The John Birch Society, the conservative group famous for its strident anti-communist stance last century, made a rare appearance at the State House Wednesday.

The duo from the society didn’t exactly draw a crowd of lawmakers or staff interested in their message opposing a constitutional convention. In fact, they lectured to an empty hall while tourists meandered around the building’s historic corridors.

Harold Shurtleff, a John Birch field coordinator later admitted that he and fellow speaker Daniel McGonigle didn’t expect a crowd and were mostly speaking to the camera they had set up to produce an online video.

At issue are a handful of state bills sponsored by local lawmakers that would call on Congress to open up a constitutional convention. Article V of the U.S. constitution allows state legislatures to petition for a convention to entertain the idea of amending the nation’s charter on specific topics.

But once that convention get under way, says McGonigle, would open up a Pandora’s box that could rock the nation. The JBS maintains that there are no rules to govern a convention and no way to make sure once it starts, delegates stick to one issue. Basically, they fear the many states opening up the constitution for whoever wants to take a whack at it, like a law-of-the-land-themed piñata.

“The two proposals… these bills in essence will open the door to changing the entire constitution if enough states get together and call for a convention,” McGonigle said to his partner Shurtleff and 11 empty chairs arranged nicely in front of a podium in the State House’s finely appointed Nurses Hall.

One of the potential constitutional amendments the Birchers don’t want to see get to a convention is sponsored Rep. Cory Atkins (D-Concord) and would spell out in plain 21st Century English that U.S. rights apply to “human individuals, only” instead of corporations.

“I’m fascinated,” Atkins said of the two-man show. “I always applaud citizen participation in anything because Americans are so busy with their lives. We get less and less of that. I’m curious.”

“I’m also not sure what their real fear is. Are they for corporations being people?” Atkins said.

The Birchers didn’t just target proposals from Democratic lawmakers, though. Since their objection is to the very process of a constitutional convention - not necessarily the proposal itself - they are equal opportunity trammels.

In a true show of bipartisanship, the group is also trying to stop a bill from Rep. Peter Durant (R-Spencer) that would ask for the constitution to force the federal government to produce a balanced budget every year. Durant told WGBH Wednesday that he isn’t “overly concerned” that the John Birch Society thinks he has a bad idea.

“The framers, the writers of our constitution understood that we have processes to do things. They’re slow, they’re deliberative,” Durant said, adding “I don’t know what people are afraid of in opening up the constitution to amendments.”

Atkins said citizens seek out constitutional amendments when the other institutions of government are not responding, as she says is happening with the Citizen’s United case and corporate political spending. The Concord Democrat does understand where the JBS is coming from when they warn of what could happen when the constitution is opened up for all takers to amend.

“That is a legitimate concern of many. But there are groups that are for [the political speech amendment] that are working hard on procedural stuff to make sure this is a single issue. But can you guarantee that in a democracy? I doubt it,” Atkins said in response to the Birchers demonstration against her bill. Atkins said she signed on to almost any piece of legislation that opposes the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.

One thing’s for sure, the local John Birch Society’s next YouTube video will have a very stately looking backdrop.