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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 9, No. 26 6/28/2002



NRA-ILA began putting out a weekly update on legislative and political developments that we considered to be of interest to the pro-gun community in 1994. We called it the "NRA-ILA FAX Alert" because fax machines, at the time, seemed to be the most popular, effective way to distribute timely information to as many people as possible. But the fax machine has been replaced by e-mail in popularity, efficiency, timeliness, as well as in cost-effectiveness. With this shift, we have determined it is time to change the name of this alert, which will now be called the "NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert." Those still utilizing a fax machine for delivery of this alert will still be able to receive it—although we encourage you to convert to e-mail if possible—and the type of information and calls to action will remain unchanged.

If you do have an e-mail address, but you still receive the NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert every Friday via your fax machine, please switch over to our e-mail system. We can send e-mail at virtually no cost, while each fax incurs the cost of a long distance call, not to mention your cost in paper. E-mail also allows you more flexibility in relaying our information to others, which we do encourage. If you would like to switch to e-mail delivery, click here. Once you start receiving our alerts via e-mail, call the Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683, and let us know we can take you off the fax system.




On Wednesday, the House Transportation Committee approved H.R. 4635—legislation that would mandate the establishment of a program that would allow as many as 1,400 (2%) properly trained commercial airline pilots to have access to firearms as a last line of defense against terrorist hijackers. The test program has bipartisan support, and would give preference to pilots with prior military or law-enforcement experience. While NRA would like to see this option extended to all properly trained flight deck crew, this legislation represents a good first step in the right direction, and was passed in committee on a voice vote.

There are lawmakers who would also like to see the program expanded to more pilots. During Wednesday’s Committee meeting, U.S. Representative John Thune (R-S.D.) discussed increasing to 10% the amount of pilots who could take part in this test program. Rep. Thune may offer his amendment when the bill is brought up for consideration before the full House, which could occur in the near future.

We can also expect anti-gun extremists to propose amendments that would completely gut this legislation, as their sole focus on airline security seems to be relying on reinforced cockpit doors and enhanced screening procedures at airports. On Wednesday, U.S. Representative Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) discussed several proposals she intends to introduce that would eviscerate H.R. 4635. She would allow the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)—currently headed by John Magaw (head of the BATF under the Clinton/Gore Administration)—to terminate the test program, and would require armed pilots to store their firearms in lockers at airports.

The full House should take up H.R. 4635 for consideration shortly after lawmakers return from their Independence Day District Work Period on July 8. The bill now has 55 co-sponsors, and support for it continues to grow. And while enhancing airline and airport security in other areas is certainly a laudable goal, it should be done in concert with arming pilots, not instead, as anti-gun lawmakers continue to suggest. As U.S. Representative Richard Baker (R-La.) told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, "In this day and age, you just can’t have too much security to help people feel protected from even the most unforeseeable threats, and [H.R. 4635] simply tries to make sure all the bases are covered."

Meanwhile, S. 2554, the U.S. Senate bill that seeks to arm properly trained flight deck crew, has 11 co-sponsors, and could use more. Please contact your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to co-sponsor S. 2554. And call your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121 and urge him to co-sponsor H.R. 4635, to oppose any anti-gun amendments to the bill, and to vote for it when it is brought to the House floor for consideration. You can find additional contact information by using our "Write Your Reps" tool.



We still anticipate the gun control lobby that calls itself "Americans for Gun Safety" (AGS)—along with U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), the group’s foremost spokesman in the Senate—could try to force a vote in the Senate on its anti-gun show bill, S. 890, at any time. S. 890 is designed to run gun shows out of business through a variety of registration and licensing schemes—and is clearly the first step toward the true goal of banning all legal private sales, including those between friends and family.

It is critical that you contact your U.S. Senators today and urge them to oppose S. 890 when it is brought up for consideration. You can reach your U.S. Senators by calling the U.S. Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Just ask for your Senators’ offices, or give the operator your state.For additional contact information, use our "Write Your Reps" tool.




In preparation for the upcoming campaign season, NRA-ILA is hosting FREE Grassroots-Election Workshops in several areas across the country. Three Workshops will take place in California—in Sacramento on July 9, Fresno on July 11, and San Diego on July 13. Two more Workshops are scheduled for Kansas, with the first in Wichita on July 11, and the second in Overland Park on July 13. South Dakota has Workshops scheduled for Rapid City on July 15 and Pierre on July 17. There are three Workshops slated for Arizona—in Flagstaff on July 20, Scottsdale on July 22, and Tucson on July 23. And Albuquerque, N.M., is set for an August 17 Workshop. At these Workshops, you will learn what you can do in your own community to ensure pro-gun candidates are elected to office this election season. NRA members who are interested in attending should contact the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683 for details and to reserve their spots. NRA members can also reserve their spots on-line.


Congress is scheduled to go on break for its Independence Day District Work Period from July 1 until July 5. Please contact your lawmakers’ district offices and ask if or when they plan to hold town hall meetings during the recess. If you do not know the number for your lawmakers’ district offices, you can use our "Write Your Reps" tool.


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 share this information 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]. You can find listings of the town hall meetings we know about by clicking here.





Last month, NRA members made a difference, as their phone calls to the State House helped ensure reform bill H.B. 1087 passed out of the Public Safety Committee. While the bill fails to make all of the changes needed to make Massachusetts state gun laws just, it is an important first step. But there is still work to be done! H.B. 1087 is now known as H.B. 5102, and has been in the House Ways and Means Committee for several weeks, and shows no signs of moving. Now is the time for concerned gun owners to once again push for action! Since the legislative session ends next month, supporters of the Second Amendment must act quickly! Please call your representative and ask him to urge Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Representative John Rogers (D), to release H.B. 5102 and send this important legislation to the House floor. If you are unsure of how to reach your Representative, please call the House Clerk’s office at (617) 722-2356 for assistance. Those on the Internet can also use our "Write Your Reps" tool . Please also call Representative Rogers, who can be contacted at (617) 722-2380.



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.