Landmark Gun Ban Case Heard By Supreme Court
GRASSROOTS ALERT, Vol. 15, No. 12 03/21/08

Posted on March 21, 2008

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Landmark Gun Ban Case Heard By Supreme Court

 

On March 18, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in District of Columbia v. Heller, a case the Court has stated is “limited to the following question: Whether Washington, D.C.’s bans [on handguns, on having guns in operable condition in the home and on carrying guns within the home] violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes.”

Most in the Supreme Court chamber seemed to agree that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. The issues that were most in contention included the meaning of the words “keep” and “bear,” and whether the amendment protects the possession of arms only during militia service or also for self-defense; whether a total ban on handguns is a “reasonable” regulation of firearms; whether restrictions on the right to arms should be subject to “strict scrutiny,” or legislatures or courts should be able to decide what is “reasonable;” and what kinds of regulations would be “reasonable” under the Second Amendment.

 

Stop BATFE Abuses -- Urge Your Congressman To Cosponsor H.R. 4900:  Continuing concern about the treatment of firearm dealers by BATFE has caused members of the U.S. House of Representatives--with NRA-ILA’s full support--to push for new and improved reform legislation.  That push has taken the form of H.R. 4900 -- the “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act.” 

 

STATE ROUNDUP  (please click to see any updates on states not listed below.)

ALABAMA:  Pro-Gun, Pro-Hunting Measures to be Heard Tuesday, March 25!  On Tuesday, March 25, the Alabama State Legislature will reconvene and consider numerous pro-gun and pro-hunting bills.  NRA-supported legislation that would reform Right-to-Carry statutes, protect our Second Amendment rights during a state of emergency, and ensure that the disabled can partake in Alabama’s rich hunting heritage are all awaiting action.  For more information about these bills and how to take action, please click here.

ARIZONA:  Arizona House Passes Important Self-Defense Measures!   House Bill 2629, introduced by State Representative Russell Pearce (R-18), passed Third Reading in the House by a vote of 33 to 26 and is now on its way to the Senate.   This NRA-supported measure clarifies how and when a firearm may be displayed for defensive purposes.  House Bill 2630, also introduced by State Representative Russell Pearce (R-18), would reduce the penalty for carrying a concealed “weapon” without a permit to a petty offense.  HB2630 also passed the House on Third Reading on a 36 to 24 vote.  HB2630 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, March 24.  House Bill 2634, which would allow a person whose civil rights have been restored to obtain a permit to carry, passed the House on Third Reading with a unanimous vote where it is now slated to be heard in the Senate.  Please contact your State Senator and respectfully urge him or her to support all of these measures when they come up for a vote.  To find contact information for your legislators, please click here.

CALIFORNIA:  Assembly to Consider Severe Restrictions on Ammunition Sales!  On Tuesday, April 8, the Assembly Public Safety Committee will consider legislation that would require gun owners to obtain a “permit-to-purchase” before buying handgun ammunition.  Assembly Bill 2062 would require that law-abiding gun owners obtain a permit to buy handgun ammunition and would impose severe restrictions on the private transfers of handgun ammunition.  Applicants for a “permit-to-purchase” would be required to submit to a background check, pay a $35 fee, and wait as long as 30 days to receive the permit.  Under AB2062, it would be unlawful to privately transfer more than 50 rounds of ammunition per month, even between family and friends.  Ammunition retailers would have to be licensed and store ammunition in such a manner that it would be inaccessible to purchasers.  The bill would also require vendors to keep a record of the transaction including the ammunition buyer’s name, driver’s license, the quantity, caliber and type of ammunition purchased, and right thumbprint, which would be submitted to the Department of Justice or the number of his handgun ammunition purchase permit.  All ammunition sales in the State of California would be subject to a $3 per transaction tax.  Lastly, mail order ammunition sales would be prohibited.  Any violator of AB2062 would be subject to civil fines.  Please contact the members of the Assembly Public Safety Committee and your State Assembly Member TODAY and respectfully urge them to oppose this onerous attack on our Second Amendment freedoms.  Please click here for contact information.

