1. Tour the State Capitol
Tours are free and you can find out where everything is located. Ask your tour guide for help finding your House and Senate representative’s office. Also visit the Public Access Room in room #401 for help on the legislative process. Tour information can be found at https://governor.hawaii.gov/hawaii-state-capitol-tours/.
2. Talk to your district legislative representative and their staff.
Find out who your House and Senate representative is by using this search by street name (don’t enter your street number or the words street, road, place, etc). https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/findleg.aspx. Call or email them to make an appointment to see them at the State Capitol. If you don’t have time during the workday, then try the weekends over lunch or coffee, at a special event, or at a neighborhood board meeting. If you’re not able to do those, then talk to them over the phone or write them a letter or email. You don’t have to be technical and don’t talk to them about common knowledge, ie the 2nd amendment is an individual right. Tell them about unique experiences and points of view. Some suggestions are:
a. How did you get into firearms and why you do it.
b. Stories about your experiences. A hunting trip, shooting competition, teaching your children how to shoot.
c. Are you or someone close to you affected by crime? Afraid to be a victim?
d. Your frustrations with the restrictive firearm laws
e. Solutions. How can laws be changed to benefit you while keeping the community safe.
f. Let them know if you’re an instructor, gunsmith, firearms historian, experienced shooter, collector, etc.
g. Ask them if they have any questions and what are their concerns.
Here’s more helpful tips: http://lrbhawaii.org/par/pub/tipscomleg.pdf
3. Talk to the legislative committee members.
They have the most influence whether a bill pass or fails. You can find their information at http://lrbhawaii.org/par/legfyi.html. The important ones you want to talk to are Senate Judiciary (JDC) and Public Safety (PSM) and the House Judiciary (JUD) and Public Safety (PBS). Just like the above, make an appointment to see them and have a good conversation.
4. Take someone to the range
Offer to take your family members, friends, and coworkers to the range. Also your legislative representative and their staff. Many people will be hesitant thinking it’s a dangerous activity, so ease their fears that it’s a safe sport. After all the minimum age to shoot at Koko Head is 9 years old. Show them how to handle a gun safely and responsibly. Be sure they take notice of the diversity of shooters and types of shooting, and how safe and responsible they are. Tell them how they can take a firearms class if they enjoy it.
5. Attend a legislative workshop.
The workshops cover the basics of how government works, the passage of a bill through the legislature to become law, and what you can do to make your voice heard through testimony. The Advanced course covers lobbying and the fine behind the scenes work that can help you plan and be more effective. If you can’t make the course, you can download slides and view the video presentation at http://lrbhawaii.org/par/.
6. Track and testify on legislative bills
The legislative session starts in mid January and ends in May. Track bills at www.hifico.org and be familiar with the pros and cons of each. Committee hearings will be scheduled to review the bill where the public can provide their input through testimony. Testimony can be written through email, handwritten or typed letter, or through the legislature’s website at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov. You can also appear at the hearings in person and provide your testimony orally before the committee which ensures your voice is heard and you made the effort to attend. Testimony can be as quick as checking a checkbox or saying “I support/oppose” or longer if you wish to write a few paragraphs with your experiences, facts, and opinions. You may have to do this several times for each bill and on short notice, so hang in there.
7. Encourage others to participate
Talk to others about current legislation and your experiences. Encourage and mentor them to participate.