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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 8, No. 16 4/20/2001

Congress returns from itsEaster District Work Period recess next week, and, as reported last week, the gun-ban extremists in D.C. are working feverishly to prepare for an all-out assault on gun shows. The most recent addition to the anti-gun coalition,Americans for Gun Safety (AGS), released a report yesterday on gun shows through its "non-profit educational organization,"The Americans For Gun Safety Foundation. The release of the report fell on the same day as a press conference held by the gun-ban lobby,HCI, and other members of the anti-gun crowd, including the struggling"Million" Mom March (MMM), theCoalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), andStates United to Prevent Gun Violence (SUPGV). SUPGV is a coalition of state-level anti-gun organizations that shares many affiliates with AGS. While it is not clear exactly why AGS was not present at the HCI-led press conference, it is likely that AGS is continuing to try to maintain the facade that it is not just another anti-gun organization-although the organization has already stated its long-term goal is the registration of firearms and licensing of firearm owners. And the timing, of course, was carefully coordinated to exploit today`s second anniversary of the tragedy atColumbine High.

But AGS is clearly little more than another anti-gun organization, and despite its name, has exactly zero Americans as members. It`s agenda remains completely out of step with mainstream America, as do its fellow anti-gun organizations. In fact, the latest relatedGallup Poll (3/26-3/28) shows that Americans do not support the AGS-HCI attack on gun shows. Gallup asked adults nationwide what they felt could be done to prevent future school tragedies, and 31% responded that parents should get more involved, while 14% thought there should be more security at schools. Only 11% responded that more laws regulating firearms were the answer.

The timing of the HCI press conference was intended to support the anti-gun efforts of U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who is poised to introduce his version of the legislation championed by former U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)-legislation that sought to end gun shows as we know them today. HCI began urging its few supporters to ask lawmakers to cosponsor Reed`s bill two weeks ago. The release of the AGS paper appears intended to bolster the "compromise" gun show legislation that will soon be introduced by U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.). The Senate will soon take up the issue of education reform, and we anticipate that Reed and fellow gun-ban extremists such as U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will be working with the unofficial coalition of AGS, HCI, CSGV, and SUPGV, to attach Reed`s assault on gun shows, as well as other anti-gun amendments, to any education legislation brought up for consideration. Contact your federal lawmakers and urge them to oppose the coordinated attack on gun shows by this cabal of anti-gun organizations. Also urge them to oppose any other anti-gun effort. You can reach your U.S. Senators by calling the U.S. Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Just ask for your lawmaker`s office, or give the operator your zip code. Also, for those on the Internet, you can find contact information for your federal lawmakers by using the "Write Your Reps" tool at www.NRAILA.org.


TheConsumer Federation of America (CFA) and the radical, gun-ban extremists at theViolence Policy Center (VPC)-the same group that launched a virulent attack onNRA`s Eddie Eagle? GunSafe Program in a "study" widely condemned, even by anti-gun members of the media-are the latest groups to join in the effort to promote attacks on the firearm industry. TheCenter to Prevent Handgun Violence (CPHV)-HCI`s "educational" arm-began its latest attack on the firearm industry in March, with an attempt to urge the attorneys general of at least 20 states to contort and abuse consumer protection laws. Now CFA, a group that has advocated that all homes with children be gun-free, and VPC, which supports a complete ban of handguns in America, are promoting a vast expansion of the laws regulating firearms. VPC released a document this week that it intended to support its call for more regulations on firearm manufucaturers. However, what VPC presented would best be described as amateurish propaganda masquerading as research. Both VPC and CFA attempt to further the lie (also promoted by CPHV) that firearm manufacturers are not already subject to countless regulations.

