In D.C., Baby Steps Toward Gun Law Sanity
NRA-ILA GRASSROOTS ALERT, Vol. 19, No. 09 03/02/12

Posted on March 2, 2012

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In D.C., Baby Steps Toward Gun Law Sanity

Since the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision overturning Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban in District of Columbia v. Heller, our nation’s capital has stood nearly alone in its level of contempt for residents’ Second Amendment rights. Two recent developments may give hope for a turn for the better.

First, an NRA-supported case has ended in victory for residents of the District of Columbia’s public housing system, as the D.C. Housing Authority has finally changed its lease provisions to allow lawful gun possession in its properties. The case, brought by 66-year old William L. Scott, has now been dismissed in light of the change. This is an important victory, because gun bans in public housing are aimed squarely at low-income residents of high-crime areas, who may have an urgent need to be armed for self-defense.

The victory puts an end to the housing authority’s defiance and foot-dragging in the face of multiple court decisions. The gun ban was put in place in January 2008, even though the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit had already ruled that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right to keep firearms in the home. Only a year after that ruling was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller—and after prompting by Mr. Scott’s attorneys—did the housing authority even propose amending its leases. But the new lease changes were never made final until now, months after Mr. Scott filed suit in July 2011.
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Another Tragedy Results from the Obama Administration's Fast and Furious Scandal:  Three months ago, Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress that guns illegally supplied to drug cartels in Mexico -- as part of the Obama Administration's "Fast and Furious" scandal -- would continue to show up at crime scenes "for years to come."

Unfortunately, this is the most honest declaration to come out of Holder's Justice Department since this deadly scheme first surfaced.

This week, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox wrote an article for Townhall.com about another tragedy resulting from the deadly scandal.  To read the article, please click here.

Important Hunting and Sportsmen's Legislation Needs Your Help:  On February 29, H.R. 4089, the “Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012” was marked up by the U.S. House’s Natural Resources Committee.  This legislation promotes America’s hunting heritage and will positively impact sportsmen throughout the country.  For these reasons, NRA fully supports this bill.
Read more… 

Anti-Hunting Sentiment Reaches Fever Pitch in California LegislatureIn the sort of extremist hysteria one would only think possible in a PETA or HSUS propaganda film, dozens of anti-hunting members of the California Senate and Assembly are calling for the removal of Dan Richards as President of the California Fish and Game Commission.  Are these calls for his removal sparked by accusations of malfeasance in public office or the commission of a crime?  No!  They have been inspired by the fact that Richards chose to LEGALLY hunt a mountain lion in Idaho just like thousands of ethical, law-abiding hunter-conservationists have done before him.  Read more…

Demand Action on National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act:  As we have been previously reporting, in November, the ongoing effort to fully vindicate the fundamental, individual right to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense took a major step forward with House passage of H.R. 822, the “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011.” The bill, sponsored by Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), which has 245 cosponsors, was approved in the U.S. House of Representatives by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 272-154
Read more…

Grassroots Campaigning In a National Election Year:  Plan to attend free Grassroots Workshop at NRA’s upcoming Annual Meetings in St. Louis, MO!

FREE

Friday, April 13, 2012
9:00 a.m. (Registration and free continental breakfast from 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.)
Renaissance St. Louis Hotel
800 Washington Avenue, Landmark Ballrooms 1-3, Lobby Level
St. Louis, MO 63101
(314) 621-9600

Read more…

Grassroots News Minute Video:  To view this week’s “Grassroots News Minute” video, please click here: 


STATE ROUNDUP  (Please note the only items listed below are those that have had recent action.  For other updates on state legislation, please go to the state legislation section at www.NRAILA.org, and check each week’s issue of the Grassroots Alert.)

For additional information, please click on the links provided.

