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Old January 13th, 2020, 03:36 AM #1
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NewTwo NewTwo is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2020
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NewTwo NewTwo is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 14
MGA 2020 Playbook: Guide to Defeating HB4!

Why does it seem like the antis always win? What does the gun control side have that we lack?

The answer is simple: they own the rhetoric. Our side has great entities like MSI to respond to their Giffords. But we have no response to Everytown, Moms Demand Action, etc. They come organized with busses, uniforms and most importantly, UNITY. They have an effective message that they never deviate from and hammer into the heads of our politicians. They may not be GOOD or CORRECT, but they are EFFECTIVE. They are the ones WE must address; they NEVER need to address us. With this hostile environment you might imagine that we would be on top of our game, churning out the best we have to offer. Last year I was at the Senate Building testifying against SB737 (as well as the slew of other crap they shoved into one hearing) and let me tell you, what I saw astounded me. On our side we had:

-People who walked in late to signup for testimony, completely unaware of the cutoff time
-People who had no intention of testifying and were there just to "show support," wasting their own time and depleting our numbers
-People who assumed it would be a short affair and were unable to stay late, wasting their testimony
-People who made up their testimony on the spot, stumbling and stuttering with no coherent points
-People who clearly hadn't read the bill and made complaints that were not valid or were already addressed in the bill
-People who used their ENTIRE testimony to complain about how testimony times had been reduced from 2 mins to 60 seconds
-People who cited every pro-gun cliche in the book (2nd Amendment, "criminals don't follow laws," "the only thing that stops a bad guy...") to politicians who literally couldn't care less
-People who cited statistics but couldn't produce a source when asked by the committee
-People who said the exact same thing as the last guy, contributing nothing new and thus wasting their testimony

I could go on. Now we are all just regular people and should be expected to make mistakes, but just ONE of their testimonies is worth A HUNDRED of ours. Every testimony lost or wasted sets us back miles. Is it unfair that we have a higher standard while the Moms get to spew their gish gallop? YES, but since when were any of these laws FAIR? Ultimately your seconds at the podium will be the ONLY impact you have on these bills. They will not read your emails nor answer your phone calls. They will more than likely wipe their arse with your written testimony. Your spiel is the only time a politician will truly have to FACE you and be held accountable for their bill.

They cannot escape your confrontation, but they can IGNORE you if you make it easy for them. Thus this year I want to help us do things DIFFERENTLY, make it so they can't IGNORE us when we speak. The problem we have is we all show up as individuals; we're all there to speak for ourselves. What good are our numbers then if we cannot cobble together a meaningful message? Our presence alone is not enough, we need UNITY. Thus I present to you all our PLAYBOOK for this year. The key to our win is COORDINATION. We want a baseline set of rules/talking points that we can follow so we can prevent mistakes, avoid our most stagnant/meaningless arguments and come up with fresh, new and effective arguments that a Democratic politician is MORE LIKELY to be persuaded by. If last year is any indication, PERSUASION IS POSSIBLE. They could have rammed all the bills through last year if they really wanted to, deaths be damned; THEY CHOSE NOT TO. There is wiggle room, we just have to find it.

My suggestions as a baseline set of rules for any gun bill is as follows:

1) Be prepared, intend to stay the whole day. Don't be late to register your testimony. Doesn't matter when they say they start or how much time they promise you. That can all change on the day of as it has many times before. In 2019 we were downgraded to 60 seconds and were moved from noon to 8PM. Majority had left by then.

2) Coordinate your testimony with those around you. Frankly, all of us saying "criminals don't follow the law" is unproductive. The power of a person is their unique viewpoint, so make sure you're not saying the EXACT same thing 20 others have said. This allows us all to surgically dismantle a bill by leaving no stone unturned. You can use your 90 seconds to dive deeply into a particular flaw you have issues with because you know someone else will cover another part you're concerned about. Every one of us doing this creates a series of insurmountable barriers that politicians are less able to filter out into their "canned arguments" brain bin. There will be many hours before testimony to do this. Instead of talking about cars or guns, talk about WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO SAY.

3) Seriously, rehearse your testimony to yourself. I know we're not all public speakers but "uhs" and "ums" can and will destroy you when all you have is 90 seconds. IT GOES FAST, DO NOT WASTE IT. Speak with confidence, maybe quicken your normal cadence a little. Every second counts so BE SURE of exactly what you want said. Jot down a script if you have to just so you stay on track.

