• Message from the IFC Board — Effectively Communicating with Your Legislators

    January 23, 2015

    The following message was written by John Reed, Chairman of the Iowa Firearms Coalition’s Board of Directors. Reed is also one of our main lobbyists. He works extremely closely with our legislators on an almost daily basis, and provides valuable insight in how IFC members can maximize their effectiveness.


    John Reed – IFC Board Chairman

    It occurs to me that some of you may not know how you can help to communicate with your legislators in a manner that will synchronize your message with ours. Of course, feel free to communicate anyway that you want, but if you want to be helping us in our efforts in a generic sort of way, here’s what you can do.

    Stress these two themes in all your communications, doing this will put an exclamation point on what the IFC lobbyists are saying on the hill.

    1) ALWAYS state clearly that you support and want them to support a Right to Keep and Bear Arms amendment to the Iowa Constitution and that you won’t settle for the federal wording. You want the enhanced language that National Rifle Association and Iowa Firearms Coalition has presented.

    It may happen that a bill would get introduced that would mimic the federal language. We’ve been told that such a bill would get strong support from nearly everyone in both chambers. However, that bill, should it come out, would NOT be anything IFC would support. Amending the Constitution is a long, arduous fight so it’s not done very much. Therefore, If we’re going to work to get an amendment through, that amendment MUST be the best we can get for future generations of Iowans.

    I think we can all agree that the federal language, while clear to us, has been problematic in this age, and is yet not properly applied to We the People’s rights. Therefore, the language we will be putting up (very soon) will be an amplified version wherein the meaning of the language is clarified.

    Example: Would you believe that there are some (perhaps many) who don’t understand that the word “bear” means “carry”? I personally find that absurd, but it’s there nonetheless. So, it’s imperative that the word “carry” be inserted into any amendment we put forth. In addition, our language would include the legal phrase, “strict scrutiny,” a phrase I’ll not explain here because you can easily look it up. But that phrase MUST be included in order that the high courts not easily erode the protection we intend the new amendment to afford our kids and grand kids.

    2) ALWAYS state clearly that their support of the Second Amendment will always benefit them and never harm them with the public. The 2nd Amendment is a winner for politicians – always has been and always will be. In fact, support for the 2nd Amendment is growing with the public as recent polls clearly point out.

    Some legislators seem to understand this to the extent that they know their district and how it feels about our firearms rights. But, even they become concerned when they think of other districts. Rare indeed is a district where a legislator would be punished for voting for any good firearms rights bills. You see, that’s what this is — it’s a civil, common law RIGHT. Firearms aren’t ‘social’ bills and we certainly don’t ask for money. This is about our CIVIL RIGHTS! Legislators who support civil rights win. Therefore, when they support firearms bills, they win! Help them understand that.

    Unless we are calling for you to support a specific action or issue, use the above as a guide to include with your communications to your legislators. Doing this would be helping us a great deal.

    Thank you for your efforts!

    John Reed
    Chair – Board of Directors
    Iowa Firearms Coalition

    Use the Iowa Firearms Coalition’s Legislative Action Center to find your legislators, send them a pro-Second Amendment email, and sign up for our newsletter.

    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.

  • 3 Undeniable Facts from Frontline’s NRA Documentary

    January 7, 2015


    The PBS show Frontline just put out an hour-long documentary about “The Power of the NRA.” As expected it casts the organization in a negative light. But try as they might to make the NRA look bad — trust us, they tried pretty hard — there’s a couple of very positive and encouraging things you should takeaway from this documentary.

    1. The NRA really is the most powerful interest group in Washington D.C.

    “They are the best equipped, most feared special interest group on Capitol Hill.”  

    -Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post

    One thing the Frontline documentary proved beyond a shadow of a doubt is that when it comes to political clout, the NRA really is the gold standard. There are tens of thousands of special interest groups out there pushing one issue or another, but one thing they all have in common: they’re all trying to replicate the power the NRA has.

