to bring back the ban on modern rifles -- commonly called the 'assault weapon' ban." With that statement, you have placed a check mark on the gun rights side of the page. Yes, they keep a count just like that.

Who else? You should know the names of the legislative aides who handle gun issues for your two senators and your representative. They should know your name. Always be polite. "Hi, Jim, it's Bob Harmon, from Grandview. I just wanted to let the Senator know that I am asking him to sign on as a co-sponsor to S. 371, which would allow me and my wife to legally carry our firearms concealed in all states which have carry permits. Thanks, Jim."

What. The issues. Know what's going on. Know what is being discussed. I'll tell you on Gun Talk, so be sure to listen to the show, or download the ones you miss. The NRA will send you alerts via email if you sign up at

You can also make regular checks at to see news stories about self defense as well as local and state gun control efforts. 

When. Right now. I asked Senator Vitter if we should wait until a bill is introduced, or if we should let our senators and representatives know how we feel about gun rights now. He emphatically said we should contact them now. Put them on notice (politely) that you are watching his or her actions as they relate to gun rights. Remember that the most important thing to them is getting re-elected. Let them know that you are "scoring" votes on gun control. "Scoring" is a buzz word that resonates in the offices on Capitol Hill.

Where. Good question. Absolutely you need to contact them in their offices, but also find out when they will be home, and go see them. Make an appointment to see them at their offices. Take two or three friends. Have a plan to make two or three points in a five or ten-minute visit. Mention that you and your friends are "scoring" votes on gun issues. Let them know that a statement that he "supports the Second Amendment" is not enough. You need a commitment that he will vote against any restriction on gun rights -- especially any attempt to bring back the failed Clinton Gun Ban ("assault weapon" ban). If you can't go to their offices, ask when they will be in your area, and go to the event. Make it a point to speak to them there.

When you finish, shake his hand, look him in the eye, and say, "I'm going to hold you to that, Senator." Or, "I'm counting on you, Senator." That's the closer. That's when he knows that you will really be watching.

Why. We are under assault, and it's not just at the federal level. There are many people who think you should not own guns, should not own handguns, should not be able to carry a gun for your protection, should not...fill in the blank. The last election energized them, and they are introducing gun bans in cities, states and in Washington, D.C. 

The big "why" is that we could lose a lot of ground. We could lose gun rights that would be difficult -- maybe impossible -- to regain. We cannot give in on any one of these fights. The why is that if we don't do this, our children may not live in the same country we do. They may have to keep their guns locked up at the authorized shooting range, as is required in some European countries. 

That fight is not coming in the future. It is now. It will be won by you and me and all our friends, contacting elected officials now.

You can locate your senators and representative at and Even if your officials are anti-gun, keep at it. Let them know you are scoring them. If they get hundreds, and then thousands of such calls, it will make them less bold about jumping out in front on gun-control issues.

How. Ah, that's the question. How do we fight? How do we win? Answer, every way possible. We talk to friends and neighbors about gun rights, self-defense, safety, and the Second Amendment. We invite family, friends and co-workers to go shooting at the range. We write letters to the editor of papers -- often. We never leave a lie unchallenged, whether it's on the local news, or it's a comment at a cocktail party. We wear our NRA hats and open doors for old ladies. We volunteer for civic projects (wearing our NRA hats), we sponsor local charity events in the name of our gun clubs...we do good things and get recognized as being the gun folks who are part of the community.

We do everything possible. We know that anytime we are talking about guns and shooting, we represent the sport, and we represent the Second Amendment. We don't say stupid things in public, even if it's at the barber shop when just the "guys" are there. People are listening, and they are forming opinions about guns and gun rights on the basis of our behavior.

Bottom line on this one is that they are determining how they feel about guns by arriving at a conclusion about US.

~ Tom


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