Fish & Game Commission Regulatory Commission Proposal Seeking to Expand Scope of Lead Ammunition Ban!  Recently, the California Fish & Game Commission voted in favor of adopting regulations to strengthen Assembly Bill 821, legislation that would restrict the use of lead-cored centerfire rifle cartridges in certain areas of the state for hunting and taking of non-game animals.  The Commission’s proposals would expand the scope of AB821 to include ammunition for black powder firearms, pistol, and rimfire cartridges.  The proposals are intended to limit the use of such ammunition for hunting and taking of non-game animals.  These proposals will be voted on at the next Fish & Game Commission Meeting on Thursday, April 10 at 10:00 a.m. and Friday, April 11 at 8:30 a.m. at the UC Davis Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory Lecture Hall located at 2099 Westside Road in Bodega Bay.  Please attend the next meeting of the Fish & Game Commission to show your opposition to these attacks on our hunting heritage.  If you are unable to attend, please contact the commission and respectfully urge them to oppose these unwarranted and ill-conceived restrictions.  Contact information can be found by clicking here.

Second Amendment Documentary To Be Shown at L.A. Film Festival:  The pro-gun documentary, “In Search of the Second Amendment” will have its festival premiere at the Backlot Film Festival in Los Angeles, on Saturday, April 5, at 10:00 a.m.  The film stars twelve professors of constitutional law, plus former NRA President Sandy Froman, NRA Director Roy Innis, and attorneys/scholars Steve Halbrook and David Kopel. Tickets are only $5 ($3 for students and seniors). The pro-gun comedy “Lady Magdalene’s” will also show at the Backlot, on April 3, at 7:00 p.m.  The Backlot Film Festival will take place at The Veterans Memorial Building Auditorium, 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City, CA.  For more information on “In Search of the Second Amendment,” please visit http://www.secondamendmentdocumentary.com/ 

COLORADO:  Mandatory Storage Bill Sent to Senate Appropriations Committee!  Senate Bill 49 would force adults to store all their firearms under lock and key or face an undetermined misdemeanor penalty if a firearm is later used in a suicide or crime.  This dangerous bill renders homeowners defenseless and gives criminals a clear advantage in home invasions.  If passed, SB49 would add to the already cumbersome bureaucracy that affects gun shops, gun shows, or anywhere else firearms are sold, by requiring them to post a sign informing gun owners that they must lock up their guns.  Please contact the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and respectfully urge them to defeat this dangerous legislation.  Contact information for the Senate Appropriations Committee members can be found here.

CONNECTICUT:  Two Anti-Gun Bills Pending Vote in Committee!  The Judiciary Committee held hearings this week on Senate Bills 603 and 607.  SB603 would require all ammunition sold in Connecticut to be coded with an individual serial number (ammunition serialization) and entered into a statewide database at the time of sale.  Encoded ammunition would be registered to the purchaser and would include the date of transaction, the purchaser’s name, date of birth, driver’s license number, and the serial number of the ammunition.  All unserialized ammunition would have to be forfeited.  Also, SB607 would seek to ban the sale of semi-automatic handguns not equipped with so-called “micro-stamping” technology.  Micro-stamping is an unproven technology that would require identifying marks to be etched into the firing pin and breech face of a firearm.  It would also outlaw the private sale or transfer of long guns.  Please contact the individual members of the Judiciary Committee TODAY and respectfully urge them to oppose SB603 and SB607!   For contact information, please click here.  Also, please contact Governor Jodi Rell (R) at (860) 566-4840 and ask what her position is on SB603 and SB607.

DELAWARE:  “Landowner Liability Protection Act” Introduced!  House Bill 341, the “Landowner Liability Protection Act,” was introduced this week by State Representative William Carson (D-28).  This bill would make certain that landowners who allow public hunting access incur no liability for property damage or personal injuries caused by hunters -- regardless of whether the damage occurs on or off the landowner's property.  Please contact your State Legislators TODAY and urge them to support this crucial piece of legislation.  Contact information can be found here.

FLORIDA:  Your Action Needed Today Supporting Florida “Guns-Locked-Up-In-Your-Car-Bill”  Senate Bill 1130 by Senator Durell Peaden (R-Crestview) will protect your right to have a firearm in your car or truck for self-defense and other lawful purposes.  SB1130 has been scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Tuesday, March 25th at 12:45 pm.  It is now time to start sending emails to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to let them know how important this bill is to law-abiding gun owners who carry firearms in their vehicles for protection and other lawful purposes.  Please immediately send emails to members of the Committee and URGE THEM TO REMOVE  THE AMENDMENT THAT WAS ATTACHED IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE AND SUPPORT SB1130 by Senator Peaden.
Please click here for more information about the bill and how to make your voice heard.

