Be A Better Freedom Advocate


Photo: Legit Outdoors

Even before the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, our freedoms and your livelihood were at risk from constant attacks on the Second Amendment. Despite the headwinds, the fact remains over the past years we’ve welcomed millions of first-time gun owners — prime clientele who should be educated about how they can stand up for Second Amendment rights.

So, how can you — the dealer — influence customers to step up and vote regarding issues that matter? For starters, you and your associates need to be advocates. So if you’re not already voting, writing local, state and federal legislators and showing up to testify, start doing this today.

Know The Issues

With many attacks on gun rights, you must take the time to know the issues. The opposition is working night and day to put you out of business. Hundred of bills are introduced on federal, state and local levels each year. The number of proposed laws can become challenging to keep up with and know what’s important. 

You can take the time to bookmark your state’s general assembly page to see what bills are listed and check back often to see if there is anything new. However, this process can be time-consuming, and you need to take the time to build relationships with customers so you have a return clientele and recurring revenue.

A simple way to keep up with proposed laws is to join or follow local, state and national gun advocacy groups. For example, in my home state, the Firearms Coalition of Colorado (FCC) has lobbyist members who email weekly (sometimes more often) summaries of good and bad gun bills introduced in cities and counties and at the state and federal level.

The FCC includes a summary in its updates. They also have the names of legislators so you know who to contact regarding the proposals. When bills are calendared to be heard, the FCC also includes the links to the government website where you can register to testify at hearings.

Do some searching to see if your state has an advocacy group that can help you follow the issues.

Local isn’t enough. We also need to follow federal Second Amendment issues, which means you can again try to do this independently or follow national advocacy groups that will keep you up to date on the happenings. Often, these groups will send policy updates to their memberships. Are you a member of any organizations that work to protect gun rights, which in turn impacts your business?

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a staunch advocate of our Second Amendment freedoms, and while it’s been hindered by internal strife and legal battles, we must be mindful it’s still out there fighting for gun rights. If the NRA is a bit too taboo for your shop, look for other notable organizations to join in support of Second Amendment advocacy.
The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) has been working on and winning many legal cases around the country. The FPC website has Legislative and Legal buttons that display all of the issues they are involved with, along with trackers to help you keep a finger on the pulse of gun policy issues. In addition, they suggest it’s easy to support legal efforts.

“Take $30 a year for you and your employees, and you all will receive email updates of state and national happenings,” said Dan Dement, FPC director of communications.

Have you thought about signing your staff up for information to help you keep up with legislative happenings?

You may look to other organizations such as Gun Owners of America, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. It’s up to you to decide which organization is the best fit for you, your personnel and your customers.

“You must take the time to know the issues. The opposition is working night and day to put you out of business.”

Take Action

When you learn about a gun bill primed to impact your business, the first action should be to contact your representative(s) — have their phone numbers and email addresses stored and easy to access.

When a bill is introduced and not yet scheduled for hearing, begin politely sharing your opinion about the proposed law (but be sure to read the bill before action).

Some of the national gun-rights advocacy groups will offer action emails, including links to pre-written letters regarding bills of note. A pre-written letter is a great starting place when contacting legislators. Before you send an email, take a moment to go further by respectfully adding your own story or thoughts. A personal story may resonate with the representative or their aide reading it. If the form letter will allow, edit it by taking the proffered ideas and adding some personal touches. 

Remember, you have your representative’s email address on hand, so if the form letter doesn’t let you edit, start with a new draft from your email box.

In the letter to your legislator(s), begin with editing the subject line. Numerous times, lawmakers have complained about the annoyance of being flooded with form letters. Though the mass emails are tallied in most offices, they’re not always opened and read because they all have the same subject line. So, start with “From Your Constituent,” then proceed with the bill number and issue. Keep the subject line short, and remember they represent you.

No matter how much they make your blood boil, keep messages polite and respectful. For example, use their titles in the address — senators and congressmen should be addressed as such.  

Showing Up

Encourage friends, family and clientele who care about gun laws to speak up to the legislature. Regardless of whether the representative has an “R” or “D” behind their name, they can and will listen if you take the time to visit with them.

If you have not yet learned how to visit your legislators, it’s time to get after it to show up and speak up.

When issues about gun rights pop up at the U.S. Capitol, a sea of women dressed in red will show up in opposition. How do they have the time? And why aren’t we doing this? Remember, you have staff, customers and other contacts to influence in this manner. However, FPC’s Dement reminds us: “What better way to get the people around you to support the cause than for you to be an example?”

In recent years, the women of the DC Project have worked to form a mass of “Teal For 2A” at the U.S. Capitol and state capitols to show lawmakers a pro-gun female face. (The organization is yet another you can support in defense of firearms rights.)

Since the NRA seems to have worked well with gun retailers in the past, I asked them how gun stores can get their clientele to support firearm rights.

“What better way to get the people around you to support the cause than for you to be an example?”

Dan Dement, Director of Communications Firearms Policy Coalition

“A salesperson doesn’t have to be aggressive in his or her approach,” said Ann Smith, editor-in-chief of NRA Women, “but the point of sale is often the first contact with the firearm community for many new gun owners, particularly since 2020.”
She suggests capturing their attention the moment they’re at your counter. 

“It’s essential a customer is aware their responsibility as a gun owner has only just begun,” Smith added. “In addition to recommending firearm training classes or offering information on CCW laws in their state, your staff can immediately suggest they join a gun rights organization.”

This year, many conservatives have taken the initiative to stand up and speak up. A polite representation of gun owners to the legislature makes a difference (and moves the needle). If we have more Americans taking action as these few are, they’ll do a more excellent job of ebbing the tide of gun control.

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