Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to call your representatives

I woke to an e-mail from the NRA saying that AB962 was still moving forward, and could be heard as early as Monday.

Basically AB962 would make it illegal for one person to give or sell more than 50 rounds of ammunition to another person without a "handgun ammunition vendor" registration. It would also block the mail ordering ammunition. There is also some fingerprinting bullshit, and a level of record keeping that would come close to literally burying Sacramento in paper within a month. (they truly have no idea how much ammunition is sold in California)

But before we start; lets deal with the idea that you should only call representatives from the district you're in. Here are my thoughts on the subject:
1. If what they do affects you; you get to bitch at them.
2. If you pay their salary; you are their boss.
3. Fuck 'em! Call them and bitch anyway.

The NRA e-mail included the phone numbers of those on the state senate appropriations committee, and since I was reading it on my phone, I could call with a button press, and press I did.

When I was done, I had the same nagging feeling that I hadn't accomplished anything.

While I believed I had the authority to call and bitch to representatives of districts I didn't live in, it was obvious that they didn't. The first question out of their mouth was either "what's your zip code?" or "what city are you in?", and the conversations got real short after the answer.

The real issue was that I was dealing with subordinates, and the subordinates were likely instructed to disregard calls from those who were not in their districts. While I tried to argue, "If what you vote affects me, you ARE my representative!" I usually didn't get halfway through the sentence before I was hung up on.

Then I remembered, Fuck 'em! Call them and bitch anyway.

If I couldn't speak directly to the state senator, then I would take steps to ensure my message got to them. I went back to the top of the list, and did a Google search on the first representative, and looked up their district info. I found the best way was to get the address of one of their non-Sacramento offices, so I could have the city and zipcode if I needed it.
State Senator Christine Kehoe (D-39), Chair
(916) 651-4039

San Diego Office
2445 Fifth Ave., Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92101

I flipped back to the e-mail, and started the call, then flipped back to the e-mail so I didn't fuck up the bill number. As the phone rang, I tried to get into character.
Sub: Office of Senator Christine Kehoe
Me: [forcefully] Hi, I'm calling to find out if the senator I voted for is supporting AB962.
*the difference in tone of the subordinate was immediately apparent*
Sub: Uh-- It's not yet out of committee, so she hasn't had a chance to really look at it yet. Can I ask where you're calling from?
*flip back to browser* go blackberry multitasking! :)
Me: My zip code is 92101.
Sub: Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's San Diego.
Me: Of course it's San Diego. How else would I have voted for her? I just want to find out if I'm going to vote for her next time or against her. I WILL vote Republican if my only Democrat choice is her. I do NOT want AB962 passing.
Sub: Well, she wasn't really around during other gun votes, though she did vote for the .50 caliber ban.
Me: I don't care about .50 calibers, frankly, I think she was right to ban them. What I DO care about is whether or not I'm going to be able to lend my friends in LA guns and ammo like I had to during the LA riots. The police left them high and dry, and they were afraid for their lives!
Sub: Well, the senator has some issues with the funding for the bill. It passed the blahblah committee with blahblah, but she's not sure where funding for something like this would come from in this financial crunch, blahblah.
Me: I don't really care about the circumstances, all I care is that she votes against it.
Sub: Ok, thanks for your call.

I feel much better now.


NotClauswitz said...

Good call!!

JD said...


Mine was a bit different, since Kehoe is actually my representative (use zip 91977 next time ;)) and got a similar line of garbage.

When I called back, I asked to speak for the Senator. "It's OK...I'll hold..." Then they had a different aide come on the line to tell me she was unavailable. "OK, please make sure she calls me back before Monday. This is extremely important." "OK, we will..."

BS, but still...just confusing a staffer pleased me. :)

(the verification word was "meths")

Stingray said...

"I don't care about .50 calibers, frankly, I think she was right to ban them."

Buh? If that wasn't just a bone thrown to keep the aide from hanging up on you for being a bitter clinger, could you elaborate?

Fletch said...

Stingray! I'm offended! :)

That was a bone I threw to the aide to solidify my image as a moderately pro-gun liberal who always votes Democrat.

I believe the 2nd amendment covers every manner of small arms, and should cover all unguided anti-mechanized weaponry!

You can't have tanks or jet fighters, but you DO get AA guns and RPGs.

Mike said...

Why no tanks or jet fighters? Folks in early America could buy artillery pieces.

Fletch said...

Kind of a middle ground I'm comfortable with.

The idea of people being able to hit passenger jets with stinger missile launchers, air drop napalm, hop in a tank and be unstoppable as they drive through buildings and blow up police cars, I think qualifies as a kind of mass destruction that should at very least be heavily regulated.

The idea of a nutter taking advantage of his ability to carry a gun and shoot people is countered by law-abiding people carrying guns. Give that nutter a tank or a stinger missile launcher, and the law-abiding would have to carry scoped rifles and RPGs... What do you think?