Game Time!

September Is The Start Of Campaign Season
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Two months out from the midterm elections is the perfect time to start thinking about the possibilities looming in January if there is a “red tidal wave” in November. This could mean a radical shift of power on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures across the country.

You want to win in November and turn the tide against those seeking to eviscerate the Second Amendment? Get in the game. Now is a good time. Yesterday would have been better.

Be Nice

Don’t misunderstand. Nobody needs to get in any candidate’s face about gun rights; belligerence is not the way to win the hearts and minds of people who may get elected this fall — and whose votes you will need when it’s time to pass legislation. We’ve seen before how this can backfire, resulting in another defeat snatched from the jaws of victory, something for which conservatives and occasionally gun rights activists are famous.

The first thing to remember is to not repeat the mistakes of anti-gunners, the biggest one being overreach. Virginia anti-gunners went overboard when they grabbed power in 2020 and it cost them all three statewide offices and the legislative majority in Richmond.

Gun owners need to practice self-control, while at the same time moving our agenda forward without being boorish about it. Be willing to work with lawmakers to further their understanding of your issue while acknowledging their concerns
Settle on a handful of priorities — and stick to them. Address each issue, and once you’ve accomplished one thing, move on and solve another. By moving forward one step at a time, you’re less likely to hit a wall.

Let’s say Republicans sweep Congress, same as they did in 1994 via the Contract With America. This has certainly been the prediction for the past several months and Capitol Hill anti-gunners are worried. What should a victorious Second Amendment community push for in January?

First and foremost, if gun owners do win, make sure the new majority nails the coffin permanently shut on Joe Biden’s extremist gun control agenda:

• NO to one-gun-per-month
• NO to bans on original capacity magazines for rifles and pistols
• NO national waiting periods
• NO to bans on modern semi-auto sport/utility rifles
• NO to licensing and registration and regulation of sport/utility rifles under NFA 1934.

At the state level, a good start would be to work on passage of “constitutional carry” in your state. Twenty-five states — half the nation — now have permit-less carry and it is time for the other half of the country to get aboard. All of the arguments against this common-sense approach to exercising the right to bear arms are nonsense since the criminal element already carries without a license or permit. It’s time for the good guys to have an even playing field with the bad guys.

Another effort with enormous positive benefits would be to push for basic firearms safety classes in the public schools. Right now, during the campaign season, is a good time to bounce this idea off candidates looking for your support, just to see how they react.

Of course it will not be as simple as just snapping one’s fingers. One key to success in January and February is to get out the vote in November so you can help elect a veto-proof majority in your state legislature. If you can do that, it’s game on when your legislature convenes even if you have an anti-gun governor. September is the month to start working on getting out the vote, because you can bet your enemies are working overtime to get their voters out.

This November’s election could be the most important in your lifetime. Do not sit this one out, expecting others to do your job. Too many gun owners have done this in the past, only to wonder why national organizations such as the NRA, GOA or CCRKBA didn’t save the day. As the late Neal Knox used to remind every audience he spoke with, you are the “gun lobby.”

Attend The ‘Town Hall’ Forums

Campaign season really gets rolling in September, often with Labor Day picnic appearances by candidates who want your vote. From now until the election, they will be hard at it.

Such events are usually published in community newspapers or websites, and there may be notices posted at local grocery stores and post offices on the community message boards by the entrance. You need to pay attention to these message boards. I attended a legislative forum at the local city hall about two years ago after spotting such a notice and the first thing I saw when I walked into the room was a row of women all wearing “Moms Demand Action” T-shirts. It was impossible not to notice. If they can do it, so can you.

With advance notice, you can be there in numbers large enough to impress the candidates. Make sure you’re cleanly dressed and behave yourselves because your conduct reflects on all of us.

Follow candidates to appearances even if they are not in your community. The other side does this. If there is a gathering in your legislative or congressional district, make an effort to be in the room. If someone from the other side complains they saw you at a meeting elsewhere, politely tell them the same thing in reply.

Ask candidates about Second Amendment issues, including “constitutional carry,” gun bans and other critical topics to see and hear how they react. It is imperative to be the adult in the room at such events and not the bully. Remain calm, reasoned and polite. Have your facts straight to respond to any questions and keep them simple:

According to the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report, more people are murdered with blunt instruments, knives and “personal weapons” (feet and hands) than with either rifles or shotguns of any kind.

More than 21.5 million people are currently licensed to carry in the United States.

Forty states have firearm reciprocity laws, meaning all authority for setting gun laws rests with the legislature. This guarantees uniformity of gun laws from border to border. “What could be more sensible than that,” you can ask rhetorically. If the other side tries to react, they may sound like fools.

If you know you will not be able to vote on Election Day — say you’ve got a hunting trip scheduled or you will be otherwise traveling — now is the time to inquire about absentee ballots. Each county has an office or agency responsible for this. Do not wait until the last minute because you may forget this important responsibility in the rush to get everything else done.

GUNS Magazine readers have a lot at stake this fall. By this time next month, you should all be better organized and ready to cast your vote. Do not succumb to any naysayers who tell you your vote doesn’t count. In November, it will count plenty.

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