Washington Supreme Court Puts an End to Gun Ban in Seattle Parks
Vol. 19, No. 10 03/09/12

Posted on March 9, 2012

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Washington Supreme Court Puts an End to Gun Ban in Seattle Parks

The Washington state Supreme Court has declined to review an October decision by the state Court of Appeals, reaffirming that the gun ban in Seattle's parks is illegal. This order marks a final victory for Seattle-area gun owners, the National Rifle Association, and the Second Amendment Foundation, who had joined together to block enforcement of the ban.

"The Washington Supreme Court made the right decision in recognizing that the city violated state law," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.  "This decision is a clear indication why it's critically important for states to enact strong preemption laws, to prevent local governments from imposing a patchwork of firearm restrictions."  Read more…

Maryland Judge Rules Key Portion of State's Gun Laws Unconstitutional:  In a big win for gun rights in Maryland, this week, a federal judge ruled a key portion of the state's gun laws unconstitutional.  Judge Benson Everett Legg declared that Maryland's requirement for a "good and substantial reason" to obtain a concealed-carry permit violates the Second Amendment protection of the right to keep and bear arms.  Read more…

Veterans Administration Overdoses on Anti-Gun Prescription:  "The presence of firearms in households has been linked to increased risk of injury or death for everyone in or around the home" and "Firearms in the home can increase the possibility of completing suicide." Not only that, while locking up guns is a good idea, "The best way to reduce gun risks is to remove the gun from your home. . . . The safest action is to get rid of the guns." 

Sounds familiar, of course. But this time, the anti-gun propaganda isn't from one of the handful of people in the medical field that the Joyce Foundation pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to write up "studies" characterizing guns as too dangerous for private individuals to possess. Instead, it's from a federal government entity whose employees apparently read such stuff and, through some combination of naïveté, ignorance and bias, fall for it.

In this instance, the anti-gun message comes from the Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of the Medical Inspector and Geriatrics and Extended Care Strategic Healthcare Group. The VA's statements appear in a pamphlet called "Firearms and Dementia," which, the name of the pamphlet notwithstanding, is directed at anyone who has a child, in addition to people who are responsible for individuals suffering from decreased mental acuity.  Read more…


  

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…
 
Act Now!  Demand Passage of 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.

Please be sure to contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to pass the "National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011" immediately!  Read more…
 
Grassroots Campaigning In a National Election Year:  Plan to attend this free training event 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…

Hunters' Rights Special Presentation at NRA Annual Meetings:
  Threats to hunter's rights are escalating--and diversifying.  To see what you can do about it, please plan to attend a special presentation devoted to hunters' rights issues at this year's NRA Annual Meetings in St. Louis, MO.  Read more…

Grassroots News Minute Video: 
There will be no Grassroots News Minute video this week.

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.

ALASKA: Self-Defense Reform Bill Granted Second Senate Committee Hearing
House Bill 80, introduced by state Representative Mark Neuman (R-15), 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 that person has a legal right to be.  The next hearing is scheduled for Friday, March 16, at 1:30 p.m. in BELTZ 105.

ARIZONA: Firearms Preemption Bill Sent to the State Senate
On March 6, the Arizona House of Representatives voted 37 to 21 to pass House Bill 2729, an important firearms preemption bill. HB2729 will now be sent to the state Senate where it will be assigned to appropriate committees for consideration.

Two Pro-Hunting Bills Clear Senate Judiciary Committee
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed two NRA-backed pro-hunting bills.  By a 6 to 2 vote, the committee gave “do pass” recommendations to both House Bill 2728, hunting with suppressors legislation, and House Bill 2640, legislation to eliminate magazine capacity restrictions when hunting.  These bills now go to the Senate floor for consideration.

CALIFORNIA: Legislature and Governor Still Need to Hear Your Support of Commissioner Richards
On Tuesday, the California Fish and Game Commission held a meeting in Riverside.  This meeting was standing room only and an overflow room was also filled with supporters for Commissioner Dan Richards.  Recently, Dan Richards, President of the California Fish and Game Commission, went on a successful and legal mountain lion hunt in Idaho.  The extremist organizations, such as HSUS, saw this as an opportunity to rid the Commission of a life-long hunter who opposes their radical agenda to ultimately ban all hunting in California and, eventually, in America.

