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Your Action Needed On ILA`s Federal Legislative Priorities

Friday, May 7, 2004

NRA-ILA is seeking support and cosponsorship of several important pieces of legislation that have recently been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Following is a brief summary of each bill, along with instructions on how you can influence the outcome of these debates. Once you have taken the requested action, please be sure to forward this information to your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners and ensure they do the same.

H.R. 3193, the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act," introduced by Representatives Mark Souder (R-Ind.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.), already has 178 cosponsors. This bill would restore the right of self-defense to law-abiding citizens of Washington, D.C., so that those citizens could own rifles, shotguns, and handguns without the current bureaucratic registration requirements. Most importantly, it would allow law-abiding District residents to use firearms to protect their homes and families—a right enjoyed throughout the U.S., but currently denied by the D.C. Code.

H.R. 4048, the "Firearm Commerce Modernization Act", introduced by Representative Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), updates federal gun law to take advantage of modern technology. When the Gun Control Act of 1968 was enacted, the only way to screen criminal records or other disqualifications of potential gun buyers was at the state level, so the Congress passed a broad ban on interstate sales to allow state enforcement of various permit and license systems. Today, however, all retail gun sales involve an FBI background check, either for issuance of a state permit or as an instant check at the point of sale. The "Firearm Commerce Modernization Act" would allow interstate gun sales, provided all other federal or state laws (in both states) are abided. It would also remove convoluted limits on licensed dealers, so that dealers could carry out the same transactions in person that they currently perform with one another by mail—even though mail transactions create a much greater risk that guns may be lost or stolen during shipment.

H.R. 4126, the "Cockpit Security Technical Corrections and Improvements Act," introduced by Representative Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), would speed up the training and arming of qualified airline personnel to defend against terrorism as Federal Flight Deck Officers (FFDOs). Despite overwhelming congressional support for the original armed pilot legislation, the Transportation Security Administration has been extremely slow in implementing this program. In addition to limited capacity at training facilities, highly qualified pilots—including nuclear-qualified military pilots and even federal law enforcement officers—have been deterred from participating by unnecessary and counterproductive "psychological screening". They have also been subjected to dangerous gun storage requirements that have already resulted in the loss of FFDOs` government-issued firearms. H.R. 4126 would expedite the implementation of this program by immediately arming experienced, trained pilots on a provisional basis, and by streamlining the training of all pilots who wish to participate in the FFDO program. It would also reduce the load on federal training facilities by allowing use of qualified private facilities for training and requalification of FFDOs.

H.R. 3801, the "First Amendment Restoration Act", introduced by Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), would repeal the most offensive provision of the recent campaign finance "reform" law—the prohibition on use of non-PAC money for broadcast communications that use the name or likeness of a federal candidate. The NRA opposed the "reform" law from the outset. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court`s abandonment of First Amendment principles in this area leaves no choice other than a congressional repeal of this provision.

Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative and urge him to cosponsor and support all of these bills. 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. 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.