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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 8, No. 20 5/18/2001

NRA CONSIDERED MOST INFLUENTIAL LOBBYING GROUP

Since 1997, NRA has been steadily ascendingFortune magazine`s"Power 25," its listing of the most influential lobbying groups in America. This year, we reached the number one spot, displacing theAARP, which had held the top spot for years. Compiled byFortune`s senior writer and Washington bureau chiefJeffrey H. Birnbaum, the 2001 "Power 25" rankings are based on responses to a survey sent to more than 2,900 individuals, including every member of Congress, Hill staffers, senior White House aides, professional lobbyists, and top-ranking officers of lobbying organizations and companies. In 1997, NRA was ranked sixth on the list, in 1998 we moved up to fourth, and in 1999, our position improved two more spots again, moving us into a tie for second most influential, just behind the AARP.Fortune chose to skip compiling its ranking in 2000, as it "decided to wait for the results of the election and give the new President time to settle in before (testing) to see which...lobbying groups rose or fell in the new Washington."

Once again missing from the "Power 25" are all anti-gun organizations. In fact, if you go to Fortune`s website, at www.fortune.com, you will find its complete list of 87 "Top Lobbying Groups" for 2001, but you will not find two particular anti-gun organizations. NeitherHCI—the gun-ban lobby that touts itself as "the nation`s largest citizens` gun control lobbying organization"—norAmericans for Gun Safety (AGS)—the newest member of the anti-gun community, founded and funded with millions of dollars from Internet billionaire and formerHCI Board Member Andrew McKelvey—have been able to crack through to the list.

LIEBERMAN-McCAIN GUN SHOW "COMPROMISE" INTRODUCED

U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) andJohn McCain (R-Ariz.) have finally introduced their "compromise" gun show legislation, and as predicted, it is an unworkable "middle ground" bill offered as an "alternative" to S. 767—Senator Jack Reed`s(D-R.I.) reincarnation of the failed 1999Lautenberg amendment that sought to end gun shows as we know them today. If passed, the Lieberman- McCain bill,S. 890, would still allow a waiting period on gun purchases of as long as five days, would add miles of bureaucratic red tape, and would set up a gun registration scheme that is far more intrusive than Reed/Lautenberg. And if anyone still has any doubts as to whether or not the Lieberman-McCain bill is bad news for law-abiding gun owners (you can get more details by calling the Grassroots Division at 1-800-392-8683 and requesting a Fact Sheet on this bill), it should be noted that one of Congress`s most vocal and active anti-gun extremists,Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), has signed on as a cosponsor.

But the anti-gun community cannot seem to decide which of these two anti-gun bills would best suit its goal of imposing more restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. The anti-gun AGS—which has already stated its long-term goal as the registration of firearms and licensing of firearm owners—has promised to spend at least one million dollars on a deceptive and misleading media campaign in support of S. 890. In contrast, theViolence Policy Center—a small extremist group that advocates banning all handguns—has thrown its support behind S. 767, opposes the Lieberman-McCain bill, and has publicly questioned AGS`s strategy to promote "gun control." Meanwhile, the gun-banners at HCI have decided to split the difference, and are supporting both bills.

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 S. 890. 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!
   
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HCI TO BECOME BCPGV

In its continued search for public acceptance, HCI appears ready to take on its third name in its brief history. Founded in 1974 as theNational Council to Control Handguns (NCCH), it later changed its name to Handgun Control, Inc., and is now poised to undergo yet another superficial transformation.

OnJune 14, 2001, HCI will officially become theBrady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, or BCPGV, while its "educational" arm, theCenter to Prevent Handgun Violence, will become theBrady Center to Prevent Gun Violence—also BCPGV.

But to avoid confusion, we`ll just keep things simple, and continue to refer to this organization by the more appropriate and accurate name of the "gun-ban lobby."

A LOOK AT THE STATES

CALIFORNIA

SB 52, the "English only" Handgun Licensing Bill, and SB 510, which mandates all semi-automatic pistols include a chamber load indicator, will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, May 21. AB 35, the Assembly`s version of the "English only" Handgun Licensing measure will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, May 23. Please keep your calls going into the members of the Appropriations Committees prior to the hearings, and urge them to oppose SB 52, SB 510, and AB 35. For a complete listing of committee members click here , or call NRA-ILA Grassroots at (800) 392-8683.

MARYLAND

Governor Glendening (D) has done it again! His total disregard of the Second Amendment and gun owners throughout the state was made crystal clear once again when he vetoed SB 124, legislation that mandates gun safety education for every student in Maryland. Despite preaching that gun safety is needed in Maryland schools, his true colors shone through. Glendening`s actions this week have denied school children throughout Maryland a valuable education in firearms safety!

NEVADA

This week, the Assembly passed SB 20 and SB 172. SB 20 will allow non-residents to apply for a Nevada Right To Carry permit, provided they pass a background check and complete a firearms training course. SB 172 abolishes the two-gun-per-permit limitation for Nevada Right To Carry permits. The bills now go to Governor Guinn (R) for consideration. Please contact Governor Guinn at (775) 684-5670 and urge him to sign these bills.

NEW MEXICO

On Monday, May 21, Albuquerque Mayor Jim Baca is expected to introduce an ordinance to prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns within city limits. This comes more than one month before the new state Right To Carry law is even scheduled to take effect! Please attend Monday`s City Council meeting at 5:00 p.m., in City Council Chambers, located in the basement of City Hall, at One Civic Plaza NW, in Albuquerque. If you want to speak on this issue during the public comment period of the meeting, please arrive by 4:30 to sign up in advance. If you cannot attend Monday`s meeting, contact City Councillors at (505) 768-3100 or www.cabq.gov and urge them to oppose Mayor Baca`s misguided proposal.

OHIO

HB 192, which protects the lawful firearms industry from reckless lawsuits, passed out of the Ohio House of Representatives. Please contact your Senators and urge them to support HB 192 when it comes before the Senate for consideration.
   

TEXAS

This week, the Senate gave final approval to HB 1837 by Rep. Mary Denny (R-Aubrey) & Sen. Ken Armbrister (D-Victoria), which extends certain protections from nuisance lawsuits based on noise, to sport shooting ranges built after 1991, and to those facilities located in cities or counties with no noise rules or ordinances.

NRA ILA

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.