ALABAMA: Employee Protection Bills Introduced
The 2012 session of the Alabama Legislature is underway and two bills have been introduced that would further protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners in Alabama: Senate Bill 331 and House Bill 209.  These NRA-drafted bills would prevent employers from discriminating and enforcing policies against the storage of lawfully-owned firearms in employees' locked private motor vehicles parked at work. This bill has been referred to the state Senate Business and Labor Committee and could be heard as early as Thursday, March 8.

ALASKA: Self-Defense Reform Bill Scheduled for Senate Committee Hearing
House Bill 80 is an important self-defense bill that would provide that a law-abiding person, who is justified in using deadly force in self-defense, has “no duty to retreat” from an attack if the person is in any place the person has a legal right to be. HB 80 passed in the state House at the end of last session and has finally been assigned a hearing date in the state Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 7.

ARIZONA: Pro-Hunting Legislation Passes House and Sent to Senate
On February 28, the Arizona House of Representatives voted 42 to 14 to send House Bill 2728 to the state Senate for its consideration.  This NRA-backed pro-hunting legislation, introduced by state Representative David Gowan (R-30), now awaits committee assignment in the Senate. Enactment of HB 2728 would allow hunters in Arizona to use lawfully-possessed suppressors (also referred to as silencers) on firearms for hunting.

Volunteers Needed to Help Clean the Table Mesa Recreation Area
On March 10, the Virtual Jeep Club of Arizona is sponsoring a clean-up of the Table Mesa Recreation Area, just north of Phoenix at I-17 and Table Mesa Road (exit 236).  Table Mesa is a popular destination for recreationists and one of the most popular recreational shooting locations in the Phoenix metro area.  Unfortunately, not all recreationists who use Table Mesa pack out what they pack in, so volunteers are periodically needed to help pick up trash.

NRA University is coming to Arizona!

Be sure to join NRA-ILA Staff for this two-hour training seminar, where you will learn more about NRA, the Second Amendment, and the gun control debate. NRA-ILA staff will provide you with the tools you’ll need to become a more effective activist in your own community. Students will receive a FREE one-year NRA membership and FOOD WILL BE PROVIDED!

If you plan to attend the following events, please confirm on our Facebook page or at NRAU@nrahq.org:

NRA University at the University of Northern Arizona
Monday, March 5, 2012 at 6:00pm
DuBois Center - Agassiz Room, Flagstaff, AZ
http://www.facebook.com/events/377543638925951/

NRA University at the University of Arizona
Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 6:00pm
Biology West building, room 219
http://www.facebook.com/events/358248784195673/

CALIFORNIA: Anti-Hunting Sentiment Reaches Fever Pitch in State Legislature
In the sort of extremist hysteria one would only think possible in a PETA or HSUS propaganda film, dozens of anti-hunting members of the California Senate and Assembly are calling for the removal of Dan Richards as President of the California Fish and Game Commission. Please contact your state Senator and Assemblyman, and urge that he or she oppose any effort to remove Dan Richards from office.  Your contact is critical because a vote to remove Dan Richards by the California Legislature is all that’s needed to allow the minority of radicals to prevail in their quest. 

COLORADO: Emergency Powers Bill to be Heard in Senate Committee on Monday
House Bill 1064 was assigned to the Colorado Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and is scheduled to be heard this Monday, March 5.  NRA-drafted HB 1064 would prohibit the state or any government agency, during a declared state of emergency, from prohibiting or restricting the otherwise lawful possession, use, carrying, transfer, transportation, storage, or display of a firearm or ammunition; seizing or confiscating a lawfully possessed firearm, or requiring registration of a firearm or ammunition for which registration is not otherwise required by law.

FLORIDA: Pro-Gun Bill Passes Florida Senate Today
On March 2, the state Senate unanimously voted to pass House Bill 463.  This legislation will allow military personnel under the age of 21, who are otherwise qualified, to get a Florida concealed weapons license.  This bill also contains language to prohibit the reckless discharge of firearms in neighborhoods.  HB 463 unanimously passed in the state House on February 23.  This bill will now head to the Governor.

