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Issue From The Past Rears Its Head

Friday, June 13, 2003

Stung by the passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of H.R. 1036-reckless lawsuit preemption-and the support of 53 U.S. Senators for S. 659-the Senate`s version of this legislation- anti-gunners are dragging out an issue from the past to try to further regulate firearms.

Senator Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) introduced legislation this week requiring the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to regulate the manufacture and design of firearms. In unveiling their legislation at a press conference, the two lawmakers were joined by nototrious anti-gun "luminaries" Robert Ricker, the former gun industry representative turncoat who is now a paid witness for those pursuing the reckless lawsuits against gun makers, and former Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), who was integral in the passage of the 1994 Clinton gun ban. Congress has already exempted guns from oversight by the CPSC, recognizing that firearms are already regulated by some 20,000 federal, state, and local laws and regulations, as well as by the approximately 700 standards set by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, which are reviewed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Guns, of course, are also the only commercial product that law-abiding citizens need FBI approval to buy. Giving the power to regulate the design of guns to an unelected bureaucrat poses a serious threat to gun owners. An anti-gun commissioner could claim that all firearms are dangerous and should be banned because they fire lead projectiles at such high velocities they could cause injury or death.

Gary Mehalik of the National Shooting Sports Foundation noted, "The ulterior motive here, as it has been in the past, is for the restriction on firearms rights under this false premise to increase safety. The best way to ensure safety of the firearms is to have a safe human operator. The only foolproof way to make sure a firearm does not accidentally shoot is to keep it unloaded and your finger off the trigger. Any attempt to create some mechanical contraption that`s going to override the human involvement that`s required for firearms safety is bound to fail."

The bill is supported by two handgun ban groups, the Violence Policy Center and the Consumer Federation of America. While Rep. Kennedy has conceded that the bill`s passage was unlikely, NRA-ILA is closely monitoring this legislation and will work to ensure it is once again rejected.

Meanwhile, we will continue to focus on the aforementioned reckless lawsuit preemption bill in the Senate and the expansion and re-authorization of the 1994 Clinton gun ban (H.R. 2038 and S. 1034). To this end, it is critical that you continue to contact your U.S. Representative in opposition to H.R. 2038 and your U.S. Senators in opposition to S. 1034. Also, be sure to encourage your U.S. Senators to support S. 659. You can call your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121. For additional contact information for your lawmakers, use the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org. Please encourage your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners to do the same!

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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.