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Saturday, June 21, 2003

A June 10 article in the Los Angeles Times relates the story of a La Mesa Junior High School student who became upset after she discovered an NRA ad in her school yearbook. The student, "couldn`t understand how there could be an advertisement advocating guns in a middle school yearbook...School is supposed to be a place where kids should be safe from hearing about weapons." The half-page ad, which featured the NRA logo, a portion of the Second Amendment, and a toll-free membership number, was placed by a fellow student`s grandfather as a way to help support the school.

Although it is noble for a young student to speak out on issues that concern her, the student`s reaction begs the question of whether our First Amendment Rights cease to be relevant when expressing support for the Second Amendment.

School Superintendent Robert C. Lee didn`t think so, saying, "I don`t see that they [the ad and district policy] are in conflict", he said. I would hope that if gun safety and proper gun usage are taught and advocated, that would be a plus for students."

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam commented, "I am at a loss as to why anyone would consider this advertisement inappropriate. There is nothing inappropriate about educating students about the Bill of Rights. There is nothing in the ad that is remotely violent. We are exercising our First Amendment rights, and I think this is a valuable civics lesson."

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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.