GEORGIA: Employee Protection Legislation to be Offered as Senate Floor Amendment
State Senator Don Balfour (R-9) intends to introduce a floor amendment to Senate Bill 350 which could come up for a vote on the Senate floor in the next few days.  This amendment would allow transportation and storage of firearms in locked personal vehicles while on publicly-accessible parking lots.

INDIANA: State House Gives Final Approval to Critical Castle Doctrine Legislation for Homeowners
On March 1, by a 74 to 24 vote, the state House of Representatives passed critical Castle Doctrine legislation that would return hundreds of years of common law and civil liberties protections to Hoosiers.  As previously reported, SB 1 became necessary after a disastrous state Supreme Court decision last May concluded that public policy did not favor the longstanding and widely recognized right of an individual to resist an illegal trespass by a police officer, a right that had also been recognized by state statute.

NRA-Backed Pro-Hunting Legislation Dies Due to House Parliamentary Procedure
Due to a missed committee deadline, the language from NRA-backed Senate Bill 243 was amended into the Natural Resources Omnibus bill, House Bill 1279. However, due to new rules adopted by the House of Representatives for this legislative session, if a bill does not get a hearing in a House committee, it cannot be accepted into another House bill. Unfortunately, this means that the pro-hunting language from SB 243 will be removed from HB 1279 in conference committee, and will not be allowed to move forward this session. This legislation would have allowed legalized the use of suppressors for hunting.

IOWA: House Passes Two NRA-Backed Pro-Gun Bills
February 29 was an eventful day in Des Moines for pro-gun advocates that began with the House Democratic caucus’ mass exodus from the state capitol in protest of the scheduled consideration of two NRA priority pro-gun bills.  Despite the fact that the Republican majority had a quorum and could have passed legislation without the Democratic caucus, action was delayed until the caucus returned late in the afternoon.  Once normal order was restored, gun owners in the Hawkeye State saw the Right to Keep and Bear Arms state constitutional amendment amended to the original NRA-supported language and passed.  Gun owners then saw the passage of Stand Your Ground legislation.  Both of these bills will now be sent to the state Senate for committee assignment and consideration. 

KENTUCKY: Management Plan for Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge Available for Comment
The Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge is located in western Kentucky in an area known as the Jackson Purchase.  The Refuge averages approximately 2 to 3 miles wide, and extends about 20 miles from near Paducah to just south of Benton.  The Refuge provides hunting, fishing and other wildlife-dependent public activities.  A new plan has been written for the Refuge to guide its management for the next 15 years.  The plan can be reviewed at http://southeast.fws.gov, under “Draft Documents.”  Comments are being accepted until March 16th and can be emailed to Tina Chouinard at tina_chouinard@fws.gov.  For further information you may contact her at 731-432-0981.  If you enjoy hunting and/or fishing on this Refuge, please take the time to submit comments in support of continuing, and even expanding, these opportunities.

MISSISSIPPI: Pro-Gun Legislation on the Move in Jackson
On February 28, the state House of Representatives voted to approve three NRA-backed bills, which will now be sent to the state Senate for its consideration. House Bill 455 seeks to repeal the state recordkeeping requirement for licensed firearm dealers.  House Bill 627 would prohibit state and local participation in gun “buy-back” programs unless the agency or governmental entity offers all surrendered firearms for sale at auction to federal firearm licensed dealers. House Bill 695 would require Mississippi to recognize any valid out-of-state carry permit.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Management Plan for Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge Addresses Hunting
A draft plan for the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge has been released for public comment until March 12The 1100-acre Refuge is located in Newington and covers a portion of the former Pease Air Force Base.  Currently the Refuge offers a two-day deer hunt each fall.  The Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to expand hunting opportunities under Alternative B, its preferred management approach, to include turkey hunting and a bow season for deer.  Alternative C would further expand general public use.  When the plan is made final it will guide management of the refuge for the next fifteen years.  It is important that hunters participate during the comment period by submitting comments in support of keeping the refuge open to hunting and encouraging the Service to expand hunting opportunities.  Comments can be submitted online at www.northeastplanning@fws.gov.  You can view the document at www.fws.gov/northeast/planning/Great%20bay/ccphome.html.  For further information you may contact Refuge Manager Graham Taylor at fw5rw_prnwr@fws.gov.

