Before I started advocating for gun safety, I didn’t know what a Lobby Day or an Advocacy Day was. Now I can tell you after my experience yesterday, a Lobby Day is a powerful method for a group to sway legislators to vote for gun violence prevention legislation.
Why attend a gun safety bill lobby day?
Our government representatives often struggle with their voting decisions. For this reason, they rely on public input for help. Besides the helpful input, politicians don’t like to vote against public opinion. So, they want to hear from their constituents before they vote on a controversial issue.
Those that take the time to visit the State House are the most motivated. Therefore, they are the best indicators of public opinion. On a lobby day, legislators receive numerous visitors at the same time. That makes a powerful statement indicating to them, lots of voters believe the same thing.
What happens at a lobby day?
I can tell you what happened at mine. All the advocates gathered in a large room at the Massachusetts State House. Most in the standing room only crowd of 175 people wore Mom’s Demand Action tee shirts. Excitement filled the air.
First to speak were several motivational speakers. Representative Marjory Decker said, “The idea that we’ve done our gun bills and that’s enough, well, those days are so behind us. It’s never enough. It’s not enough until we actually know that everything we have done allows people to live their lives and not unnecessarily be murdered at the hands of a gun.”
Several others followed speaking of personal tragedies at the hands of gun violence.
Leaders explained some simple rules as to how the lobbying would proceed and reviewed the three gun related bills before the legislators. They provided all the information necessary to advocate.
Then, everyone broke up into groups by their districts. That way, groups could meet the legislators together. Each group appointed a spokesperson to speak first.
Our group of twenty proceeded to the first legislator’s office and our leader started the discussion. She explained the bills and encouraged others to speak, if they’d like. Each legislator welcomed us and listened carefully. Two legislators were at their office waiting for us. A third had appointed an assistant to meet with us. Meetings lasted about twenty minutes.
Finally, our group leader reported back to the leaders on the legislator favorability towards the bills.
The bills promoted
These are the bills we were lobbying for. Legislators like to know the bill number.
- S1388 would require a detailed analysis of MA crime gun trace data to better understand the origins of crime guns. 👍
- H3843 would ban all 3D printed weapons and “ghost guns”, undetectable by metal detectors. 👍
- H2091 would require live firearms practice to obtain a firearms license. Currently, you don’t need to practice firing a gun to obtain a firearms license. 👍
Lobby Days at the State House, for me, have been a rewarding experience. I had my say where it counts. The legislators or their aids gladly received my opinion and seemed to recognize my efforts.