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Anti-Gun Senators Holding S. 659 / S. 1805 Hostage

Monday, November 17, 2003

One of NRA-ILA`s top legislative priorities in Congress is the passage of S. 659/S. 1805, the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act."

The House version of this bill— H.R. 1036—passed last April by an overwhelming vote of 285-140, and has the support of the White House. Yet, despite assurances of a timely vote and broad bipartisan support, S. 659/S. 1805 has become stalled in the Senate. At present, the situation remains very fluid, and there`s still a possibility that the Senate could pass S. 659/S. 1805 before it goes into recess for the year. But the only remaining opportunity to pass the bill this year is through appropriations legislation, which funds government operations. If S. 659/S. 1805 is passed as part of a spending bill, it will represent a major pushback by pro-gun Senators against the obstructionist tactics of the dedicated corps of anti-gun Senators who blocked consideration of the bill in early November.

Thanks to the dedicated grassroots efforts of millions of NRA members and gun owners across the country, S. 659/S. 1805 is now widely acknowledged as having enough votes to overcome a filibuster by anti-gun Senators. But we can`t stop a filibuster until one starts, and the process can`t begin until the bill reaches the Senate floor for debate.

On November 6, pro-gun leaders in the Senate attempted to bring the bill to the floor with a proposed "consent agreement" to govern the length of debate and the number of amendments each side could order. Anti-gun Senators sent their representative to the floor to object. After much discussion, and failing to gain "consent," Senate leaders moved to other business, but vowed to bring S. 659/S. 1805 to a vote early next year, without regard to the objections from the anti-gun corps. That sets us up for a full-blown brawl in the New Year.

In the end, it all boils down to politics, but you can help break the logjam. In the coming weeks, your Senators will likely be traveling around your state, holding town hall meetings, where they can report on what they`ve been doing in Washington, and take questions from their constituents. These meetings offer a tremendous opportunity for you to personally voice your strong support for S. 659/S. 1805. Your Senators need to know that this bill is about saving jobs, and protecting our rights. If you can`t attend a meeting, send a letter or make a phone call to your Senator`s office. Tell them it`s time to stop playing politics with the Second Amendment. Urge them to fully support S. 659/S. 1805 without any anti-gun amendments! Ask them to do everything in their power to end these meritless lawsuits and ensure that this essential legislation is approved as written. Tell them it`s time to pass S. 659/S. 1805! Make no mistake—with your help, we will win this fight and see this critical legislation signed into law.

In addition, please contact your Senators and your U.S. Representative and urge them to cosponsor and support S. 1414 and H.R. 3193—the Senate and House versions of the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act. This important legislation seeks to restore the constitutionally-guaranteed Second Amendment rights of the residents of the District of Columbia, which has once again reclaimed the title of "murder capital" of the United States.

Finally, please continue to urge your U.S. Representative and your Senators to oppose current legislation seeking to expand the 1994 Clinton gun ban—H.R. 2038, S. 1431, and S. 1034. You can find contact information for your elected officials by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org, or you can call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121.

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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.