GEORGIA:  Most Important Right-to-Carry Reform Bill in Over 20 Years Needs Your Help!  House Bill 89, critical Right-to-Carry Reform legislation, is being held up by the Georgia State Senate!   Back in January the Georgia House passed HB 89 by an overwhelming vote of 111 to 58.  THE SENATE IS STILL REFUSING TO CONCUR!  It is crucial that HB 89 be brought up for a FINAL floor vote.  HB 89 would make numerous improvements to Georgia’s right-to-carry law by expanding the areas where permit holders may carry to include state parks, public transportation, and restaurants; reduce the time limit to issue a permit, and allow permit holders to possess a firearm in any private motor vehicle while on any publicly accessible parking lot.  Help protect your right to self-defense in Georgia. Please call your State Senator, as well as State Senators Joseph Carter and Ronnie Chance, members of the Senate Conference Committee, today and urge them to bring HB 89 up for a final floor vote.  Senators Carter and Chance can be reached by phone at (404) 651-7738.  To find your Senator and contact information, please click here.  Please also call Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle at (404) 656-5030 or via email at casey.cagle@ltgov.ga.gov and Senate Majority Leader Tommie Williams at (404) 656-0089 or via email at tommie@tommiewilliams.com and urge them to request HB 89 come up for a final floor vote. 

IDAHO:  Range Protection Bill Passes Senate, Heads to Governor!  On Thursday, March 20, the Idaho Senate unanimously passed House Bill 604.  HB604 would protect Idaho’s shooting ranges from attacks such as noise complaints and local regulation.  HB604 now heads to the desk of Governor Butch Otter (R).  Please contact Governor Otter TODAY and respectfully urge him to sign HB604 into law.  The Governor can be reached by phone at 208-334-2100 or to send email, please visit http://gov.idaho.gov/WebRespond/contact_form.html.

Preemption Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk!  Important pro-gun legislation, Senate Bill 1441, passed the Idaho House and is now on its way to Governor Butch Otter (R) for his consideration.  SB1441 would make numerous improvements to Idaho’s preemption statutes by preventing municipalities from enacting local ordinances regulating firearms and ammunition.  Under current preemption statutes, uniform firearm regulations only exist within the realm of ownership, possession, and transportation.  SB1441 will codify into law that no county, city, or local government body can regulate the sale, acquisition, transfer, carry, and storage of firearms, adding them to the existing points of preemption.  The bill will also make clear that ammunition and firearm components are only to be regulated by the State of Idaho, not by local entities.  Uniform laws regulating firearms and ammunition are necessary to protect the constitutional rights of Idaho’s law-abiding gun owners and to prevent anti-gun municipalities from passing their own laws, which may conflict with state law.  Please contact Governor Otter TODAY and respectfully urge him to sign SB1441 into law.  The Governor can be reached by phone at 208-334-2100 or to send email, please visit http://gov.idaho.gov/WebRespond/contact_form.html.

ILLINOIS:  Your Help is Needed Today!  Rabid freedom-hating zealot, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin and the Cook County Board are conducting a telephone poll where callers can voice their opinion on ordinances that would close all gun shops as well as ban and confiscate most firearms owned by citizens of the county.  WE MUST NOT STAND IDLE!  THE FUTURE OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT IN COOK COUNTY AND ILLINOIS DEPENDS ON IT!  Please take the time to call-in TODAY and make your voice heard that you oppose these onerous attacks on our Second Amendment freedoms.  You do not have to be a resident of Cook County to vote.  To vote in the telephone poll, please call 1-312-603-6400 and select Option #1 when prompted. At the next prompt, select Option #1, again.  When prompted to vote on the gun control ordinance, press #2.  Finally, please forward this alert to your friends, family, and fellow gun owners and urge them to do the same. 

Legislative Update!  Several bills in the Illinois General Assembly are taking aim at our Second Amendment rights, including legislation to require the mandatory storage of all firearms, a ban on semi-automatic firearms, gun rationing, and more.  It is critical you call, write, and visit with your legislators today and respectfully ask them to oppose those bills that would further erode our rights in Illinois.  For more information on these threats and how to take action against them, please click here.