4) AVOID STALE ARGUMENTS. Politicians have heard "unconstitutional, shall not be infringed, criminals don't follow laws, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun..., etc." thousands of times. "Think of the children/we have to do something!" doesn't work on us, so do you honestly think that our equivalent will work on them??? If they CARED AT ALL about those things, WE WOULDN'T BE THERE. For all our sakes, come up with something new and innovative. We want to surprise them and get their attention. Quoting the 2nd Amendment verbatim is the surest way to get them to ignore you.

5) If you provide a statistic, know the source. Seriously, way too many people looked like idiots when they were asked where they got a stat from and they could not respond. Numbers without sources are essentially meaningless. Don't trap yourself.


The following arguments/tactics will all apply specifically to HB4, which I believe is the worst we have this session. All the others could easily die in committee, but they've been trying this one for years. If we lose on universal background checks, we're NEVER going back. This is the LAST step before they LICENSE ALL GUNS, so give it the attention it deserves.

1) DON'T GIVE THEM REVISION AMMO. In order to win, the whole premise of the bill must be flawed. If your biggest issue with the bill is that it doesn't exempt checks from certain scenarios, guess what? They'll happily revise it and then say "All good to you now!" and pass the new version. Your argument must attack the fundamentals of the bill that can't be altered rather than the nitpicks that they can alter to make it more "acceptable."

2) "WE WILL NOT COMPLY" IS NOT AN ARGUMENT. Even if some of us don't, most will. Therefore it's a statement with no power behind it. If you want to give it power, make sure to explain beforehand WHY it would be too inconvenient to follow. Then you can finish with "THEREFORE, WE WILL NOT COMPLY." Frame it as "YOU GAVE ME NO BETTER CHOICE BUT TO NOT COMPLY."

3) We know FFLs will jack up their transfer fees to make bank if this passes. Doesn't matter if you know a kitchen FFL that does all your transfers for free; most of us don't have such a luxury and will be paying $70+ per transfer. You know what liberal politicians hate? EMPOWERING CORPORATIONS! Frame HB4 as a bill that gives a background check MONOPOLY to gun stores. You really think the "reasonable fee" clause will be enforced? TELL THEM YOU KNOW THEY WON'T ENFORCE IT. Tell them that they're putting profits > safety. Take a page from their own book, DEMAND that they MANDATE FREE CHECKS or HARD CAP the price at something affordable, $20 max, hell you could even get them to $5 or $10. Tell them how simple a 4473 is and how FAST the check takes. Tell them that nobody deserves to PROFIT SO MUCH from AN EASY TO PERFORM and MANDATORY CHECK that is NECESSARY FOR PUBLIC SAFETY (ACCORDING TO THEM, MAKE THEM OWN THAT). If they tell you they won't/can't, then you can accuse them of forcing your hand to NOT COMPLY FOR THE SAKE OF A PRIVATE CORPORATION'S PROFIT! THIS IS NOT A LIE, TELL THEM HOW COSTLY TRANSFERS ARE IN CALIFORNIA AND THEY WILL BE SHOCKED!

4) FFLs are inconvenient. They are few and far between. They are often closed on evenings, weekends and some weekdays. GUESS WHEN WE'RE ABLE TO BE FREE TO DO OUR TRANSFERS? EXACTLY THE TIMES THE FFLs ARE CLOSED! FFL hours are probably worse than the post office and banks combined, tell them as much. This bill decimates long distance sales in the state, gifts to friends, temporary loans if your friend goes elsewhere, low price sales, etc. Tell them how a $50 fee on a $200 Ruger 10/22 will be 1/4 of the price of the gun itself. TELL THEM THESE INCONVENIENCES ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO COMPLY WITH. DEMAND that they establish an alternative that is AVAILABLE 24/7 AND FREE. Will this take time and money for the state? GREAT, that makes them less willing to try any sort of UBC bill.

