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What you can do.

In the last issue of SI, we discussed the importance of working to get pro-gun candidates elected. But it is equally vital that you not forget your officeholders once the election is over.

First, learn who these people are at the local, state and national levels -- and, equally important, find out what their positions are on gun control.

This may be as simple as just following events in your local newspaper, or it may require some research at your local library. But there's usually plenty of information out there about these people. That's why they're called "public" officials.

Then call -- or if it's convenient, visit -- the official's office. And remember, you do not have to wait until a specific issue is pending before calling or visiting to express your overall views on the gun issue. The fact that you are a business person -- as well as a gun-owning constituent -- should give you added credibility.

Whether on the telephone or face-to-face, always be polite, articulate and well armed with the facts.

If possible, build up a good rapport with a staff member. When you visit or call a politician's office, ask the staff member you speak with for his/her name. You can ask for this person when you again want to voice your opinion to this politician, and being able to ask for a particular staffer by his/her name makes you seem like less of a stranger.

Here's a few words of caution:

* Don't become a nuisance. The idea is to let the official know how you feel, make it clear you are watching and try to use good solid facts to persuade him/her to vote pro-gun. You do not need to call or visit every day to accomplish this. Harassment does not win any votes.

* Always keep your cool. No matter how stupid or asinine a politician's stand on the gun issue, never let your temper show. The anti-gunners want to paint us as a bunch of radicals; let's not aid their cause.

* Know precisely the message you want to give each time you call or visit. Do not use these conversations simply as opportunities to voice your emotions. Every word spoken, every fact presented, should have a purpose.

Of course, if you happen to be a friend or know a friend of a politician, that also can work to your advantage -- especially in setting up a meeting with this person.

If you actively campaigned for this person, that's another plus.

But whatever the case, remember that the election is only the beginning of the process, not the end. Stay in touch with that elected official!
COPYRIGHT 1994 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:supporting pro-gun government candidates
Author:Schneider, Jim
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Oct 1, 1994
Words:439
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