Controlled Pheasant Hunts Under Attack!  One of the efforts promoted by the anti-hunting “animal rights” extremists at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is calling for an end to state-run Pheasant Stocking Programs.  These programs provide game birds for hunting opportunities, but in Illinois, the program is under attack!  NRA has been told that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has been instructed by Governor Rod Blagojevich's (D) Administration, that “due to budget cuts,” it will have to close down pheasant propagation sites, thus putting an end to IDNR's Controlled Pheasant Hunts.  This, in spite of the fact that the program is heavily funded by fees paid by hunters, themselves.  While the Illinois General Assembly continues what seems to be a never-ending struggle over the Illinois budget, several Town Hall Meetings have been scheduled throughout the state to allow citizens to offer their input on budget-related issues.  Please click here find a listing of the dates, times, and locations of events.  We encourage hunters to attend and voice their opposition to ending these Controlled Pheasant Hunts.  Please make plans to attend one near you, and bring your fellow hunters and supporters of hunting along.

IOWA:  “Shall-Issue” Legislation Pending Action!  House File 2092, introduced by State Representative Clel Baudler (R-58) has been assigned a new bill number, House File 2613.  Like HF2092, HF2613 would change Iowa's concealed handgun law to make Iowa a “shall-issue” state.  Under HF2613, law-abiding persons 21 years of age or older would be eligible for a permit to carry a concealed handgun if they pass a training and marksmanship course.  Training would not be required for renewal of the permit to carry a firearm.  HF2613 is waiting to be placed on the House calendar.  Please contact your State Representative TODAY and urge them to place House File 2613 on the State House calendar.  Contact information can be found by clicking here.

Pro-Hunting Legislation Passes House, Heads to Senate for Consideration!  Last week, House File 2440, authored by State Representative Clel Baulder (R-58), passed out of the House of Representatives by a vote of 97-3. This bill now heads to the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee for consideration.  HF2440 would require an officer of the Department of Natural Resources to issue a certificate of completion of the hunter safety and ethics education course for members of the armed forces on active duty or who served in the armed forces at anytime so long as they were discharged under honorable conditions, are nonambulatory, and are accompanied by a person who is at least 18.  Please contact the members of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee TODAY and respectfully urge them to pass this HF2440.  Contact information can be found by clicking here.

KANSAS:  Emergency Powers Bill Advancing in Topeka!  Emergency Powers legislation, House Bill 2811, was passed to final action Thursday, March 20 in the House and a vote will likely take place on Monday, March 23.  HB2811 would prevent the State of Kansas from confiscating, registering, or regulating the lawful sale, possession, transfer, transport or carry of firearms during a state of emergency, such as occurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  This bill would protect Kansans’ right to self-defense, even during a declared state of emergency.  Please continue checking www.NRAILA.org for any updates.

MARYLAND:  Two Pro-Hunting Bills Pass Out of Environmental Affairs Committee!  This week, House Bill 840, introduced by State Delegate LeRoy Myers (D-1C), passed out of the House Environmental Matters Committee with a favorable report.  HB840 would authorize specified Sundays in October and November to be open to deer hunting with a bow and arrow on private property in Washington County.  Also passed was, House Bill 938, sponsored by the Montgomery County Delegation.  HB938 would permit deer hunting on private lands in Montgomery County. Both HB840 and HB938 head to the House floor for consideration.  Please contact your State Delegate and urge them to vote for both of these pro-hunting measures.  Contact information for your State Delegate can be found by clicking here.

“Castle Doctrine” Legislation Heads to House Floor!  This week, House Bill 1060, sponsored by State Delegate William Frank (R-42), passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and now heads to the House floor for consideration.  HB1060 would protect a law-abiding citizen from being liable for damages for a personal injury or death of an individual who enters a home or place of business with the intent to commit a crime.  Please contact your State Delegate TODAY and urge them to preserve your right to self-defense by supporting HB1060!  Contact information for your State Delegate can be found by clicking here.

"Lost or Stolen" Bill Defeated!  Last week, House Bill 880, authored by State Delegate Curt Anderson (D-43) at the request of the Baltimore City Administration, was defeated by a vote of 18 to 4 in the State House Judiciary Committee.  HB880 would have required the owner of a regulated firearm (handgun or so called “assault weapon”) to report its loss or theft to a local law enforcement agency within 72 hours after the owner discovers the firearm is missing.   Failure to report the loss or theft of a firearm within the allotted time would have been punishable up to 90 days in jail.  Please contact the members of the committee that voted to defeat this legislation and thank them for defending your Second Amendment rights.  Contact information can be found here.