    So why is the NRA the most powerful organization in American politics? The answer is you. And your shooting buddies. It’s also the guys at the gun club. It’s the millions of us who’re a sick and tired of being told we should just “compromise just a little of your freedom,” in the name of #GunSense.

    Right now the NRA is made up of more than 5 million members. These are people who believe so strongly in the NRA and its message that every year they renew their membership, or they buy a lifetime membership.

    But what’s even more remarkable is that these dues paying members are just a fraction of firearms owners. For every paying member of the NRA there are scores more who believe in the NRA’s message, but for one reason or another do not purchase a membership. However don’t mistake this for a lack of support. These non-members are often just as passionate about their freedoms, and they’re just as likely to vote. So while the NRA has more than 5 million true members, what they really have is an immeasurable number of active supporters, and this is what makes them the envy of all other lobbying groups.

    2. The NRA plays by the rules (really well)

    “The NRA plays the game of democracy more effectively than any other influence group in Washington. It is an organization that works the levers of democracy in a way that is not illegal or improper, it’s just very, very effective.”

    -Paul M. Barrett of Bloomberg Businessweek

    Amongst the anti-gun crowd there’s a lot of hatred for the NRA. They love to spout-off claims like “X number of Americans support banning this type of gun!” Or that “X percent of people want gun control!” Or “this many Americans think you only need a gun for hunting, and if it weren’t for the NRA lobbyists we’d have ‘#GunSense’ in America and everything would be lollipops and gumdrops!”

    Gun control zealots can (and will) shout their message until they’re blue in the face. But the reality is when push comes to shove all their stats fail to translate into votes. It’s a bunch of hot air. What makes our side different is that our members are united and they vote. It’s as simple as that. And when you live in a republic, votes matter. A lot.

    The NRA has been around a long time (they’re America’s oldest civil rights organization), and their lobbyists are good at their jobs. But what makes politicians listen more than anything else are election results, and when NRA members see candidates support gun control that candidate’s odds of being elected go down dramatically. When gun control candidates lose, other candidates get the message loud and clear. Gun control is a losing issue.

    In short, the NRA does nothing illegal. In fact they play exactly by the rules. But when you’re really good at playing by the rules, the people on the losing end will almost always accuse you of breaking those rules.

    3. Right now gun control advocates cannot beat the NRA at the federal level

    “It’s over for now. And it may be over for a very, very long time.”  

    -Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post

    This a pretty bold statement, we realize that, but we think the evidence speaks for itself. But whether they’ll actually admit it or not gun control advocates know they’re facing a near impossible battle at the federal level. That’s why they’re doing everything to circumvent congress and the political process all together. They’re turning to things like pressuring corporations, presidential executive orders, and ballot initiatives. They’ve used measures like this to get extremely flawed, anti-gun owner Universal Background Checks signed into law in Washington state, and now they’re boasting that they’re going to use that as model in more than a dozen other states. Fortunately the NRA is also very active at the state level. But once again that power rests in the hands of NRA members and gun owners taking an active role in the defense of their rights. State level politics are the new site of the ongoing gun control battle.

    In conclusion:

    As good as things appear to be for the NRA all of their power rests in their millions of active members. All of the clout and power that makes the NRA what it is would disappear without you. If you value your natural-born freedoms there are a couple easy steps you can take to ensure the NRA remains the most power force in the country.

    1. Become an NRA member. Already a member? Great, sign up your spouse, or a friend. There’s power in numbers.

    2. Become a member of your state level NRA group (such as the Iowa Firearms Coalition). The next round of the gun control battle will be fought at the state level. Supporting your local NRA affiliates will be critical to victory.

    3. Get politically active. Voting is great, but it’s not enough. Go to town hall meetings, city council meetings, primaries, caucuses, make your pro-gun voice heard. Gun owners who sit stagnant is exactly what the anti-gunners need to get gun control passed.

    Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.