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Campaign Finance "Reform" More Muddled Than Ever

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Last Friday, May 2, a three-judge panel for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued its long-awaited ruling on the constitutionality of the campaign finance "reform" law enacted last year. Unfortunately, NRA`s challenge of one of the most onerous restrictions within the law-a prohibition on certain ads running during certain periods before elections-was not only rejected, but the ruling actually expanded the restrictions, making them much more onerous. NRA has asked the judicial panel to delay implementation of the provisions of its ruling that deal with prohibitions on the broadcast of issue-advocacy ads until the Supreme Court of the United States has had time to review the ruling.

The long-awaited ruling included four different opinions, totaled more than 1,600 pages-the longest ruling in that court`s history-and has taken scores of lawyers days to determine what, exactly, the ruling meant. So far, it appears nobody is satisfied with the decision. When the law itself was being debated, many opponents argued it was not only an attack on free speech, but that it was so confusing that it was nearly impossible to decipher the implications of the law. Now, the problem appears to have been exacerbated. NRA will continue to do all it can to protect our ability to exercise our right to free speech, and we will continue to report developments on this front.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.