MASSACHUSETTS:  Emergency Powers Bill Heads to Senate Floor for Consideration!  Senate Bill 1401, "An Act Prohibiting the Confiscation of Lawfully Owned Firearms During a State of Emergency", sponsored by State Senator Richard Moore (D-Worcester & Norfolk), is now moving to the Senate floor for possible consideration.  S1401 would protect our Second Amendment rights by prohibiting any government agency from confiscating or regulating the lawful sale, possession, transfer, transport and carry of firearms during a state of emergency, such as occurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Please contact your State Senator today at (617) 722-1455 and urge them to protect your Second Amendment rights by supporting S1401.  To identify your State Senator, please click here.

MINNESOTA:  Senate Seeking to Ban Lead Shot!  Introduced by State Senator Satveer Chaudhary (DFL-50), the Senate Omnibus Game and Fish Bill, Senate Fill 3385, contains a harmful provision that would ban the use of lead shot for hunting small game on public lands in Minnesota.  Lead alternatives are extremely expensive and many have reduced capabilities, which would only increasing wounding rates of game animals.  Please call members of the Senate Finance Committee and urge them to oppose banning lead shot and strike Article 3, Section59 from SF3385 before it’s to late.  Please click here for contact information.

MISSISSIPPI:  Shooting Range Protection Passes Senate Unanimously!  This past week, the Mississippi State Senate unanimously passed House Bill 346.  HB346 is the NRA-backed shooting range protection legislation sponsored by State Representative Warner McBride (D-10) and State Senator Walter Michel (R-25). This measure would ensure that Mississippi's shooting ranges would be protected from local noise and zoning ordinances aimed at shutting them down.  HB346 now heads back to the State House for concurrence with the Senate amendments.  Please keep checking your email and www.NRAILA.org for further updates on this important legislation.

MISSOURI:  Please join NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox at St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO, on Wednesday March 26th.    The St. Louis University Gun Awareness and Marksmanship Education (GAME) organization, and the St. Louis University College Republicans are sponsoring this event.  A reception will begin at 6:00 p.m., and Mr. Cox will be speaking at 7:00 p.m., in the St. Louis Room at the Busch Student Center, located at 20 North Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO  63103.  We hope to see you there!

NEW JERSEY:  One-Gun-A-Month Bill Heads to Assembly Floor for Vote!  On Monday, March 3, the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee passed Assembly Bill 339 by a 5-1 margin.  A339 would prohibit the purchase of more than one handgun per month by law-abiding citizens, even though buyers already have to pass a comprehensive background check.  Please contact your State Assembly members TODAY and respectfully urge them to oppose A339!  To find your Assembly member please click here.

Ammunition Encoding (Registration) Legislation Introduced!  Last week, Assembly Bill 2490, sponsored by State Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-18), was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.  A2490 would require all handgun ammunition manufactured or sold in New Jersey to be coded with a serialization number, and entered into a statewide database at the time of sale.  Encoded ammunition would be registered to the purchaser and would include the date of the transaction, the purchaser’s name, date of birth, driver’s license number, and the serial number of the ammunition.  The possession or sale of non-coded/serialized ammunition would be prohibited.  Please contact members of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee TODAY and respectfully urge them to oppose A2490.  Please click here for contact information.

NEW YORK:  Help Stop Anti-Gun Legislation Today!  After Governor David Paterson (D) was sworn in on Monday, in the wake of Eliot Spitzer's (D) rapid downfall and resignation, lawmakers went back to work. They have until the end of the month to pass an on-time budget, and then we anticipate they will again focus on legislative business.  Now would be a good time to call your legislators to voice your position to bills currently pending consideration.  NRA-opposed bills include A7331, expanding the ban on so-called “assault weapons”; A3451, expanding the ballistic imaging program; A2772, banning .50 caliber firearms; A829, requiring "childproof" firearms; A76, requiring mandatory storage; A6525, creating new requirements and liability for gun dealers; A3447, banning frangible ammunition, and A9543, a measure that would require black powder guns to be licensed as firearms.  Please call your State Legislators today at (518) 455-4100, and urge them to oppose the bills listed above.  To find your Assembly Member, click here.  To find your State Senator, click here.

