Keep Congress focused on passing common-sense gun laws, dammit.
Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) spotted this, explained what it means, and explained what to do. She gets full credit for alerting us at OTYCD. Please scroll down to the end of this post to thank her properly. And if you’re not following her yet on Twitter, please do so.
Following the Valentine’s Day 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at Parkland, Florida, new momentum is behind a long-standing public demand for improving America’s gun laws.
Congress, which in 2018 is controlled by Republicans, is dragging its feet. Senate leader Mitch McConnell explicitly said he wants to focus on banking regulation first.
Celeste Pewter is calling them out, and calling for us to demand that Congress get its priorities straight. Here is a series of tweets she issued on March 2, 2018:
This is going hand-in-hand with Paul Ryan’s actions in the House. He’s pushing the House version of Fix NICS (as Scalise did in the meeting w/ Trump), but don’t forget: the House version also pushes for Concealed Carry Reciprocity. [Ed note: NICS stands for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.]
[She ends this tweet with a link to a Politico article titled Ryan Throws Cold Water on Gun Control Push: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/27/paul-ryan-gun-control-426711]
Obvious statement is (probably) obvious, but they’re doing what I’ve seen in politics a lot: – vague promises of hoping to discuss this issue in the future, – blaming others for this not moving forward – lots of talk about other legislation, in the hopes of changing the story.
In the Senate’s case, McConnell wants to push forward with banking reform. (We’ll talk later why THIS is also a spectacularly bad idea, and how the GOP seems to be determined to drive us all to another financial crisis)’
[She ends this tweet with a link to a Reuters piece titled Senate to Consider Bill Next Week Easing Bank Rules: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-senate-banks/senate-to-consider-bill-next-week-easing-bank-rules-idUSKCN1GD667]
Instead of shrugging and saying nothing can be done – “because that’s politics” – here’s what we should be doing: – Keeping up phone calls/emails/letters/what have you. Even if it FEELS like it’s not doing anything, you want to be the persistent throne in your elected’s side.
I can’t tell you the number of times when issues have seemingly died down at work, but people kept calling and writing. If I received enough calls/emails, I’d tell my (politician) boss, and suggest we act. This was a facet of my job: telling him where attention was needed.
(This wasn’t just for his sake; it was for mine, too. If you tied up my phone lines, inbox and mail with enough messages, I *couldn’t* focus on anything else. I needed to focus on what constituents wanted me to focus on.)
– So call your Senators and tell them: 1. You want Fix NICS w/out Concealed Carry Reciprocity, 2. You want Feinstein/Flake’s bill addressing purchase age for AR-15s 3. You also want Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban. (Yes, you can say you want #2 & #3 at the same time.)
4. You want Manchin-Toomey’s original gun control bill. As Manchin said the other day, this bill was vetted for five years + had bipartisan support. But most importantly: You DEMAND – and will keep demanding – Leader McConnell let the Senate debate these bills NOW. Not later.
5. It doesn’t matter if your electeds are GOP. (Seriously.) Elected staff are human, and you need. to. keep. making. this. an issue. If you persist, tie up their phone lines until they can do nothing else, they will kick this up the chain, and ask their boss(es) what to do.
Also: I know these tweets are well-intentioned, but all of the tweets saying this Congress won’t act so just vote them out, are missing a big point. Yes, definitely vote out whomever doesn’t work for you. But you need to at least force the issue for your current electeds.
If our default response is to just say, “Wait until November, I’ll vote you out!” you are: 1. Letting your current electeds get away with it, and 2. Setting up an example that can repeat itself in the future. You need to at least try to force the system to work.
Otherwise, this cycle of axing the current elected will just repeat itself every single time you think your elected isn’t doing their job. Nothing will get done. Break that cycle, and force the system to work for you.
Cliff notes version: Congress is getting ready to move on from gun control. You are in a unique position to force a legislative priorities shift; don’t just wait until November to vote them out. Demand they recognize the mood of the country, and push for floor debates.
P.S. I’ll add: the reason I felt the impetus to tweet all of that, is because I’ve seen this before, from the legislative side. Don’t let Congressional leadership essentially fake you out w/ their decision to move onto banking reform. Be angry, and direct anger at *them*.
She followed this with a script, but we at OTYCD want to insert here some tweets she offered on March 2, 2018, on the same subject:
It’s 4:00 PM on the west coast, 7:00 PM on the east coast. Call your electeds, leave VMs and tell them: we’re not screaming for a Dodd-Frank fix, but we ARE screaming for
#guncontrolreform. Do not let them move on next week, without hearing from you.
If you need more reason to be angry, do a cursory search of shooting-related stories that have come out in the last twenty-four hours. (Including false alarms) – Michigan. – Chino Hills. – Dallas. – Ohio. I know it’s normal to feel like Congress will never change on this.
But the truth is, our approach to this has to change. I always see a lot of: “This is politics, they’re all corrupt! Why bother?” type of tweets. No. Flip the script. These are a few individuals, beholden to thousands, if not millions of constituents. We have the upper hand.
But we need to keep that anger sustained. Calling once isn’t enough on this. It has to be a daily thing, until this becomes the one thing dominating their agenda. Make your calls. I’m back to writing, if you have any questions.
Celeste Pewter is asking us to do what OTYCD urged you all to do in its most recent posts on common-sense gun control: We have to adopt the tactics of NRA members. [We won’t append our tail text here as we’re basically repeating it below.]
While the NRA’s donations are problematic, and we should continue to shame politicians who take its money and boost those who don’t, money is not the NRA’s sole strength.
Just as important is the cadre of NRA members who jump into action at the merest whisper of a murmur of a hint that Congress might somehow, possibly, maybe, could be mulling legislation that could get in the way of their hobby.
If we’re going to change things and destroy the death grip that the NRA has on our politics, we have to call our MoCs about passing common-sense gun laws, and keep calling. In droves. We have to be relentless.
Here’s her script. Please act.
#GunControlNow script – change as needed. – Fix NICS = Murphy/Cornyn bill. Concealed Carry needs to be stripped out. – Age 21 Act is Feinstein/Flake bill. – Feinstein wants an assault weapons ban. – Manchin-Toomey = background checks.
In addition to following her on Twitter (again, her handle is @Celeste_Pewter) you can support her in other ways.
After you call your MoCs, tweet about the experience using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.
She founded The Road to 2018, an organization devoted to defending Democratic Senators who are vulnerable and up for re-election this year. See our post on it:
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