In January 2012 I had the opportunity to go to Richmond for Lobby Day on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. As I’ve blogged about previously, this is an important event to meet with the legislators and let them know what we think about certain bills up coming.
Honestly, I am the type of person who becomes frustrated with a lot of political talk; I don’t really feel like it accomplishes anything. However, it is incredible to meet with my local delegates and tell them that I like certain bills or don’t. It provides the opportunity to actively be involved in the political process.
Lobby Day is special because it is a day designed specifically for any of the lobbying groups to meet with their state legislators. It is also possible to meet otherwise but then you’d have to schedule an appointment. Usually, on this day they try to make themselves available, though they are often in other meetings as well. According to the rules of the General Assembly, someone who has a concealed carry permit can carry their firearm either concealed or opened. Being able to display our gun ownership as something normal helps to solidify our impact as a gun lobby group.
In Virginia this political action is best organized by VCDL, Virginia’s Citizen Defense League. They are a really great organization and more effective than the NRA for helping to produce and pass pro gun legislation.
One of the neatest moments this past year was our lucky timing of one meeting. Visiting our different legislators we decided to visit one politician; he already had a scheduled appointment with Philip Van Cleave the president of VCDL, so they ushered us into the meeting with them. It was incredible to watch them talk like peers (the way that government should be) about the importance of Virginia’s citizens being able to protect themselves!
Other fun aspects are being asked to have a picture taken since my Glock 19 has a pink hogue grip on it. I stand out not only because of my pink firearm, but also because I’m usually one of the few females in the crowd.
If you are sick of the political “talk” and want to something more active, then you should really come to Lobby Day in Richmond in 2013. It is always on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and is an excellent way to make your voice heard. According to the facebook invite on the 21st of January the event takes place between 8:30 am-noon, but it could last longer. Generally, everyone meets out in the yard and splits into small groups. The first few morning hours are spent meeting with the legislators, and then around 11 or noon there is a giant rally in the square. Afterwards, we usually grab lunch, and may return to the General Assembly meeting if there were any people that we missed meeting with.
I would definitely encourage you to come to visit your representatives in person to let them know how serious you are about your rights! This is especially important with firearms bans that are being talked about.