Pro-Gun, Pro-Hunting Legislation Needs Your Help!  NRA-supported bills include S2733 and A10151, which would prohibit information contained within a pistol license application or information about a licensee from being shared with anyone other than a law enforcement agency for the purpose of conducting a criminal investigation, and S1284A, which creates a youth hunting mentor program, allowing individuals ages 14 and older to hunt with a licensed mentor, age 21 or older.  Please call your State Legislators today at (518) 455-4100 and urge them to support these NRA-backed measures. We'll be sure to keep you posted as to the status of all of the above-mentioned bills!  To find your Assembly Member, click here.  To find your State Senator, click here.

Hunting Under Discussion in the Management Plan for Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge:  Staff of the Iroquois NWR, a 10,000-acre refuge between Buffalo and Rochester, is launching the first stage in the process of developing a 15-year management plan for the refuge.  The first stage is to obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to consider.  The public is invited to comment until April 30, 2008.  It is important for the refuge staff to hear from hunters because the refuge is open to waterfowl, big game, small game, and turkey hunting.  We want to ensure that those hunting opportunities are inlcuded and enhanced in the new management plan.  Comments can be sent to northeastplanning@fws.gov.  Include “Iroquois NWR CCP/EA” in the subject line.  Information about public meetings to be held can be found at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/iroquois.  You may also call Thomas Roster, Project Leader, at (585) 948-5445.

PENNSYLVANIA:  Second Amendment Rally Scheduled!  Several Pennsylvania sportsmen's organizations have scheduled a Second Amendment rally at the State Capitol for Monday, April 7 starting at 10 A.M. (plan on being there at 9 A.M.) in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg.  This event will give Pennsylvania gun owners the opportunity to speak out against recently introduced anti-gun bills which include a “one-gun-a-month” gun rationing scheme and abolishing state preemption.

NRA Second Vice President David Keene to Speak at the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs Spring Convention!  David Keene, NRA’s Second Vice President, will address the members of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs (PFSC) at their Spring Convention banquet on Saturday, March 29.  The PFSC Spring Convention banquet and awards ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. and be held at the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, located at 100 Adams Avenue in Scranton. For tickets or more information, please contact the PFSC at (717) 232-3480 or email info@pfsc.org.

Hunting Under Discussion in the Management Plan for Erie National Wildlife Refuge:  Staff of the Erie NWR, an 8,800-acre refuge 35 miles south of Lake Erie in northwestern PA, is launching the first stage in the process of developing a 15-year management plan for the refuge.  The first stage is to obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to consider.  The public is invited to comment until April 30, 2008.  It is important for the refuge staff to hear from hunters because the refuge is open to waterfowl, big game, small game, and turkey hunting.  We want to ensure that those hunting opportunities are included and enhanced in the new management plan.  Comments can be sent to northeastplanning@fws.gov.  Include “Erie NWR CCP/EA” in the subject line.  Information about public meetings to be held can be found at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/erie.  You may also call Thomas Roster, Project Leader, at (585) 948-5445.

RHODE ISLAND:  “Microstamping” Legislation Awaiting Consideration!  Two bills that would ban the sale of semi-automatic handguns not equipped with so-called "microstamping" technology are currently awaiting action in the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.  Senate Bill 2720 and House Bill 7834 would require identifying marks to be etched into the firing pin and breech face of a firearm in a manner that these marks are transferred to the cartridge case upon firing.  Microstamping is an unproven technology that can easily be defeated with household tools, has no public safety value, and would add substantially to the cost of the firearm.  Please contact members of the State Senate and State House Judiciary Committees and urge them to oppose S2720 and H7884!  Contact information can be found by clicking here.

SOUTH CAROLINA:  Update on Several Important Pro-Gun Bills!  Several bills impacting your right to self-defense and hunting heritage are in various stages of the legislative process in South Carolina, including Right-to-Carry reciprocity legislation and a measure to restrict the release of information regarding Right-to-Carry permit holders.  Please click here for more information and on how to take action.

TENNESSEE:  Pro-Gun Bills Defeated!  On Wednesday, March 19, numerous Right-to-Carry reform bills were defeated.  Several additional bills were deferred until Wednesday, April 2.  Please click here for more information and on how to take action.

