<align=center>EXPLOIT SEPTEMBER 11 TRAGEDIES
As we predicted, the anti-Second Amendment community has employed the disgraceful tactic of exploiting our nation`s fear over terrorism to promote attacks on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. On September 25, the Boston Globe published a grossly misleading attack on gun shows by syndicated columnist Tom Oliphant—an attack clearly inspired by a "fact sheet" provided to him by the anti-gun organization called Americans for Gun Safety (AGS). Oliphant and AGS seem to have collaborated in a deliberate attempt to inject the word "terrorist" into the gun show debate by digging up a case the FBI began investigating more than a year ago. Oliphant and AGS attempted to use the case of a convicted felon, Ali Boumelhem, suspected of going to gun shows to purchase firearms intended to be shipped overseas for use in terrorist activities as a reason for promoting legislation that would shut down gun shows as we know them today. The facts do not support the anti-gunners, though, because the system worked—the suspect was arrested, prosecuted, and convicted in federal court.
In order to foster the ruse that there was a link between gun shows and terrorism, AGS selectively edited material it sent journalists and members of Congress to try to create a nexus for its agenda of placing new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. The AGS "fact sheet" mailing states an FBI informant previously had seen Boumelhem in Beirut unloading shipments of weapons and explosives. The Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, which AGS cites as its source, is much more specific, saying the FBI informant "had seen Boumelhem in Beirut unloading shipments of automatic weapons, explosives, grenades and rocket launchers." Clearly, "automatic weapons, explosives, grenades and rocket launchers" was changed to "weapons and explosives" by AGS, knowing full well that none of those items can be bought or sold at any gun show anywhere in America.
AGS, the recent creation of anti-gun billionaire (and a past board member of the gun-ban lobby formally known as HCI) Andrew McKelvey, was conceived as a public relations ploy to push the same old gun control agenda behind the facade of "third way" centrist rhetoric. And despite its carefully focus-grouped moniker, McKelvey`s creation has zero Americans for members and nothing to do with gun safety programs.
AGS is joined in its shameless exploitation of tragedy by McKelvey`s old friends at HCI. But Sarah Brady`s gun-ban lobby took Oliphant`s column a step further, and is using it to promote the registration of all law-abiding gun purchasers. But even more shamelessly than AGS, which refuses to publicly admit its true national agenda is the licensing and registration of all gun owners, HCI has further expanded the exploitation of the tragic events of September 11. Virtually every release from the gun-ban lobby concerning the recent terrorist attacks—attacks, we should all remember, that did not involve any firearms—has included a pitch promoting its anti-gun agenda. Even a recent release regarding the discussion of arming airline pilots as a possible safeguard against terrorist hijackings saw the gun-ban lobby`s president, Michael Barnes, include a pitch for registering gun owners.
In the days and weeks to come, Congress will consider many proposals that seek to ensure America`s safety from terrorists, but promoting attacks on legal gun shows and pushing registration schemes for law-abiding gun owners have no place in this discussion. Be sure to let your federal lawmakers know that the debate over legislative attacks on legal gun shows, such as S. 767, introduced by U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and S. 890, introduced by U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), have no place in an appropriate congressional debate on the threat of terrorism. Be sure to contact your U.S. Senators, at (202) 224-3121, and your U.S. Representative, at (202) 225-3121, and urge them to do everything possible to end the threat of terrorism, but not at the expense of our freedom. You can also find contact information for your federal lawmakers by using our "Write Your Reps" tool.
<align=center>FOR THE GUN-BAN LOBBY
While still a considerable threat to the Second Amendment, the gun ban lobby formally known as HCI has fallen on hard times. Not only has mainstream America consistently rejected its anti-gun agenda, but now it seems its supporters are losing interest as well. The group announced this week that it had to lay off nearly 20% of its staff, apparently due to the fact that contributions are rapidly drying up. Could this mean that many in the anti-gun community are starting to realize that attacking law-abiding gun owners is not the answer to addressing crime—or terrorism? A front page article in the September 27 issue of Roll Call may give this theory some support. The article relates how many on Capitol Hill are responding to the recent terrorist attacks, and the possibility that more attacks may be in the future, and states, "Several lawmakers described colleagues—including some advocates of strict controls on handguns—who are now seeking firearms training in hopes of protecting themselves if the need should arise." Even film maker Michael Moore, who helped pressure Kmart into pulling handgun ammunition from its shelves earlier this year, seems to have changed some of his views. Writing about his experience while visiting the site of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Moore commented, "This started out as a documentary on gun violence in America, but the largest mass murder in our history was just committed—without the use of a single gun! Not a single bullet fired! No bomb was set off, no missile was fired, no weapon . . . was used. A boxcutter!—I can`t stop thinking about this. A thousand gun control laws would not have prevented this massacre. What am I doing?"
Unfortunately, even as HCI and the gun-ban movement continue to lose support, they remain credible threats to our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Anti-gun elitists such as AGS`s billionare Andrew McKelvey can still funnel incredible amounts of financial support into anti-gun efforts. And while most in the mainstream media have currently turned their focus to America`s response to terrorism, it is likely only a matter of time before America`s return to normalcy includes a return to the mainstream media`s biased support of gun control.
RIGHT TO CARRY IN MICHIGAN
Perhaps yet another indication that the anti-gun movement is losing some steam is the report that opponents of Michigan`s new Right to Carry law have given up on their effort to try to overturn the law through a ballot initiative. According to a September 26 Associated Press story, the groups opposed to allowing law-abiding citizens the means to protect themselves and their families from violent criminals simply didn`t have the money to maintain their effort, and they realized that they were destined to lose. David Fink, a coordinator of the anti-self defense effort, said of trying to bring the issue to the voters, "It would be a horrible waste . . . and a tremendous setback to put (repealing Right to Carry) on the ballot and then lose."
A LOOK AT THE STATES
On Thursday, October 4, Assemblyman Dick Dickerson (R-Redding) will provide NRA members with an inside look at legislation affecting the pro-gun community and what we can expect to see before the Legislature in 2002. In addition NRA-ILA Calif. State Liaison Ed Worley and Attorney Chuck Michel will give an update on gun-related matters before the courts. This is your opportunity to hear what`s happening in Sacramento and learn how you can get involved in the fight to protect your Second Amendment rights in California! The event will take place at the Vacaville Opera House, at 560 Main Street #E in Vacaville at 7:00 p.m.
NRA Members in the City of Albuquerque are reminded to vote in the Tuesday, October 2, election for mayor and city councillors. You should have already received by U.S. Mail a list of recommended pro-gun candidates this week. Turnout is expected to be low, so your vote will make the difference in deciding who speaks for you in your own local government! If you are an NRA member that has not received our mailing, please contact NRA-ILA`s Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683, and we will be happy to fill you in on ratings and endorsements for this election.