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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 8, No. 0 3/2/2001


This Sunday, March 4, "Dateline NBC" is scheduled to air "In the Line of Fire"—a story NBC describes as an "in-depth look at guns and young people in the United States." If past is prelude, however, the pro-freedom community should expect the "in-depth look" to be rife with anti-Second Amendment bias. NBC has a long history of exhibiting a clear anti-gun perspective in its news programs—a fact supported by studies from the Media Research Center (MRC)—and we should be prepared for no less this Sunday. We understand the story will close with a debate between U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.)—an extremely vocal anti-gun extremist—and U.S. Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.)—a staunch defender of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Don`t be surprised if McCarthy begins to sound like a spokesman for HCI, as the Representative is one of the gun-ban lobby`s most ardent supporters.


The February 25 edition of The Observer, an on-line British news outlet (www.observer.co.uk), reports that Smith & Wesson (S&W) continues to face serious financial difficulties because of dwindling sales brought about by last year`s agreement between S&W and the Clinton Administration. The storied gun maker is one of the oldest based in America, but has been owned by the British corporation Tomkins PLCsince the mid-1980s. Tomkins, is now trying to sell S&W—a somewhat daunting task, perhaps, due to the gun maker`s financial situation.

The most tangible evidence of S&W`s dire financial situation came to light last October, when S&W was forced to lay off 15% of its workforce. The company`s sales have been plummeting ever since it signed the agreement last March with the Clinton Administration`s HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. Ed Schultz, S&W CEO at the time of the agreement, brokered the deal in an attempt to bring the gun maker out from under the threat of reckless lawsuits faced by the entire firearm industry. According to The Observer, Cuomo and Schultz met secretly in a Connecticut hotel, where Cuomo laid down the challenge, "I have two five-year-olds and a three-year-old and I have a gun in my home. If you can make me a safer gun, I`ll buy it." Of course, S&W firearms have always been extremely safe when handled by educated, responsible gun owners. Many gun owners did not agree with the Schultz-Cuomo deal, which led to the precipitous decline in S&W`s sales. Schultz has since left S&W, leaving the company and its workforce to deal with his ruinous legacy, and Cuomo is now a candidate seeking the Democratic Party`s nomination to run for Governor of New York. The Observer interviewed S&W spokesman Ken Jorgensen, who acknowledged that what S&W has experienced has been "a disaster," and pressure from pro-Second Amendment consumers "is something you can`t ignore." Jorgensen also stated that the fact S&W is "British-owned has been one of the problems in how we have come to be perceived in this country." Perhaps S&W`s woes can be remedied if it is sold to new owners who have an appreciation of our constitutional legacy and respect for the Second Amendment. There are signs that S&W is already moving to distance itself from its past. The article states that the company is trying to "dilute the agreement it forged" with Cuomo, which is certainly a step in the right direction.



On Tuesday, March 6, at 10 a.m., the House Committee on Retirement & Government Operations will consider HB 2218, a bill that seeks to allow Right to Carry permit holders to carry firearms for self-defense in restaurants that are licensed to serve alcohol. Contact members of the committee and urge them to support HB 2218. For a list of committee members, contact the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division. For those on the Internet, you can also find contact information by using the "Write Your Reps" tool on www.NRAILA.org.

Also, persistent efforts by anti-gun lawmakers have resurrected SB 1566, a bill that seeks to require background checks on private firearms transfers at gun shows—even transfers between relatives, neighbors, and close friends. Contact members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and urge them to once again oppose SB 1566.


AB 35, a bill that seeks to mandate the licensing of all handgun purchasers, passed out of the Assembly`s Public Safety Committee. NRA-ILA will be sure to keep you informed as to when and where AB 35 will next be heard. In the meantime, contact Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg (D-40) at (916) 319-2040 and Minority Leader Bill Campbell (R-71) at (916) 319-2071, and ask that they each call for a "NO" vote on AB 35 from their respective caucuses.


SB 412, a bill that seeks to protect firearm manufacturers from reckless, politically-motivated lawsuits aimed at bankrupting them, is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday, March 6, at 2:30 p.m. Contact committee members and urge them to support SB 412. For a list of committee members, contact the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division. For those on the Internet, you can find e-mail addresses for these lawmakers under the "Florida Legislative Alert" section at www.NRAILA.org.


Chicago Mayor Richard Daley`s (D) anti-gun package—House Bills 1940 through 1947—will be heard by the House Judiciary 1 Committee on Wednesday, March 7. This gun-grabbing package includes virtually every anti-gun scheme imaginable, including a one-gun-a-month proposal, a requirement that all FOID card holders be fingerprinted, and the registration of all firearm sales within the state. Contact your State Representative at (217) 782-8223 and urge him to oppose HB 1940 through 1947.


Earlier this week, HB 1043, a bill that seeks to protect firearms manufacturers from reckless, politically-motivated lawsuits aimed at bankrupting them, easily passed the full House with no anti-gun amendments. The bill now awaits Senate consideration.


"Gun control" advocates continue to press forward with their efforts to call for a 2002 referendum to repeal the state`s recently-passed Right to Carry statute. However, due to fund-raising problems and difficulties with gathering petition signatures from the public-at-large, leaders of the effort have turned to church organizations for help. This week, the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit agreed to help with gathering the necessary petition signatures needed to qualify for the March 27, 2001, certification deadline. NRA-ILA will be sure to keep you posted on any developments as the March 27 deadline approaches.


After years of effort, Representative Lynda Boudreau`s (R-25B) Right to Carry bill (no bill number yet available) will be heard by the House Crime Prevention Committee on Thursday, March 8. Contact committee members at (651) 296-5502 and urge them to support this bill with no amendments.


SB 123, a bill that seeks to protect firearms manufacturers from reckless, politically-motivated lawsuits aimed at bankrupting them, passed the Senate this week with no anti-gun amendments by an overwhelming voice vote.


The House Judiciary Committee has yet to consider H 5580, a bill that seeks to give local law enforcement the authority to arbitrarily deny your right to purchase a firearm; require ballistics testing on all firearms before they can be sold in the state; and reduce the duration of concealed carry permits from four years to one year. H 5580 would also set up central registration of all firearms and require every firearm sold in Rhode Island to be fitted with a trigger lock. Contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to vote "NO" on H 5580. For a list of members` names and phone numbers, please call NRA-ILA Grassroots Division.


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.