Update on Right to Hunt and Fish Amendment!  The Tennessee State House unanimously passed House Joint Resolution 108 with NRA-backed amendments on Monday, March 17.  This important legislation, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (D-25) and State Representative Joe McCord (R-08), proposes an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution recognizing the citizens’ right to hunt and fish.  The final language of the Resolution incorporates NRA’s model language and provides truly meaningful protections against the radical anti-hunting activists who seek to ban all hunting in America.  The ultimate adoption of this constitutional amendment will preserve Tennessee’s rich hunting and fishing traditions for generations to come.  Due to the fact that the Tennessee Constitution stipulates that any change of the constitution must be passed in two consecutive General Assemblies before it can be placed on the ballot for consideration, this has been a long and difficult process.  With the passage of HJR108 out of the House, we are another step closer.  HJR108 must be heard and passed in next year’s 106th General Assembly, the final step of the process.  This is good news as we look forward to continued success in the subsequent General Assembly and HJR108’s placement on the 2010 ballot.

UTAH:  Governor Signs Emergency Powers Bill!  On Monday, March 17, Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. (R) signed Senate Bill 157 into law.  SB157, sponsored by State Senator Mark Madsen (R-13), would prevent the state of Utah from restricting the possession, transfer, sale, transport, storage, display, or use of firearms or ammunition during a declared state of emergency.  Simply put, this legislation will prevent government authorities from confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens, such as occurred in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Thank you to all the NRA members who answered the call in support of SB157.  Your action played a pivotal role in the enactment of this much-needed legislation.  Without you this victory would have been impossible.  Please contact Governor Huntsman TODAY and thank him for his support of our Second Amendment freedoms.  You can leave comments for Governor Huntsman by clicking here or by calling him at (801) 538-1000.

VIRGINIA:  Charles City County Seeking Ban on Rifle Hunting!  As we reported last week, Charles City County is considering making revisions to its hunting regulations that could negatively impact hunting with rifles. Such a decision could eliminate precious hunting opportunities and would discourage hunters from taking to the woods to pass their hunting heritage on to the next generation and to help manage Virginia’s wildlife.  It is critical that hunters attend the Charles City County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Government & School Board Administration Building, 10900 Courthouse Road, Charles City, VA 23030 to oppose changes to the county ordinances governing the use of rifles for deer hunting. In the meantime, please contact each member of the Charles City County Board of Supervisors and strongly encourage them to refrain from making any changes to county regulations that have proven to be successful. Also, please be sure to pass this information along to your family, friends, and fellow hunters.  Please click here for contact information.

WASHINGTON:  Governor Signs Pro-Hunting Legislation!  On Thursday, March 13, Governor Chris Gregoire (D) signed House Bill 2438 into law.  HB2438 will extend a pilot program that would permit certain counties to allow the pursuit and taking of cougars with the aid of dogs.  It will also permit counties that are not part of the pilot program and which are experiencing cougar management problems to opt-in to the program.  The bill will go into effect on June 12, 2008.  HB2438 will help ensure public safety in Washington and protect private property, livestock, as well as human life and safety.  Thank you to all the NRA members who answered the call in support of HB2438.  Your action played a pivotal role in the enactment of this much-needed legislation.  Without you this victory would have been impossible.  Please contact the Governor TODAY and thank her for signing this vital hunting initiative.  You can call Governor Gregoire at (360) 902-4111 or fax her a letter at (360) 753-4110.  To send an email, please visit http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/default.asp.

WEST VIRGINIA:  Important Pro-Gun, Pro-Hunting Bill Moves to Governor's Desk!  On Friday, March 7, the State House passed Senate Bill 9 by a 90-6 vote.  Introduced by State Senator Billy Wayne Bailey (D-9), SB9 would mandate firearm and hunter safety education programs be offered in public schools for students in the eighth through twelfth grades.  However, it would not be mandatory that students take the course.  This is important legislation that will allow children to learn to hunt safely and ethically from an early age.  They will also learn how to handle firearms safely while hunting, while participating in sport competitions, or at home.  Completion of the course will enable students to obtain their hunting licenses.  SB9 will now head to the desk of Governor Joe Manchin (D) for consideration.  Please contact Governor Manchin and respectfully urge him to sign this critical bill.  The Governor can be reached by phone at (304) 558-2000 or email Governor@WVGov.org.

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