Iowa Senator Amy Sinclair is a long-time friend of the Iowa Firearms Coalition and a staunch supporter of your Second Amendment rights. Every year she gets tons of phone calls and emails from Second Amendment advocates. Recently she offered up a handful of extremely useful tips on how our members can maximize their efforts while talking with legislators about Second Amendment issues.
Tips On Lobbying Your Legislator
State Senator Amy Sinclair – District 14
1. Establish a relationship before you ask for something and before the legislative session actually begins. Attend a local forum just to introduce yourself. Share who you are, what you do, and some of your interests. Additionally, learn something about your legislators that you can use to encourage them. Be aware of votes they’ve taken on an issue with which you agreed or an organization to which they belong that you also support. Build a positive connection so that when you later need to ask for their support on 2A issues, they will remember you.
2. Contact your legislators regularly throughout the session, not just when a vote is looming. Personal visits are the most memorable, but most legislators pay close attention to their email and phone messages as well. Be sure to remind them of who you are (legislators meet lots of people) and some of your common interests. Make yourself a resource, if you can.
3. When you visit the Capitol, be sure to advise your legislators that you will be coming. Email them requesting a brief meeting, letting them know what time you will be available, what you’d like to discuss, and how long you expect to take. This is very important, as the schedule during session is chaotic. Committee meetings, subcommittees, debate schedules, and other events are constantly being added to calendars. If you have scheduled a meeting in advance, legislators are more likely to be able to meet with you because they’ll have it on the calendar.
4. When a call to action from the Iowa Firearms Coalition or the NRA comes, be prepared to respond. They will include a form email that you can use and send to all legislators. Feel free to send that email, but you should follow that up with a personal email to your Senator and Representative. Begin your email identifying yourself and where you live. Be sure to remind them of issues on which you’ve agreed in the past. Follow that with the heart of your response. Include pertinent, factual information. All legislators aren’t experts in all areas. Share with them what you know in your area of expertise. But be concise. The volume of email received by legislators daily during session is overwhelming. If correspondence is too long, it is less likely to be read in its entirety.
5. As my mom and my Bible both advised, follow the Golden Rule. This is certainly true when working with your legislators. No one responds well to threats and abuse. Most people respond positively to respect and kindness. Legislators are, after all, just people. I knew this prior to being elected, but it became all too real once I was in office. Trying to balance a family, a non-legislative job, a home, and all the other things that all people face each day is difficult, and during session that becomes even harder. It’s hard to take time for someone who is treating me poorly.
Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, Second Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance Second 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 Second Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.