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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 8, No. 32 8/10/2001



The gun-ban lobby formerly known as HCI/CPHV was dealt yet another crushing defeat in the courts on Monday when the California Supreme Court handed down an overwhelming 5 to 1 majority ruling that stated the obvious: gun makers cannot be held responsible when their lawful products are used in the commission of violent crimes. The suit, Merrill v. Navegar, was originally filed in 1994 by HCI/CPHV`s Legal Action Project as an attempt to hold Navegar, Inc., a Florida-based gun maker, responsible for the 1993 murderous rampage by Gian Luigi Ferri at a San Francisco office building. In 1997, the suit was dismissed by a trial judge, but a narrow 2 to 1 appellate court ruling in 1999 allowed the case to continue. Monday`s decision reversed the 1999 decision, ruling the suit was prevented by a 1983 law prohibiting civil cases against the manufacturer of defectless, lawful firearms.

The suit against Navegar may have been the crown jewel in the gun-ban movement`s ongoing attempt to bankrupt the lawful firearm industry with exorbitant legal expenses. In 1999, the Legal Action Project hailed the appellate ruling as a "historic victory," and claimed it would have "far-reaching implications" for similar suits. But Sarah Brady`s legal team is clearly as out of step with judicial trends as it is with mainstream America. The courts have consistently rejected these attempts to further the anti-gun agenda by using the judiciary to bypass the people`s elected representatives, and poll after poll shows the general public abhors these abuses of our judicial system. The California ruling is the second by a state supreme court rejecting reckless lawsuits, and numerous lower-level courts have handed down similar rulings.


The American Bar Association (ABA) responded quickly to Monday`s California ruling against reckless lawsuits, passing a resolution on Tuesday that established an official position by the group to oppose laws prohibiting the type of lawsuit that the California Supreme Court so strongly rejected. The resolution should really come as no surprise, though, as the ABA has long supported attacks on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Furthermore, the financial incentive to allow such suits to continue should not be ignored. While the courts continue to reject these reckless lawsuits, attorneys promoting the suits continue to get paid for their services. If you wish to contact the ABA to object to its recent resolution, you can find contact information at www.abanet.org/email.html.


Superior Court Judge John M. Quigley has ordered the city of Tucson, Ariz., to pay $22,375.32 in attorneys` fees. The decision stems from NRA`s assistance with a legal challenge to a Tucson policy regarding gun shows that was struck down in May because it violated Arizona`s statewide preemption law.


As previously reported, the "U.N. Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects" concluded with a final "Programme of Action" that posed no imminent threat to our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. However, many of the U.N.`s member states, along with anti-gun non-governmental organizations (NGOs), complained that more should be done to restrict law-abiding civilians from possessing firearms. The government of Colombia forced a discussion on further efforts to regulate firearms by the U.N. Security Council on August 2. The rotating presidency of the Security Council is held by Colombia for the month of August, which gives it the authority to make such a demand. The "debate" resulted in little more than a call by several nations to support efforts to severely restrict or outright prohibit the possession of firearms on a global basis. Secretary-General Koffi Annan told the Council the recent "Programme of Action" represented "significant first steps," and that it was "a beginning, not an end...." He encouraged "governments to continue to work on" the anti-gun provisions that were proposed in the "Draft Programme of Action," but did not make it into the final version.

U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham, however, reminded the Council that the role of the Security Council in implementing the "Programme of Action" was limited, and should remain so, saying, "My Government believes that the focus of the Conference, as reflected in the ‘Programme of Action,` was properly on the member states and their obligations and efforts to eliminate the illicit arms trade. Thus, the Security Council`s role is circumscribed. We do not believe that the Security Council should seek a more elaborate role, beyond its competence." While the close of the August 2 meeting brought an end to this round of U.N. discussions on firearms, it is clear that there are many member states that wish to continue the harangue, and wish to impose greater restrictions on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. And the "Programme of Action" calls for a new round of discussions in 2006, so this international debate is far from over.


Congress will remain on its August/Labor Day recess until September 3 for the U.S. Senate, and September 4 for the U.S. House. During this time, your Senators and Representatives will be back home in their respective states and districts, and many lawmakers use this time to hold town hall meetings, where they can report on what they`ve been doing in Washington, and take questions from their constituents. These meetings offer a tremendous opportunity for you to personally voice your opposition to any additional legislation that further erodes freedom, and to promote legislation that bolsters our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Please contact your lawmakers` district offices and ask when they plan to hold their town hall meetings during the August recess. If you do not know the number for your lawmakers` district offices, you can use the "Write Your Reps" tool at www.NRAILA.org.

In addition to attending meetings and speaking out in support of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, please forward the dates, times, and locations of any town hall meetings to your family members and friends who support the Second Amendment, and to the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division, so we may compile this information and share it with the pro-gun community. Please forward this information to the Grassroots Division by calling our toll-free number, faxing to (703) 267-3918, or by sending an e-mail to [email protected].



Two handgun licensing schemes are close to passage in the California legislature! AB 35 (Shelley), the Assembly`s onerous handgun licensing bill, successfully passed out of the Assembly by a mere ONE vote majority. AB 35 is now on its way to the Senate where it may be amended and sent back to the Assembly for a second vote. SB 52 (Scott), the Senate`s version of handgun licensing, is now in the Assembly and could get committee and full floor votes soon. Both bills must be stopped in the Assembly, or law-abiding gun owners in California will be subjected to a host of hurdles in order to exercise their Second Amendment rights! It is critical that you contact your Assembly member in Sacramento as soon as possible and respectfully urge him to vote "NO" on AB 35 and SB 52. You can find contact information for your Assembly member by using the "Write Your Reps" tool at www.NRAILA.org.


On Tuesday, August 14, the New Mexico Shooting Sports Association will host a candidate forum featuring 5 of the 7 candidates who are running for the office of Mayor of Albuquerque. The forum will be held from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the continuing education center located at 1634 University Blvd. NE. Please attend and find out where your local candidates stand on Second Amendment issues. Also, on Thursday, August 16, the New Mexico Department of Public Safety will hold a public hearing to receive input on the proposed rules for implementing the state`s new Right to Carry law. Copies of the rules are available at www.dps.nm.org, or you can request them by calling (505) 827-9000. The hearing will be held at 9:00 a.m. in room 322 of the state capitol in Santa Fe. Please make plans to attend and share your comments and concerns on the proposed rules.


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.