5) SUGGEST AN ALTERNATIVE. Look, our politicians aren't necessarily evil, they just see an issue that looks like a serious flaw in the law. It's not that they're dead set on their solution, but IT'S ALL THEY KNOW HOW TO DO! If we give them something better that they never thought of, they're likely to roll with it. Ideally, we'd want nothing, but as gun owners, we should have SOMETHING that would be better than HB4. None of us want to sell to felons, but what they propose is far too inconvenient and ineffective. My personal fantasy proposal has always been a Swiss-like system where you could use your phone to scan the barcode on the back of a driver's license (like they do for age verification anywhere these days) which could confirm whether someone is legit and not barred from owning a firearm. No serial number registration, no hassle, available 24/7 and free. Useful for alot of other things, not just gun transfers. Not half bad, right? I bet if you suggested it to them they'd be on board too. Is it gonna take money, time and effort on the state's part? Great! Tell them this is the ONLY alternative THAT MAKES SENSE and that you will ONLY ACCEPT THIS ALTERNATIVE and that IF THE STATE REALLY CARED, THEY'D INVEST THOSE RESOURCES because THERE IS NO PRICE TO SAFETY. Tell them HB4 is a waste of resources in comparison.

6) PLAY TO THEIR POLITICIAN'S EGO, COUNTER THE "WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING" MENTALITY. This bill is low-hanging fruit that they're pursuing to act like they did something. ROAST THEM FOR THIS! Tell them that how useless this bill is in addressing whatever problems they think it will solve. Tell them how states with UBCs still have mass shootings (Garlic Festival, Jersey City just to name some). Ask them if they know how many crimes are actually committed because of this (virtually none). Roast them for avoiding things that would actually make a dent in gun homicides like the marijuana legalization bill they threw out this year for "being too complicated." Roast them on the HQL, which has not yet reduced handgun deaths after 6 years. Roast them on the red flag laws they passed which led to the nation's very first death in their enforcement. Ask them if they're proud of that record. Ask them if they're satisfied following the same failed policies that other states have already tried out. Ask them how long we have to wait for results while people die. REMIND THEM of their own failed policies like the bullet casing database which was so bad THEY REPEALED IT after costing $6 million and never solving a single crime. Tell them this bill is as useless as that trash. Tell them that you care about gun homicides, that you care about finding real solutions but what they're proposing is absolutely INEFFECTIVE and INSANE! Tell them you know we'll be back next year when the bill doesn't do anything it intended to do. Ask them if they feel good always being back here to "solve the problem." Tell them they only have one chance to do it right and that HB4 isn't it.

The LAST thing a politician wants to be seen as is useless and ineffectual. We tell them every year that these bills won't make a difference, but we say it like we know it. EXPLAIN TO THEM WHY WE KNOW IT. No more "criminals don't follow laws," HIT THEIR HEARTS AND EGOS. ASK THEM THESE QUESTIONS THAT PUT THE BLAME SQUARELY ON THEM AND MAKE THEM FEEL ASHAMED FOR CONTINUING WITH SHODDY BILLS LIKE THIS. Tell them they could do better, they could be innovative, DO IT THE "MARYLAND WAY," the new way that actually works because as gun owners, we actually know the issues. Emphasize how anti-policies have gotten stale. Ask them to revisit old legislation and/or put a sunset on new legislation so we can study what works and what doesn't. Make them fear passing HB4 not because of us, but because it'll make THEM look foolish, even to their anti-gun constituency.

7) PLAY TO THE CROWD. While we cannot comment during each other's testimony, WE CAN STILL ACT DURING IT! Remember, you are not just speaking to the committee, you are speaking to EVERYONE! USE US TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! Ask questions to all of us! A whole room raising their hands in agreement/disagreement with something is more powerful than you think! DISPLAY OUR UNITY! Hell, you can even get the antis to raise their hands in agreement when you ask them things like "do you agree a background check should be free if it's mandated" or "don't you wish we could get along, that we could find a better solution than HB4." This is how we REINFORCE each other. I will personally be trying this out. I hope you will all help me out when I do, as well as anyone else who tries.


In 2019, I had not prepared anything. I cobbled my testimony together during the hearings, the whole time thinking "what have we not said, what are the senators actually looking for." I proceeded to spit out the fastest speech of my life. After the hearing I was approached by one of the senators. She was curious about the things I had said. That 10 minutes I had alone with her is why I made this playbook. A previously disinterested politician was interested in what OUR SIDE had to say. That is something we should all strive to achieve this Wednesday. We CAN change their minds, we just have to give them something NEW. I look forward to seeing you all there.

I hope I didn't come off as too preachy, I'm just trying to help. Let me know what you think. If you all have anything to add, please do.
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