OKLAHOMA: Emergency Powers Legislation Passes Senate Public Safety Committee
On February 27, Senate Bill 1760 passed the Senate Public Safety Committee by an overwhelming bipartisan 8 to 1 vote. This substantial emergency powers reform legislation, that would guarantee your Second Amendment right during a declared state of emergency, now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration. While there is not a specific date for a vote at this time, your NRA will keep you informed of this legislation as it continues to move through the legislative process.

Landowner's Hunting Freedom Act Passes Senate Committee
On February 27, NRA-backed Senate Bill 1743 passed in the state Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee by a 10 to 1 vote.  Known as the “Landowner’s Hunting Freedom Act," SB 1743 would allow Oklahoma landowners and their guests to use lawfully-possessed suppressors (also referred to as silencers) on firearms for hunting.  This legislation will now be sent to the Senate floor for consideration, and could be voted on any time in the coming weeks. 

New Management Plan Underway for Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the preparation of a new plan that will guide the management of the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge for the next fifteen years.  The 20,800-acre refuge is located in Sequoyah, Muskogee, and Haskell Counties and was established on the Robert S. Kerr Reservoir as an overlay of a US Army Corps of Engineers’ project expressly for migratory waterfowl.  Hunting and fishing are the largest public uses on the Refuge.  The Service is asking the public to submit suggestions and comments on the scope of issues to consider during the planning process.  Public comments are being accepted until April 10 and can be sent online to www.SequoyahNWRCCP-EIS@fws.gov.  For further information, you may contact Refuge Manager Jeff Haas at 918-773-5251 ext. 29.  In its announcement, the Service noted that there are members of the public who want hunting and fishing reduced or eliminated, so it is imperative that hunters and anglers send the Refuge comments in support of maintaining, and even expanding, access and opportunities for hunting and fishing on the Sequoyah.

OREGON: CHL Confidentiality Bill Heads to Governor
On March 2, the state House concurred with the Senate amendments to House Bill 4045 by a 54 to 6 vote.  Following today’s House concurrence, HB 4045 now goes to Governor Kitzhaber for his consideration. Sponsored by state Representative Kim Thatcher (R-25), HB 4045 is a necessary legislative fix because under current law, the private personal information of every person holding a CHL in Oregon is at risk of being divulged to the public.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Political Maneuver Defeats Employee Protection Bill in Committee On February 24, the South Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5 to 2 to defer consideration of House Bill 1132 until the forty-first day of a forty day session. This politically motivated, procedural tactic effectively killed one of the NRA’s top legislative priorities for the 2012 session. Despite what gun control advocates claim, the true purpose of HB 1132 was to ensure the constitutional right of self-defense for all employed South Dakotans. Allowing South Dakotans to store their guns safely in their locked personal vehicles while at work is a sensible way to strike a balance between the private property rights of employers and the self-defense rights of law-abiding gun owners.

TENNESSEE: Employee Protection Bills to be Voted on Tuesday in Senate Committee
On March 6, the state Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Senate Bill 3002 and the state Senate Commerce, Labor & Agriculture Committee will vote on Senate Bill 2992.  These NRA-drafted bills would prevent employers from discriminating and enforcing policies against the storage of lawfully-owned firearms in employees' locked private motor vehicles parked at work.  

TEXAS: Parks and Wildlife Commission Opens Public Comment Period for Allowing Suppressor Use While Hunting
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is seeking public comment on a proposed rule change allowing the use of suppressors (also referred to as silencers) on firearms for the hunting of game species.  Currently, Texas law permits the use of lawfully-possessed suppressors for all other shooting activities, including the taking of nuisance species.  Enactment of this rule change would ensure that hunting is treated the same way as other shooting activities with respect to the use of suppressors, and allow all hunters to reap the many benefits suppressor use provides.

