KEEP UP THE PRESSURE ON SENATE
<align=center>TO PASS ARMED PILOTS LEGISLATION
The U.S. Senate has still not taken action on S. 2554, which seeks to establish a program to train and equip all commercial airline pilots who wish to be prepared to use firearms as a last resort to defend the cockpits of commercial aircraft from hijackers. Similar legislation passed out of the House of Representatives last week on an exceptionally strong bipartisan vote of 310 - 113. And while pilots, flight attendants, and the general public overwhelmingly support the idea of arming pilots as one of the safeguards against a repeat of the terrorist hijackings of September 11, there are no guarantees the Senate will even be allowed to consider this proposal.
The bill is currently languishing in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, where the Committee Chair, Senator Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.), opposes the legislation. Thus far, he has refused to even schedule a hearing, and has simply used his position on the committee to impose his will on the entire Senate, as well as the general public. But support for this bill in the Senate is growing, and there are now 16 co-sponsors—including the normally anti-gun Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
Quick action in the Senate on S. 2554 is critical, so now is the time to contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to support this legislation. Please contact your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to cosponsor S. 2554, work to ensure the bill is brought up for consideration, or support its being offered as an amendment to other legislation being considered on the Senate floor. Those on the Internet can find additional contact information by using our "Write Your Representatives" tool.
Also encouraging to those millions of Americans who support arming pilots against terrorist hijackers is the recent announcement that John Magaw, the Undersecretary of Transportation for Security, has resigned. Magaw, who served as head of the BATF under the Clinton-Gore Administration, was in charge of the Transportation Security Administration, and was considered by many to be one of the roadblocks to implementing a program that would allow the arming of properly trained airline pilots. It has been reported that Magaw’s resignation was not of his choosing.
SENATE LAWSUIT PREEMPTION
<align=center>BILL NEEDS MORE CO-SPONSORS
, which seeks to block politically-motivated lawsuits that attempt to hold law-abiding gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of their products, continues to gain support. When we last reported, 13 Senators had signed their names to S. 2268—introduced by U.S. Senators Larry Craig (R-Id.) and Zell Miller (D-Ga.)—but thanks to the encouragement of NRA members and the pro-gun community, a total of 22 Senators have now signed on. This is excellent progress, but the bill still needs more co-sponsors. The House companion (H.R. 2037) already has more than half of that chamber’s members signed on as co-sponsors (227), and has progressed through subcommittee, so our focus has shifted to recruiting more support for the Senate bill. Please contact your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 to urge them to co-sponsor this critical legislation. Those on the Internet can find additional contact information by using our "Write Your Representatives" tool.
STATE AGs SUPPORT
<align=center>YOUR RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor
(R), along with 17 other state attorneys general, recently sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft that supported the Bush Administration’s "proper reading of the Second Amendment." This "proper reading" was in reference to the position held by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that "the text and the original intent of the Second Amendment clearly protect the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms."
Pointing out the benefit of law-abiding citizens being able to use firearms as a defense against violent criminals, the AGs went on to say, "As the chief law enforcement officers of our respective states, we wish to make one final point that is outside the scope of constitutional analysis. Simply put, your position on the Second Amendment is a sound public policy decision."
<align=center>HAS NOT REDUCED CRIME IN ENGLAND
In 1997, England’s response to the 1996 acts of a crazed gunman in Dunblane, Scotland was to ban handguns. Rather than place the blame squarely on the shoulders of a murderous madman and a police force that refused to investigate numerous complaints against him, gun-ban extremists fanned the flames of anti-gun hysteria that swept the country, and all law-abiding gun owners were held accountable. Of course, banning handguns did nothing to reduce crime. The Independent On Sunday, along with its online outlet, the Independent.co.uk, reported on July 14 that England (along with Wales) now has the ignoble distinction of experiencing more crime per capita than 17 other developed countries analyzed by the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute. England and Wales ranked first in "very serious" offences, and second in "contact crime"—which includes robbery, sexual assault, and assault with force. "Contact crime" was experienced by 3.6% of those surveyed in England and Wales, compared to 1.9% in the U.S. This latest report reinforces the growing concern over rising crime—especially firearm-related crime—in England. Crime involving firearms increased 8% last year, while handgun use in crime rose 9%. The 1997 ban appears to have had no effect on criminals accessing firearms, as most criminologists could have explained, and the number of handgun-related crimes was higher last year than it has been since 1993. The July 7 edition of the Sunday Mirror reported that some Members of Parliament (MP) are calling for the ban to be revisited. Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik wrote England’s Home Secretary, David Blunkett, stating, "The Government should be bold enough to admit that the law has not worked and review the ban. Anyone who wants to get hold of a firearm to commit a crime can buy a gun illegally." Unfortunately for England’s subjects who may be interested in obtaining a handgun for protection against the skyrocketing increase in crime, the Mirror reported that sources close to Blunkett are certain reviewing the ban is "extremely unlikely."
