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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 8, No. 18 5/4/2001


As we mentioned in last week`s FAX Alert (and per the "Special" FAX Alert some of you in targeted states received on Tuesday), the anti-gunners are about to launch another attack on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms! As the U.S. Senate continues debate on education legislation, enemies of the Second Amendment are planning to hijack the education bill by offering anti-gun amendments -- to register guns, license gun owners, effectively ban gun shows, and/or mandate the use of gun locks -- in another shameless attempt to exploit the recent anniversary of the tragedy at Columbine. Right now, the biggest threat to our rights is still S. 767, by anti-gun Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) S. 767 is Reed`s version of the Lautenberg legislation that sought to end gun shows as we know them today. The original Lautenberg bill passed the Senate a few weeks after the Columbine attack by a vote of 51-50 -- with then-Vice President Al Gore casting the tie-breaking vote. We also expect that U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) will soon introduce their "compromise" gun show legislation. While this bill has not yet been introduced, we expect it will be an unworkable "middle ground" bill that will still provide for a waiting period on gun purchases of as long as five days, and will still allow the retention of records on gun purchases by law-abiding citizens. Your U.S. Senators still need to hear from you TODAY -- even if you have already contacted them on this issue -- in opposition to both S. 767 and the McCain-Lieberman gun show bill. Please continue to call, e-mail, and write your U.S. Senators today to urge them to oppose gun control amendments to the education bill! And be sure to spread the word and encourage your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners to do the same. Tell your Senators that registration and waiting periods that are longer than gun shows are unacceptable! You can find contact information for your federal lawmakers, and e-mail them directly, by using the "Write Your Reps" tool at www.NRAILA.org.


Continuing a growing national trend, Florida became the 26th state to adopt legislation protecting the firearms industry from reckless lawsuits, as Governor Jeb Bush (R) signed the measure into law Tuesday morning. "The Legislature of Florida and Governor Bush have sent a clear message that reckless, harassing lawsuits aimed at bankrupting legitimate American businesses will not be tolerated," said James Jay Baker, Executive Director of NRA`s Institute for Legislative Action. "Poll after poll indicates that the vast majority of Americans don`t support these types of lawsuits, courts around the country have rejected them, and since 1999, 26 states have now provided legislative protection to the industry." Baker noted that the legislative effort to protect American firearms manufacturers against taxpayer-funded lawsuits aimed at bankrupting the industry began when Georgia became the first state to enact such a measure in February 1999. "Clearly, this type of legislation has been a trend at the state level over the last two years," Baker said. "Today, the majority of legislatures and governors recognize that the notion of holding a legitimate manufacturer of a lawful product liable for the criminal misuse of that product is a notion that flies in the face of common sense and our system of jurisprudence." Today`s action in Florida represents a major victory, not just for the firearms industry and lawful gun owners, but for all American businesses. "The greedy trial lawyers pushing these suits have already indicated that after driving firearms manufacturers out of business, they intend to move on to other legitimate industries," Baker said. "NRA`s 4.3 million members will continue to fight to protect the firearms industry from these vultures who seek to use hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund their bankrupt-by-lawsuit scheme." States that have previously enacted lawsuit pre-emption legislation are: Alabama; Alaska; Arkansas; Arizona; Colorado; Georgia; Idaho; Indiana; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Michigan; Missouri; Montana; Nevada; North Dakota; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; and Wyoming.


On May 30, the Violence Policy Center`s (VPC) Josh Sugarmann and Joe Sudbay, responded to an assertion by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence that the VPC "has repeatedly worked to undercut the shared policy goals of the rest of the gun control movement." At issue is VPC`s opposition to handgun licensing and registration. While VPC, one of the nation`s more rabid anti-gun extremist groups, views handgun licensing and registration as a "substantively ineffective and politically risky agenda," they have by no means abandoned their anti-gun agenda. In addition to fully supporting S. 767, VPC`s website proudly boasts that "handguns should be banned." SMITH & WESSON RECEIVES FEDERAL GRANT FOR "SMART" GUN RESEARCH An Associated Press story on Wednesday reported that ailing gun maker Smith & Wesson (S&W) received a grant from the Department of Justice for $1.7 million to fund the company`s "smart" gun research. The $1.7 million represents a significant portion of the company`s $2.8 million request, that it may pursue at a later date. The gun company, which sold out gun owners in a "settlement" deal with the Clinton-Gore Administration last year (a deal, that, in truth, settled nothing), claims to have spent $5 million since 1993 to develop guns that can be fired only by their users. According to company spokesman Ken Jorgensen, S&W has developed some prototype guns, called "authorized only users," but has set no date certain for putting these guns on the market. Those applauding the news of the grant were anti-gun Massachusetts lawmakers Senator Ted Kennedy (D) and U.S. Representative Richard Neal (D).


On Wednesday, the New York Post reported that HCI Chair Sarah Brady will have a book out next year. The book will be published by an outfit called Public Affairs, and the deal apparently involves a 50-50 split between the publisher and Brady. The article cites that, in her book, Brady will recount how in 1981 (the year her husband was shot), she apparently contacted NRA and stated, "You don`t know me, but my name is Sarah Brady, and I`m going to make it my life ambition to put you out of business." Of course, not only is NRA not out of business, but we are stronger than ever, with a membership totaling approximately 4.3 million!


Each year, NRA-ILA acknowledges the outstanding efforts in defense of our freedom of a select group of individuals and an organization. The ILA volunteer award winners for the Year 2000 are: Jay M. Littlefield Memorial NRA-ILA Volunteer of the Year winners: Anne Britton (Ark.), Dave Adams (Va.), and Gary Davis (Mo.). NRA-ILA Volunteer Organization of the Year Award: The Second Amendment Patriots, Jim Tomes, President (Ind.). We know you all join us in congratulating these individuals and The Second Amendment Patriots for their tireless defense of the Second Amendment. Congratulations to all!


ARIZONA SB 1297, a bill that seeks to strengthen Arizona`s current Right To Carry reciprocity law, passed both the House and Senate this week. The bill now goes to Governor Jane Dee Hull`s (R) desk. Contact Governor Hull (R) at (602) 542-4331 and respectfully encourage her to sign SB 1297. COLORADO SB 225, a bill that sought to ban the purchase of handguns by those 18-21 years of age, without parental consent, was defeated by the full Senate earlier this week. Thanks to all Colorado NRA members for their grassroots support in defeating SB 225! KANSAS After several failed attempts, language which seeks to protect Kansas` shooting ranges from noise and nuisance ordinances aimed at shutting them down was amended into HB 2599. The Senate has already passed HB 2599, and final consideration in the House is expected in the near future. Contact your State Representative at (785) 296-2391 and urge him to support HB 2599. NORTH CAROLINA SB 123, a bill that seeks to prohibit municipalities from filing reckless lawsuits against gun makers, passed the House Sportsmanship, Safety, & Firearms Committee, and is expected to be considered by the full House next week. Contact your State Senator at (919) 733-7928 and urge him to support SB 123. TEXAS On Mother`s Day (Sunday, May 13), the Second Amendment Sisters will hold an "Armed Informed Mothers" rally on the steps of the Capitol Building in Austin from 5:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. Mothers, please show your support for our fundamental right to protect ourselves and our families by attending and bringing your family with you to this important event. For more information, contact Melanie Cook at (877) 684-7553 or visit www.2aSisters.net/tx.


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.