VIRGINIA: Legislation to Repeal One-Gun-a-Month Signed into Law by the Governor
On February 27, Governor Bob McDonnell signed House Bill 940 into law. This legislation repeals Virginia's prohibition of purchasing more than one handgun per month. Today, only three states - California, Maryland and New Jersey - have these burdensome statutes. Sponsored by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31), House Bill 940 passed in the Virginia Senate by a 21 to 19 vote and in the House of Delegates by a 66 to 32 vote. The companion legislation, Senate Bill 323, was sponsored by state Senator Bill Carrico (R-40).  This legislation will go into effect on July 1.

Governor Bob McDonnell Signs Emergency Powers Reform Bill into Law!
On March 1, Governor Bob McDonnell signed House Bill 20, emergency powers reform into law.  HB 20 had originally passed unanimously in the state House and on concurrence from the amended state Senate version, which passed by a 36 to 4 vote.  House Bill 20, drafted by the NRA and sponsored by Delegate Tony Wilt (R-25), would update Virginia’s Emergency Powers doctrine by adding lawful carrying and transportation to the list of actions that cannot be prohibited during a declaration of emergency.  This legislation will go into effect on July 1.

Planning Process Underway for James River National Wildlife Refuge
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is writing a new management plan for the James River National Wildlife Refuge which is located along the James River in Prince George County, eight miles southeast of Hopewell and thirty miles southeast of Richmond. The 4,325-acre refuge is open to deer hunting.  The USFWS is inviting public comments to help shape management decisions on the refuge for the next fifteen years. Once a plan is drafted it will be made available for public review and comment.  The Service has identified several preliminary issues, concerns, and opportunities, including the amount and distribution of public use.  If you want to become involved in the planning process, you may submit comments to fw5rw_evrnwr@fws.gov.  Please include “James River CCP” in the subject line.  For further information you may call Meghan Carfioli, the Planning Team Leader, at 804-829-5413.

WASHINGTON: Anti-Gun Senators Attempt to Exploit Tragedy
Anti-gun state Senator Adam Kline (D-37) and two other state Senators have introduced Senate Bill 6628, an unnecessary firearm storage bill, in an attempt to exploit the recent tragic shooting at a Bremerton elementary school. SB 6628 would single out firearms in the Washington statutes and make it a crime if a child obtains access to a loaded firearm that was stored in a location where the person reasonably knows that a child is likely to gain access.  This is already covered in Washington’s Reckless Endangerment statute!

Three Pro-Gun Bills Killed
The NRA thanks you for your efforts in supporting House Bill 1508, legislation to protect existing shooting ranges, House Bill 2471, a background check reform bill, and Senate Bill 6123, an NRA special license plate bill. Unfortunately, these bills were not scheduled for hearings in their respective committees prior to the February 24 deadline, and are effectively dead for this legislative session.  For more information on each of the abovementioned bills, please see our previous alerts.

WEST VIRGINIA: Apprentice Hunting Bill Passes House Committee
On March 1, the state House Natural Resources Committee voted in favor of Senate Bill 478 with a “do pass” recommendation.  This apprentice hunting legislation was then assigned to the state House Finance Committee where it now awaits a hearing date.  Sponsored by state Senate Majority Leader John Unger (D-16), SB 478 would create an apprentice hunting license that is available to West Virginia residents and non-residents.

West Virginia Senate Unanimously Passes Firearms Destruction Prevention Legislation
After passing in the state Senate Judiciary Committee and in the state Senate Finance Committee on February 27, Senate Bill 149 was passed in the West Virginia Senate unanimously on February 29.  We expect SB 149 to soon be assigned to the state House Judiciary Committee for its consideration.

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