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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 8, No. 25 6/22/2001

Dr. Richard Corlin, the American Medical Association`s (AMA) new President, has decided the nation`s most well-known doctor`s group should openly admit that it has expanded its scope to include political activism in the firearm debate. The pronouncement was made Wednesday at the AMA`s annual meeting in Chicago, and according to a June 20 Associated Press article, the decision has caused concern that the organization is diving too deeply into the political agenda. Of course, the AMA has often supported attacks on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, while ignoring the many positive aspects of gun ownership, primarily self defense, and the group has been listed on the NRA-ILA Anti-Gun Support Fact Sheet for many years.

The AMA`s persistent anti-gun views have already led to the formation of doctors` groups opposed to attacks on law-abiding gun owners, such as Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO). AMA`s latest announcement will likely exacerbate the group`s own sickness, a declining membership that also means declining revenue from membership dues. While Corlin claimed he is merely interested in the AMA promoting more "research," NRA research coordinator Dr. Paul Blackman commented that Corlin`s platform is merely a "smokescreen," and his true intention is to have the AMA begin to promote gun control even more aggressively than it has in the past.

Perhaps the AMA should take a lesson from its own past. In 1999, the doctor`s group fired George D. Lundberg, who had been the editor of its Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) for 17 years, because Lundberg had allowed an article to be published that came to the conclusion that Bill Clinton thinks like an adolescent when it comes to defining sex. In 1999, the AMA felt that such actions "threatened the historic tradition and integrity of the [journal] by inappropriately and inexcusably interjecting JAMA into a major political debate that has nothing to do with science or medicine."

Today, though, it appears the AMA is quite comfortable with getting involved with the debate over gun control—a debate that has nothing to do with medicine. The AMA should be reminded to practice what it preaches, and stick to its areas of expertise—healing the sick and injured, eliminating the threat of disease, and other medical-related issues.

We are all concerned over crime, especially when it leads to law-abiding citizens being injured by their criminal attackers—regardless of whether the attacks involve a firearm, knife, club, or other tool used by criminals. But the debate over effective means to address crime should be left to those with the proper expertise. And if the AMA would like to see fewer accidents that involve firearms, it should promote proven safety programs such as those developed by NRA. NRA`s commitment to promoting firearm safety is unsurpassed, as we have upwards of 38,000 NRA Certified Instructors who reach approximately 700,000 people every year with instruction on how to handle firearms safely and responsibly. And our award-winning Eagle GunSafe™ Program has taught more than 15 million children to avoid firearms when they are not under close, adult supervision. Our safety programs have led to the lowest rate and number of firearms-related fatal accidents in U.S. history, and we will continue to work to drive those numbers even lower.

If you wish to contact the AMA to object to its latest efforts, you can write to the American Medical Association, 515 N. State Street, Chicago, Ill. 60610. You can also call (312) 464-5000, and AMA Members can call (800) AMA-3211. You can also find the AMA`s website at http://www.ama-assn.org/ .


Virginia State Senator Randy Forbes (R), a solid supporter of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, defeated anti-gun Louise Lucas (D), a fellow Virginia State Senator, in Tuesday`s special election to fill the vacancy in Virginia`s Fourth Congressional District. The pro-gun community helped Forbes win this special election that was needed to fill the void left by the death of U.S. Representative Norm Sisisky (D). While not all political pundits agree, many consider this election to be an early report card for the Bush Administration, and a possible indicator for what to expect in the 2002 mid-term elections. A FOX NEWS article quoted U.S. Representative Tom Davis (R-Va.), who serves as chairman of the Republican National Congressional Committee, as stating, "This speaks volumes as to where the country wants to go...." In contrast, U.S. Representative Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chair of the Democratic National Congressional Committee, claimed, "There was no national theme to this race...." Only time will tell if the outcome of this election should be viewed as a vote of confidence for President Bush and a sign of things to come in the 2002 elections.

But what is clear is that, regardless of party affiliation, support for the Second Amendment is an excellent plank for a winning campaign platform. The late Representative Sisisky, a staunchly pro-gun Democrat, was elected to 10 terms in a district that had been drawn to benefit Democrats, so the victory of a pro-gun Republican over an anti-gun Democrat should be just another sign to the Democratic Party`s leadership that it needs to stop promoting "gun control" as part of the party`s platform. Grassroots activists from the pro-gun community turned out in force to assist the Forbes campaign, and to support him at the polls. Voter turnout was exceptionally high for a special election, with nearly 40% of registered voters in the district casting their ballots, so the efforts of pro-gun activists were critical in ensuring success for Representative Forbes, who won the election with 52% of the vote to Lucas`s 48%.


The pro-gun community has grown rather accustomed to the anti-gun bias most members of the so-called "mainstream media" exhibit when covering firearm-related stories. So when the Arizona Daily Star invited a group of its readers to take part in a public forum to discuss how the paper covers the issue of gun control, local pro-gun activists, including NRA Director Todd Rathner, leapt at the opportunity to express their concerns. According to Bobbie Jo Buel, Managing Editor of the Daily Star, the topic of firearms was chosen because she was aware of the fact that many of the paper`s readers felt the paper could not be unbiased. You see, the Daily Star has an editorial policy that supports increasing restrictions on law-abiding gun owners, and it prohibits advertising legal, private gun sales. But the paper also claimed to be able to keep its advertising and editorial policies separate and independent of its news reporting. After the forum, which also included members of a local anti-gun group that is linked to Sarah Brady and her gun-ban lobby, formerly known as HCI, the paper established an "action plan," that includes:


Developing a formal course in firearm basics for its reporters;
Analyzing content to identify bias;
Revising publication and style guidelines;
Creating a directory of firearm experts;
Increasing outdoor sports coverage.


NRA Director Rathner described the forum as well run and congenial, and he felt cautiously optimistic that it was a step in the right direction. We look forward to updates from Todd, and hope the paper follows through with its stated intentions. Grassroots activists across the country should take note, and if their local paper also exhibits anti-gun bias, they should contact the paper to try to set up a similar forum. For those on the Internet who are interested in the Arizona Daily Star`s article on this forum and its action plan, go to http://www.azstarnet.com/star/sun/10617parham.html  . The article, "Gun enthusiasts should see changes in news coverage," by Maria Parham, should remain posted until Sunday, and then you may need to look for it in the paper`s online archive.



The Elkhart County Commission tabled its proposal to ban the carrying of concealed firearms in county buildings. The commission will again consider the proposal on July 2, so please call the commissioners at (219) 534-3541 and ask them to oppose the proposal.

NEW MEXICO The City of Santa Fe will hold two more public hearings on whether the city should "opt-out" of New Mexico`s new Right to Carry law. Please plan to attend these hearings and show your support for a uniform, statewide carry law that includes Santa Fe! Hearings are scheduled from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, at Sweeney Elementary School, located at 501 Airport Rd., and Wednesday, June 27, at Nava Elementary School, located at 2655 Siringo Rd. Both are in Santa Fe. The City of Espanola has indefinitely postponed any hearings on the same issue, but we`ll keep you posted if they are rescheduled.


The Ohio legislature passed HB 192, a bill that seeks to prohibit municipalities from entering into politically-motivated, reckless lawsuits designed to bankrupt the firearms industry. The bill now awaits Governor Taft`s (R) signature. Call Governor Taft at (614) 466-3555 and urge him to sign HB 192.


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.