The Dos And Don'ts Of Defeating Gun Control Bills

"DO realize there will be elected and/or appointed officials coming in and out of the hearing room all day. They are NOT limited to 3 minutes of speaking time and can 'bump' you in speaking order.

"DO realize there will be other bills not related to our gun bill being heard the same day. Testimony will be interspersed with people testifying on totally unrelated subjects to ours.

"DO say 'thank you' to the legislators for the opportunity to speak — if you pass one in the hall, ride down the elevator or sit near one at lunch time."

And here's what the list says not to do:

"DO NOT come to the hearing with ANY weapon (gun, knife, scissors, etc) in your possession. This should be a no brainer but you'd be surprised.

"DO NOT come dressed inappropriately (i.e., T-shirts, 'Come and Take It' and related slogans, Gadsden Flag wear, camo outfits, etc.) This is NOT a tea party rally. This is a somber, upscale, official legislative hearing. Media will be there and anyone looking like a clown or stereotypical "gun guy" by their definition, will be zoomed in on and televised to the public — hurting gunowners' images permanently. Business Professional attire preferred. Business Casual at a minimum.

"DO NOT Clap, boo, or otherwise disrupt the hearing. They can kick us all out. This has been a problem at recent hearings by those not trained in the etiquette of Public Hearings.

"DO NOT talk on your cell phone. and turn your cell to vibrate. If you have to use your cell phone — get up and quietly walk out of the hearing room into the lobby to use it.

"DO NOT walk around the back to where the legislators are seated, you will be immediately arrested. (I saw this happen last year — a guy thought he could walk over and tap a legislator on the shoulder during the hearing). The doors are on the edges of the legislators amphitheater platform. Do NOT go there. Open the door, quietly walk in or out of the room to and from your seat in the audience. That's it.

"DO NOT eat or drink in the hearing room. I have seen people take sips from water bottles in their bags and that seems to be 'ok' because it's not messy or disruptive — but don't walk into the hearing room and tear open a bag of chips or slobber away at a pizza. Eat lunch outside. There is a cafe there with usual serving times and it's not a bad place to hang out and converse with your peers.

"That's basically it. Common sense for most people, but unfortunately every year there's at least one or a few who spoil it."

The league's website,, has been publicizing the Feb. 2 seminar and invites people to print copies of the notice and post one at their gun club or store: "CCDL invites all to attend that are interested in playing a vital role in defense of their liberty and preserving our 2nd Amendment rights in Connecticut. New London-Windham County League of Sportsmen Invited. Bring your friends!"

Jon Lender is a reporter on The Courant's investigative desk, with a focus on government and politics. Contact him at, 860-241-6524, or c/o The Hartford Courant, 285 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06115 and find him on Twitter@jonlender.

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