Comments Needed to Keep Forest Area Open to Shooters
For over 50 years, the Candy Rock Quarry in the Stanislaus National Forest has been open for recreational shooting.  The quarry is located in Calaveras County, near the towns of Hathaway Pines and Avery.  The quarry is one of the locations in the Forest’s Calaveras Ranger District that is actively used by recreationists for target shooting.  The Forest Service recently issued a Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to address whether recreational shooting is an appropriate activity at Candy Rock Quarry in the context of safety, public health, and applicable law and if it is, determine the conditions under which shooting may continue. 

CONNECTICUT:
Governor Cuts Funding for Pheasant Stocking Program
In a move that negatively impacts Connecticut’s hunting heritage, Governor Dan Malloy has decided that cutting the state’s pheasant stock program has suddenly become necessary.  This self-sustaining program is budgeted at $160,000, but in reality draws nothing from the General Fund and would actually cost the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) revenue through reduced license sales.  After taking a closer look at the money being “saved,” the $160,000 is actually the amount of money generated by the program last year and had been set aside for stocking this year’s program.

FLORIDA: Landowner Liability Bill Passes State Senate
On March 7, the Florida Senate overwhelmingly passed House Bill 313 by a 38 to 1 vote.  This legislation will limit the liability of landowners who contract with the state to allow private land to be used by members of the public for hunting, fishing and other recreational purposes.  This bill will now head to the Governor.

Pro-Gun Bill Passes Florida Senate
On March 2, the state Senate unanimously passed 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 Amendment Dies Due to Lack of Senate Leadership
In a disappointing turn of events yesterday, a proposed amendment by state Senator Don Balfour (R-9), that would have allowed all lawful citizens to store a firearm locked and out of sight in their own personal vehicle on publicly accessible private parking lots, was never given a chance or vote on the Senate floor.

ILLINOIS: Anti-Gun Bills Await Further Action
The anti-gun extremists are active in Springfield, with numerous bills which attack our Right to Keep and Bear Arms poised for possible action, including floor votes.  The House Executive Committee passed House Bill 5167, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s bill to impose a 2% sales tax on ammunition and House Bill 5831, a Handgun Registration Bill.  In addition to Rahm’s bills, three other anti-gun bills remain poised for House committee action.

IOWA: Three NRA-Priority Bills Need Your Immediate Help in the Senate
After House passage last week of NRA-initiated House File 2215, the Stand Your Ground/Castle Doctrine Enhancement, and House Joint Resolution 2009, a proposed constitutional amendment protecting the right to keep and bear arms, there are three NRA bills that have passed in the state House and are now awaiting Senate committee and floor consideration.  It is now very important that you contact your state Senator and urge him or her to support these bills both in committee and when they are considered on the Senate floor.

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. 

MAINE: State House to Vote on Employee Protection Bill
This Monday, March 12, the Maine House of Representatives is expected to vote on Legislative Document 1603. This NRA-backed legislation, introduced by state Representative Dale Crafts (R-104), would allow a state employee, who has a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm, to store a firearm in his or her personal vehicle on state property as long as that vehicle is locked and the firearm is not visible.

MARYLAND:
Annual Legislation Attacking Firearms Dealers sent to Senate Floor
The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 6 to 5 to send Senate Bill 512 to the Senate floor for debate and consideration. SB 512 is a perennial bill by anti-gun legislators in Maryland which would impose unnecessary hurdles in an attempt to discourage people from filing for a state-regulated firearms dealer license.

MICHIGAN: Bill to Repeal Restrictions on Rifle and Shotgun Purchases
Recently state Senator Tom Casperson (R-38) introduced Senate Bill 984, legislation that would allow Michigan residents to purchase long guns in any other state as long as they comply with current federal firearms laws.  It would also allow non-residents to purchase rifles and shotguns in Michigan.  SB 984 has been referred to the state Senate Committee on Outdoor Recreation and Tourism.

MINNESOTA: Statement from Chris W. Cox, Executive Director, NRA – Institute for Legislative Action on Governor Mark Dayton's Veto of House File 1467
The National Rifle Association is deeply disappointed in Governor Dayton’s veto of House File 1467 – an omnibus bill that included a number of key firearms law reforms in Minnesota.  This bill passed both chambers of the Minnesota legislature with broad bipartisan support. 

