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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 8, No. 23 6/8/2001


The anti-gun extremists at theViolence Policy Center (VPC), an obscure group best known for its wild distortions of the truth and its call for a ban on all handguns, filed a lawsuit on Monday againstU.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and theDepartment of Justice (DOJ). VPC claims that a recent DOJ decision to delay aClinton Administration regulation, while conducting a careful review, is illegal. The regulation in question, however, would codify the illegal requirement that DOJ retain information on lawful gun purchasers who have not had their purchase of a firearm denied after undergoing a background check through theNational Instant Check System (NICS). Section 103(I) of theBrady Act clearly provides that no federal agency may (1) "require that any record" generated by NICS "be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States," or (2) use NICS "to establish any system for the registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearm transactions," except of ineligible persons. Additionally, 18 U.S.C. 922(t)(2), spells out that, if a person may lawfully receive a firearm, NICS shall assign a unique number, provide the number to the dealer, and "destroy all records of the system with respect to the call" (other than the number and the date) and "all records of the system relating to the person or the transfer."

NRA has been challenging the legality of the Clinton regulation in court for several years. We certainly appreciate the new AG taking time to look into the Clinton/Reno regulation, and hope he will do what he can to ensure NICS operates as originally intended—instantly, efficiently, and without infringing on the rights of the law-abiding.

The VPC suit is just the latest phase of an organizational vendetta the group has launched against AG Ashcroft. The VPC, you will recall, aggressively opposed Ashcroft`s nomination as Attorney General, launching a grossly misleading smear campaign that even went so far as to demand the AG resign his NRA Life Membership. Since that failed anti-Ashcroft campaign, VPC has launched other attacks, most recently openly questioning the AG`s honesty and integrity when he affirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. Of course, this is the same VPC that regularly attacks firearm safety programs, including NRA`s highly-acclaimed (even by many "gun control" proponents)Eddie Eagle GunSafe™ Program. And in April 2000, when given an opportunity to testify before theHouse Judiciary Committee`s Subcommittee on Crime regarding the proven crime-fighting "Project Exile" prosecution model, VPC`s representative spent most of her time simply attacking NRA.


Tuesday marked the end of a five-month campaign to defeatMike Feuer (D), an anti-gun extremist who was seeking the office of L.A. (Calif.) City Attorney. As an L.A. City Councilman, Feuer has been a long-time thorn in the side of NRA members and the pro-gun movement, and his defeat is the culmination of a massive grassroots campaign.Attorney Chuck Michel, an attorney who works closely with NRA on firearm-related legal issues in California, said, "This election is proof positive that Mike Feuer`s views on gun confiscation are too extreme for the good citizens of Los Angeles."Congratulations and thanks go out to all NRA members and supporters who worked so hard to ensure Feuer`s defeat.



HB 221, an important reform to the law that regulates the carrying of concealed firearms, was approved unanimously by the full House. HB 221 seeks to set up a uniform appeal process for carry permit denials. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration, and it appears that the Governor is likely to sign this legislation should it get to her desk. Please call your State Senator at (302) 739-4129 and urge him to support HB 221.


The Maine legislature is wrapping up its 2001 legislative session, and NRA members in Maine were successful in defeating the entire anti-gun agenda introduced on behalf of the Maine Citizens Against Handgun Violence, including LD464, LD774, and LD1119, the three most onerous proposals. LD464 sought to require that any transfer of firearms between private citizens be subject to a background check. It also sought to require anyone who sells a firearm at a gun show, or anywhere else for that matter, to become an FFL. LD774 sought to require the destruction of all confiscated and forfeited handguns, rather than allow police departments to sell them to licensed dealers to raise funds for law enforcement programs. And LD1119 sought to prohibit the possession of firearms without due process of law by individuals under a temporary restraining order. Thank you to all members who made calls to their lawmakers in opposition to these bills.


Ordinance #108, Albuquerque Mayor Jim Baca`s proposal to prohibit trained, law-abiding citizens who obtain a New Mexico Right to Carry permit from carrying a concealed handgun within Albuquerque`s city limits, has been pulled from the Finance & Government Operations committee agenda for Monday, June 11. We`ll keep you posted on any future action that is scheduled. Also, theCity of Espanola will hold a hearing for public input on "opting out" of New Mexico`s new Right to Carry law onMonday, June 11, at6:30 p.m. inCity Hall, located at 405 North Paseo de Onate in Espanola. Please make plans to attend and show support for a uniform, statewide carry law for trained, law-abiding citizens. Another hearing is tentatively scheduled forJune 20, and we`ll report details as they become available.


The House Civil & Commercial Law Committee will hold proponent testimony on HB 274, NRA-backed Right to Carry legislation, next Wednesday, June 13, at 9:30 a.m. in room 114. Scheduled to testify at the hearing is Yale Researcher John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, the seminal work on the success of Right to Carry laws. Also slated to testify is the Buckeye Sheriff`s Association. Additional testimony will be heard by the House Civil & Commercial Subcommittee at 2:30 p.m. in the Statehouse, in room 313. Please plan to attend and show your support. Also, HB 192, the NRA-supported Reckless Lawsuit Preemption bill, is currently before the Senate Civil Law Committee. Please contact your Senators at (614) 466-4900 and ask them to support HB 192.


Three NRA-supported bills passed the Legislature and await final action by Governor Rick Perry (R). SB 430 contains language that seeks to require elementary school resource officers to teach the Eddie Eagle GunSafe™ Program at least once a year, HB 1837 seeks to protect shooting ranges from nuisance lawsuits, and HB 2784 seeks to improve the way the Department of Public Safety maintains statistics on Right to Carry permit holders. Thank you to all members who made calls to their lawmakers on these bills.


During the 2001 General Assembly session, gun owners were successful in passing, among other improvements, a measure that will protect Vermont`s shooting range facilities from noise and nuisance actions aimed at shutting them down. This range protection language is a provision in the FY 2002 Capitol Budget, and will be signed into law by Governor Dean (D) shortly. When asked about Range Protection, the Governor said, "I only wish this language had been a free-standing bill, so that I could sign it specifically to aid sportsmen and the Second Amendment community in Vermont."


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.