In fact, the manufacture, distribution, and sale of firearms are strictly regulated. Gun makers are subject to numerous national regulations promulgated by BATF, which are detailed in 152 pages of very small type, and the firearm industry must comply with countless federal, state, and local laws. Manufacturing standards are reviewed by the FBI, the U.S. Customs Service, other public and private agencies, and even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Industry standards are set by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI), an organization that was created at the request of the federal government in 1926. SAAMI, an accredited standards developer for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), currently publishes more than 700 standards related to firearm and ammunition safety and quality which are reviewed by outside parties. All told, there are about 20,000 laws currently in effect that regulate firearms.

Anti-gunU.S. Senator Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) has introducedS. 330, theFirearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act of 2001, which seeks to expand the power of the BATF to the point where unelected bureaucrats would have the power to ban guns by imposing design standards that are impossible to meet. Urge your federal lawmakers to oppose S. 330.


On Monday,Robert E. Brennan was convicted in federal court of bankruptcy fraud, and now faces the possibility of up to 10 years in federal prison. This conviction was just the latest stage in a two-decade clash between Brennan, the courts, and theSecurities and Exchange Commission (SEC). So just who is Robert Brennan? Brennan is a former penny-stock tycoon, but he is likely remembered by many veterans of the pro-gun movement as the man who erected an anti-gun billboard inNew York`s Times Square in 1994-a billboard dubbed the "Deathclock." Many observers accused Mr. Brennan of launching his billboard (which purported to keep a running tally of firearm-related deaths) as a publicity stunt in an effort to divert attention away from a hearing he and his firm,First Jersey Securities, faced in the battle with the SEC. A $75 million civil fraud judgement handed down against Brennan and his firm in 1995 was quickly followed by both filing for bankruptcy, which ultimately led to Monday`s decision. While unrelated to his legal and financial problems, even more damning to Brennan`s credibility is the fact that he claimed his brother was murdered by an armed robber with an illegal handgun, when actually he was shot by New Jersey police officers when he pointed a starter`s pistol at them after a high-speed car chase. Brennan`s billboard was funded throughThe Dehere Foundation-a foundation started by Brennan and formerSeton Hall University basketball starTerry Dehere-but was pulled down with no fanfare after little more than one year of activity. Brennan found it to be "very costly" to run. Also serving on The Dehere Foundation`s board was former anti-gunNew Jersey Governor Jim Florio (D).



HB 449, a bill that seeks to protect firearm manufacturers from reckless lawsuits, still has not been heard by the full House. The Senate`s version of this bill, SB 412, was passed last week. Contact your State Representative by phone or e-mail and urge them to support HB 449.


HB 1043, a bill that seeks to protect firearm manufacturers from reckless, politically-motivated lawsuits aimed at bankrupting them, was signed into law byGov. Frank O`Bannon (D) earlier this week.


House Bill 622 & Senate Bill 680, bills that seek to protect firearm manufacturers from reckless lawsuits, are expected to be heard in their respective chambers next week. Contact your lawmakers at (919) 733-7928 and urge them to support HB 622 & SB 680. Also, HB 320, a bill that seeks to hold adults criminally responsible if any minor gains access to a firearm and injures or kills another person, and mandate storage requirements, is awaiting consideration by the full House. Contact your State Representative and urge him to oppose HB 320.


HB 3405, a bill that seeks to repeal the state`s "One Gun a Month" law, could be heard by the House Judiciary Committee as early as Tuesday, April 24. Contact members of the committee and urge them to support HB 3405.


HB 227, a bill that seeks to allow Right to Carry permit holders to carry firearms for self-defense in grocery and convenience stores that sell alcohol for off-site consumption, was passed out of the House Judiciary Civil Practices Subcommittee. The bill now awaits consideration by the full House Judiciary Committee. Contact members of the committee and urge them to support HB 227. For a list of committee members, please contact NRA-ILA Grassroots, or use the "Write Your Reps" tool. Also, last Tuesday, HB 221, a bill that sought to authorize municipalities to heavily regulate the use of firearms under certain conditions (e.g., banning hunting and regulating shooting range activity), was defeated in the House State and Local Government Committee.


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.