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 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.

NEW MEXICO: Governor Martinez Signs NRA-Backed Interstate Long Gun Purchase Bill
On March 6, Governor Susana Martinez signed Senate Bill 26 into law, which repeals Section 30-7-9 of the New Mexico Criminal Code.  Repeal of this law eliminates this restrictive language and will enable law-abiding New Mexicans to purchase long guns in any state, including non-contiguous states, and residents of any state, including non-contiguous states, to purchase long guns in New Mexico.

NORTH CAROLINA: City of Greensboro Postpones Vote on Right to Carry Restrictions
Thanks to pressure from supporters of self-defense, the Greensboro City Council did not adopt its proposed ordinance to restrict Right-to-Carry (RTC) permittees from lawfully carrying their personal protection firearms in certain city parks.  The ordinance itself was not defeated by a vote, but only delayed for future consideration. 

OKLAHOMA: Omnibus Firearms Bill Sent to Senate
On Wednesday, March 7, House Bill 2522 was given final passage in the state House by an 85 to 9 vote and was transmitted to the state Senate for consideration.  This bill, authored by state Representative Steve Martin (R-10), is an NRA-backed omnibus firearm bill which would make significant improvements to Oklahoma’s gun laws.

Emergency Powers Legislation Passes Senate Public Safety Committee
On February 27, Senate Bill 1760 passed in the Senate Public Safety Committee by a bipartisan 8 to 1 vote. This substantial emergency powers reform legislation, that would guarantee your Second Amendment rights 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: Hunting to be Expanded in Plan for Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
A plan that will guide management of the 187,000-acre Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for the next fifteen years has been released to the public for comment.  Located in Harney County, the Refuge was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 to protect colonial nesting bird populations and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).  The Refuge is currently open to hunting, but the USFWS intends to expand existing hunt opportunities.  Under Alternative 2, the preferred action alternative, upland game hunting would open three weeks earlier than under the current program.  Existing waterfowl hunt areas would be tremendously expanded by opening a portion of the south-central area of Malheur Lake, adding a new boat launch at headquarters, and by opening the Buena Vista Unit. 

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.  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.

PENNSYLVANIA: National Anti-Gun Group Sets its Sights Against Firearms Preemption Enhancement Bill
Billionaire anti-gun activist and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" are once again moving into Pennsylvania. They are now working to try to stop the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from passing House Bill 1523, common sense firearms legislation that will keep law-abiding gun owners from becoming criminals. HB 1523 could be heard on its second consideration in the state House at any time when the legislature returns this coming week, and it needs your active and immediate support.

Firearms Preemption Enhancement and Workplace Protection Bill Introduced
Senate Bill 1438, introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate on March 7, is much-needed legislation that would strengthen Pennsylvania’s firearms preemption law and also protect your right to store your firearm in your privately-owned and locked motor vehicle while parked in publicly accessible parking lots controlled by your employer or a business you frequent.

TENNESSEE: Showdown Looming in Nashville on Safe Commute Legislation
A citizen's right to self-defense while traveling should not be denied by employers and other owners of parking areas who refuse law-abiding citizens the ability to keep firearms out of sight in their locked private vehicles.  However, this is precisely what is happening in too many places in Tennessee.  House Bill 3560 and Senate Bill 3002 are companion bills that ensure all commuters, regardless of where they work or where they go, will have the right to defend themselves from violent crime while away from home.

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: 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!

WEST VIRGINIA: Three NRA-Backed Bill Go to House Floor
With a favorable “do pass” committee recommendation, Senate Bill 149, along with Senate Bill 353 and Senate Bill 478, is the third and final NRA-backed bill sent to the state House floor for three readings before it has the chance of being sent to the Governor for his approval.

WISCONSIN: Two Pro-Hunting Bills Pass the Senate, Assembly to Vote on Them on Tuesday
The Wisconsin Senate voted 32 to 1 yesterday to pass Assembly Bill 311, the Hunting Heritage Act sponsored by state Representative Jim Steineke (R-5) which would encourage the recruitment and retention of hunters and trappers through a multitude of creative initiatives.   Senate Bill 411, which the state Senate passed earlier by an overwhelming 24 to 9 vote, would establish a season for the hunting of wolves.  Both of these bills will be on the Assembly floor this Tuesday, March 13.






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