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Transforming Public Opposition to Reckless Lawsuits into Legislative Reality

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research asked Americans whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement:

"Companies that make guns should be held financially liable if judges or juries find that their products were used to commit a crime."

The response was overwhelming—78% disagreed, while only 18% agreed. Unlike many other issues we face, the notion that these grievous lawsuits against the industry are wrong generally makes sense to most Americans, including some people who may support other items on the gun ban lobby`s agenda. We are seeing this in Congress, as many lawmakers who usually line up against the rights of law-abiding gun owners are cosponsors of S. 659/S. 1806. Similarly, quite a few members of the U.S. House of Representatives not usually inclined to support NRA voted for the House version of this bill which passed on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 285-140.

We support passage of S. 659/S. 1806 because we understand that not only are the lawsuits an affront to our democratic process and judicial system, but we are also keenly aware of the impact these lawsuits have on the average gun owner. Many anti-gunners, or those who are ambivalent toward our Second Amendment rights, nonetheless see the reckless lawsuit campaign as turning common sense on its head, and thus may be inclined to contact their lawmakers in support of S. 659/S. 1806. Again, unlike other gun issues, this one has traction with the non-gun-owning (and some of the anti-gun) public as well as gun owners.

As we`ve reported in previous Grassroots Alerts, it appears that we will not get final resolution on this legislation until next year. Since we are close to, but not over, the goal line yet, it is critical that you continue to talk to your gun-owning and non-gun-owning friends and colleagues to ensure the grassroots support that will be required to make this law a reality. Also, while Congress is on recess, you should schedule meetings with your U.S. Senators and/or attend their town hall meetings to personally educate them on your support of this legislation. In addition to attending meetings and speaking out in support of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, please forward the dates, times, and locations of any town hall meetings to your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners, and to the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division, so we may compile this information and share it with the pro-gun community. Please forward this information to the Grassroots Division by calling (800) 392-8683, by faxing to (703) 267-3918, or by sending an e-mail to townhall@nrahq.org.

While the Chuck Schumers of the world will continue to misrepresent this bill, when presented with the facts (including that illegal actions through a gun`s manufacturing stages to its point of sale, and that guns that are truly defective, are not insulated from legitimate legal action), many Americans agree that this legislation makes sense. It is up to you, however, to ensure that their agreement is transformed into active participation. Let`s keep the pressure up to ensure this common sense proposal becomes a reality.

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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.