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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 8, No. 22 6/4/2001

GRASSROOTS ACTIVISM PAYS OFF

The May 17 edition ofThe Herald-Mail, a newspaper in Hagerstown, Md., reported that a local car dealership ran into some difficulties with a gun turn-in program it was promoting.Hagerstown Ford had announced it would offer $1,000 toward the purchase of a new car to anyone who turned in a firearm to be destroyed. The three-day promotion was canceled, however, after pro-gun grassroots activists flooded the Ford dealership with their calls in opposition.

The article quotedSteve Palmer, president of theWashington County Federation of Sportsmen`s Clubs, as calling the promotion "blatantly politically correct." Palmer also called the ad campaign promoting the turn-in "completely untrue." The ad apparently echoed one of the anti-gun crowd`s most popular lies—that a firearm in the hands of a responsible, law-abiding citizen creates some sort of danger to the gun owner, family members, and friends. The backfiring PR event was created byArtemis Advertising, which issued a release after the promotion was canceled claiming the turn-in was intended "to check the abuse of firearms."Washington County Sheriff Charles Mades, however, stated turn-in programs like this one "are not going to get the guns off the street that we worry about." Crime levels have never been affected by gun turn-ins, as the participants are generally law-abiding citizens, and when confronted with this fact, sponsors of the programs (generally anti-gun extremists) have sheepishly said the turn-ins were important "symbolically." If that`s the case, our congratulations go out to those grassroots activists who symbolize the heart of the pro-gun movement, and helped to put an end to this anti-gun turn-in program.

GRASSROOTS ACTIVISM PAYS OFF—AGAIN

Grassroots activists also struck paydirt with Gander Mountain, one of the largest retailers of hunting and fishing equipment in the country. Considering Gander Mountain`s market, pro-gun radio listeners in the Detroit area were somewhat surprised to hear the company`s commercial air during a broadcast of the Mitch Albom radio show. Albom is a sports commentator whose ramblings have led many to consider him to be anti-gun. When Gander Mountain`s customers began to complain, the company acted quickly. Officials contacted Gander Mountain`s media company and requested that advertisements be pulled from airing during Mitch Albom`s show. Mike Sidders, Gander Mountain`s Business Marketing Manager, released a statement that read, "We at Gander Mountain take our outdoor heritage and Second Amendment rights very seriously, and we simply will not align ourselves with those who do not stand with us." Sidders also stated that Gander Mountain asked its media company "to perform a market analysis to ensure that the same mistake is not being made in other areas...." Again, congratulations to those grassroots activists who got involved. And if you hear of a similar problem in your area regarding the placement of a Gander Mountain radio advertisement, feel free to contact Mike Sidders at (952) 830-1644 or mike.sidders@gandermountain.com.

BANK OF AMERICA CLARIFIES POLICYM

When rumors began to circulate on the Internet thatBank of America(BA) had a policy of refusing business with firearms dealers, NRA sent a letter to the corporate headquarters asking for clarification. BA wrote back, stating, "At Bank of America, we do not have a company-wide policy preventing us from doing business with firearms dealers. In fact, we do business with many companies that sell firearms...." And while the BA letter would not go into detail regarding any situations involving a specific customer, it did state, "In the past, some of our BA Merchant Services, Inc., representatives may have discouraged certain customers from applying with us. There has been some confusion within our company and we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that our BA Merchant Services, Inc., associates are fully aware of our company`s position."

CONGRESS RETURNS NEXT WEEK— KEEP UP THE PRESSURE

Your U.S. Senators and Representatives will be back from their Memorial Day recess next week, so bring your grassroots pressure back to bear on their Washington, D.C., offices. As mentioned in a Special Fax Alert earlier this week, H.R. 2037—a bill that seeks to protect our Right to Keep and Bear Arms by preventing firearms and ammunition manufacturers from being sued for the criminal misuse of their lawful products by third parties—was introduced with 101 co-sponsors. Remember to thank your U.S. Representative if he is on the list of co-sponsors (included with this week`s Special FAX Alert), and urge him to become a co-sponsor if he is not.You can reach your U.S. Representative by calling (202) 225-3121. Just ask for your lawmaker`s office, or give the operator your zip code.

   
In addition, the attacks on gun shows will continue, so remember to renew contact with both your U.S. Senators and urge them to oppose Senator Jack Reed`s (D-R.I.) effort to shut down gun shows as we know them today (S. 767), as well as the Lieberman-McCain "compromise" gun show bill (S. 890). Contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to oppose the attack on gun shows, as well as any other anti-gun effort. You can reach your U.S. Senators by calling the U.S. Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Again, just ask for your lawmaker`s office, or give the operator your state. Or enter your zip code in the box at left to contact your lawmakers.

A LOOK AT THE STATES

CONNECTICUT

Thank you to all gun owners and sportsmen who made calls to their lawmakers this week—your efforts made all the difference!Late Wednesday night, gun owners prevailed in theState House, turning backSB 1402, anti-gunAttorney General Blumenthal`s (D) andState Senator George Jepsen`s plans for a California-style so-called "Assault Weapons Ban" that would have been an immense expansion of the 1993 Connecticut gun ban. Also contained in SB 1402 was a ban on a wide range of ammunition magazines. SB 1402 also included language streamlining the current handgun permit process eliminating local abuses and instituting a "Single State Permit." This bill is now referred back to the Senate for possible action in the next few days.

MARYLAND

Make plans to attend the FREE "Gathering" event Saturday, June 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event, coordinated by the Montgomery Citizens for a Safer Maryland (MCSM) and hosted by the Monumental Rifle and Pistol Club, will take place at the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore (AGC) facility near Marriottsville, Md., located at 11518 Marriottsville Road. You will be able to meet Maryland lawmakers, network with fellow gun enthusiasts, and visit with ILA Grassroots Staff and NRA-ILA Maryland Election Volunteer Coordinators. You can also participate in shooting sports activities under the guidance of range officers, view personal firearm collections on display, and learn about the AGC Range and the member clubs. Free sandwiches and beverages will be served in the afternoon. Invite your friends, family, and your elected officials, and RSVP to MCSM Secretary Bob Culver at 301-776-4488 (day), 301-776-4499 (fax), or e-mail bobcul@locul.com. For directions to the event, contact Mr. Culver or visit http://www.associatedgunclubs.org.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Next week, the full House will vote on House Bill 3167, the NRA-backed "Palmetto Exile Act." House Bill 3167 is a state-based version of the NRA-backed "Project Exile." The proposal would impose a mandatory five-year sentence, without parole, for convicted violent offenders committing crimes with guns, for drug dealers with guns, and for those carrying guns on school grounds with malicious intent. Please call your State Representatives at (803) 734-2010 and let them know that you support House Bill 3167.

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.