SENATE CONFIRMS ASHCROFT AND NORTON
The partisan, special-interest led attacks on two of President Bush`s cabinet nominees fell well short of their objectives when Gale Norton was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior on Tuesday, and John Ashcroft was confirmed as Attorney General on Thursday. Ashcroft`s confirmation was the last one needed to complete Bush`s cabinet. Norton withstood attacks from radical "environmentalist" groups and the NAACP and AFL-CIO(a strange mix of allies, whose only apparent unifying issue is they supported Al Gore`s losing bid for the Presidency), and was confirmed on a 75 - 24 vote. Those voting against Norton were all Democrats.
The attacks on Ashcroft were far more public, and involved several anti-gun extremist organizations, including HCI and the so-called "Million" Mom March (MMM). These groups spent enormous amounts of money on their failed attempt to defeat one of the most qualified candidates for Attorney General this country has ever seen. One relatively obscure group, the Violence Policy Center, even went to the outrageous length of demanding Ashcroft resign his NRA membership. Apparently, VPC doesn`t like the idea of the nation`s "Top Cop" belonging to an organization that supports the nation`s law enforcement community in word and deed.
And while there was little question regarding Ashcroft`s qualifications to be Attorney General, numerous Democratic Senators launched personal, public attacks against his character during hearings, and then voted against him. Some voted against confirmation, perhaps, because they are so entangled with the extremist groups that opposed Ashcroft, and others admitted they wanted to fire a "shot across the bow" of President Bush. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of HCI`s biggest allies, tried his best to paint the Ashcroft vote as something other than a crushing defeat, warning it will "set the tone for many of the upcoming issues that will face" the U.S. Senate. U.S. Senator Kit Bond(R-Mo.) was much closer to the truth, noting that several Democrats explained they voted against Ashcroft because they feared liberal groups would hurt them at the polls if they did not.
All 50 Republican Senators deserve our thanks for voting to confirm Ashcroft, but eight Democrats also deserve a special thanks for rising above the partisan atmosphere that Democrats like Schumer seem committed to preserving. Democrats voting to confirm Ashcroft were: John Breaux (La.); Robert Byrd (W.Va.); Kent Conrad (N.D.); Christopher Dodd (Conn.); Byron Dorgan (N.D.); Russ Feingold (Wisc.); Zell Miller (Ga.); and Ben Nelson (Neb.). If you would like to thank these or any of the 50 Republican Senators for confirming an immensely qualified candidate for Attorney General, rather than questioning his personal religious and ideological beliefs, you can find contact information by using the "Write Your Reps" tool at NRAILA.org, or by calling the Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683. Also be sure to let those who voted against Ashcroft know how disappointed you are that they caved in to the pressure of the anti-gun extremists. Remind them that you will remember their vote the next time you go to the polls.
BRITISH FAX POLL AT IT AGAIN
The British company 21st Century Faxes Ltd. has fired up its fax machines once again, and is harassing any American with a fax number it can find, with another scam to line its pockets with your money. This is the same company that regularly floods American fax machines with what it calls "surveys," although the true goal is not to gauge public opinion. When 21st Century Faxes first came to the public`s attention, it was the day after the tragedy at Columbine High, when it shamelessly began broadcasting one of its "surveys" on "gun control." The latest poll asks "Should gun makers compensate victims of gun crime?" The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) have already investigated 21st Century Faxes, after both received numerous complaints about these unsolicited messages, although we have yet to hear of the results of these investigations.
If you receive one of these faxes, don`t bother responding, as the British company merely wants your money, not your opinion. To vote in this "survey," you must fax your reply to a "900" number that, according to fine print at the bottom of the message, costs $2.95 per minute. Rather than respond, you may want to contact the FCC and the FTC to register a complaint about this unsolicited fax. The FCC can be reached at (202) 418-0200, or found on the Internet at www.fcc.gov, and the FTC can be reached at (202) 326-2000, or found on the Internet at www.ftc.gov.
A LOOK AT THE STATES
Both the NRA-backed Right to Carry bill (SB 83) and the NRA-opposed Mandatory Storage bill (SB 160) are scheduled to be heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 12. Contact committee members in support of SB 83 and in opposition to SB 160. For a list of committee members, please contact NRA-ILA Grassroots at (800) 392-8683.
S12, the NRA-backed Right to Carry reform bill that allows applicants to learn whether their application has been approved before completing any firearms training courses, passed the legislature and is now sitting on Governor Minner`s(D) desk.
Contact your State Representative and urge him to support the Reckless Lawsuit Protection Act, which would protect firearm manufacturers from frivolous, politically-motivated lawsuits aimed at bankrupting them. To contact Republican Representatives, call (800) 382-9841, and for Democratic Representatives, call (800) 382-9842. Also, contact members of the Senate Governmental and Regulatory Affairs Committee at (317) 232-9493 and urge them to support SB 185, which would repeal the exemption in the Range Protection Bill that left the Brownsburg Range vulnerable to being shut down.
Unfortunately, House File 43, the NRA-backed Dove Hunting bill, was vetoed by Governor Tom Vilsack(D) earlier this week. This is proof that we need to elect a pro-gun, pro-hunting Governor in 2002. Thanks to NRA members for their efforts on behalf of this legislation.
The House Fish, Wildlife & Parks Committee voted to table HB 264, which would have allowed the voters of Montana to determine if the state`s Constitution should be amended to include a "Right to Hunt" provision. Call the legislative message number at (406) 444-4800, and urge committee members to "un-table" HB 264 and vote in favor of passing the bill out of committee without amendments. For a list of committee members, please contact NRA-ILA Grassroots at (800) 392-8683.
In addition, HB 390, which seeks to provide law-abiding citizens with protection from civil damages when using justifiable force in self-protection, is scheduled for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, February 5, at 8:00 a.m. Please attend the hearing, if possible, and call your state representative and urge him to support HB 390.
Also, please be sure to sign up to receive the Montana Shooting Sports Association`s e-mail alerts, by sending a message to: [email protected]
On Tuesday, February 6, the House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on HB 277, NRA-backed Right to Carry legislation. Please make plans to attend Tuesday`s hearing at 1:30 p.m., in room 324 of the State Capitol.
NRA President Charlton Heston
will be speaking at Villanova University on Wednesday, February 14, opening the Villanova Times Speaker series. Mr. Heston`s speech will be at 7:00 p.m., in the Villanova Room, and tickets are $10. Also, Mr. Heston will autograph copies of his new book, "The Courage to be Free," from 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Connely Center`s President`s Lounge. Copies of this book will be available at a discounted rate. For more information, directions, or to secure tickets, please call Chris Lilik at (610) 581-9502 or (610) 581-5320. You can also send e-mail to [email protected], and you can find directions on the Internet at www.villanova.edu/maps.
The House Judiciary Committee decided to table H97, an anti-gun bill, until February 2002 thanks to NRA`s testimony, the new Republican House leadership and the Committee`s Chairman.
The House of Delegates` Militia and Police Committee has scheduled a hearing on HB 2130 for tomorrow, February 3, at 12:00 noon, in House Room C. HB 2130 seeks to repeal the ban on Right to Carry permit holders from carrying their lawfully concealed firearm in certain establishments that serve food. Attend tomorrow`s hearing, if possible, and contact your Delegate at (804) 698-1500 and urge him to support HB 2130.