CSF ONLINE SURVEY
Recognizing a need to protect the interests of America’s outdoor sportsmen, a bipartisan group of U.S. Congressmen created the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) in 1989. In order to create a link between the CSC and outdoor sportsmen, the sporting industry, and conservation organizations, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) was founded shortly after the creation of the CSC. The CSF has now unveiled an online survey, HunterAccess.com, to gather input from sportsmen on access to federal public lands. Approximately 47% of American hunters take part in some hunting activity on federal public lands, and while there have been reports that access to public lands is lacking, specific information that could confirm or deny this suspicion has yet to be compiled.
"HunterAccess.com will allow us to get specific information about the improvements or declines in hunter access to federal public lands from the hunters that have direct knowledge of what is happening on the ground in the places they hunt," stated Matt Hogan, director of conservation policy for the CSF. "While we recognize that this is not a scientific survey, we hope that it will provide important insights that will fill in some gaps and help guide the research we are doing on this issue." Any hunters who have experience with hunting on federal public lands are encouraged to take part in this survey.
In preparation for the upcoming campaign season, NRA-ILA is hosting FREE Grassroots-Election Workshops in several areas across the country. There are three Workshops slated for Arizona—in Flagstaff on July 20, Scottsdale on July 22, and Tucson on July 23. Albuquerque, N.M., is set for an August 17 Workshop, as is Monroeville, Pa. And on August 24, a Workshop will be held in Mesquite, Tex. 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.
A LOOK AT THE STATES
Advanced voting for the August 1 primary elections begins July 24. If you will be unable to visit the polls on election day, or you would like to cast your vote early, contact your county election officer to request an advanced voting ballot. For more information on early voting, call the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office at (800) 262-8683.
Last week, the House of Representatives voted 114-32 to send reform bill H. 5102 to the Senate. While the bill fails to make all of the changes needed to roll back oppressive anti-gun legislation imposed by the legislature in 1998, it includes several important alterations, including provisions standardizing the size of firearm carry licenses and identification cards, and it would allow citizens with motor vehicle offenses and non-violent misdemeanors to own guns. Since time is running out for this bill to clear the Senate, Massachusetts NRA members must continue to call their State Senators and urge them to support H. 5102. If you are unsure of how to reach your Senator, please call the Massachusetts Senate information office at (617) 722-1455 and ask for assistance. Those on the Internet can also use our "Write Your Representatives" tool.
On Wednesday, July 24, New Jersey citizens have an extremely important opportunity to make their voices heard on the New Jersey bear hunt issue. The New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife and Department of Environmental Protection are hosting a joint public forum on the bear management issue at 7:00 p.m. in the Vernon High School auditorium in Vernon. For many years, the hunting of black bear in New Jersey has been prohibited, in large part due to the efforts of a small but vocal minority of animal activists. A rapidly shrinking habitat, recent mild winters, and the lack of natural predators have combined to foster an exploding bear population throughout the state and, not coincidentally, a disturbing increase in the number of black bear attacks on humans. Those opposing the possibility of bear hunting in New Jersey are expected to be in full force at this forum, so it is important that sportsmen and concerned citizens make a strong and vocal showing!
On July 16, the North Carolina Senate overwhelmingly passed H. 622, the NRA-backed measure to prevent reckless lawsuits against law-abiding firearm manufacturers. On a vote of 42-5, the Senate agreed to prevent municipalities from filing politically-motivated lawsuits that attempt to hold gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of their products. Thanks to your phone calls and letters, H. 622 is one step closer to becoming law. The bill must now go back to the House of Representatives for concurrence with the Senate changes. You can make a difference once again by encouraging your Representative to support H. 622! If you are unsure of how to reach your Representative, please call the main General Assembly number, (919) 733-7928, and ask for assistance. Those on the Internet can also use our "Write Your Representatives" tool.
Early voting for the August 1 primary elections has already begun in Tennessee. If you would like to vote early, you must act quickly: the deadline to submit your early voting ballots is July 27. For more information on early voting, call the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office at (615) 741-2819.