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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 9, No. 35 8/30/2002

CONGRESS BACK IN SESSION

Congress returns next week from itsSummer District Work Period, with theHouse andSenate both scheduled to reconvene onTuesday,September 3. There is little time left for this Congress to take action on pro-gun reforms, so it is imperative that the pro-gun community makes its collective voice heard. There are currently two critical legislative issues that Congress needs to address—armed pilots (S. 2554/H.R. 4635) and reckless lawsuit preemption (S. 2268/H.R. 2037)—so please act immediately to ensure your lawmakers do everything possible to promote these bills.

 

H.R. 4635 is the House bill that seeks to establish a program to train all participating commercial airline pilots to use firearms as a last resort to defend the cabins of commercial aircraft from hijackers. This legislation passed the House by an overwhelming 310 - 113 vote on July 10. S. 2554, the Senate bill, must be acted on as soon as possible if it is to become law. Currently, 25 Senators are co-sponsors of this bill, so please call both your Senators and urge them to sign on as co-sponsors, ask for a vote on the bill, and support it in its current form when it is brought up for consideration. If one or both of your Senators is already a co-sponsor of S. 2554, thank him for his support, and urge him to encourage his Senate colleagues to co-sponsor this legislation and support the bill’s passage.

Reckless lawsuit preemption legislation, which would block politically-motivated lawsuits that attempt to hold law-abiding gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of their products, needs to move through both chambers of Congress. The House version, H.R. 2037, has 228 co-sponsors, which represents a majority of U.S. Representatives. The Senate version, S. 2268, has 38 co-sponsors, which is a solid show of support. As with armed pilots legislation, however, time is rapidly running out for these bills. Please call both your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative and urge them to promote the passage of reckless lawsuit preemption legislation.

 

To contact your U.S. Representative, call (202) 225-3121, and to reach your U.S. Senators, call (202 224-3121. Just ask to speak with your particular lawmaker. Those on the Internet can also use our "Write Your Representatives" tool.

MORE ELECTIONS AROUND THE CORNER

Delaware

will hold its primary elections on Saturday, September 7, and Maryland Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island will hold their primary elections the following Tuesday, September 10. NRA members should have already received information on candidates endorsed by the NRA-Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) for the primaries, or will shortly, so please be sure to go to the polls and support pro-gun candidates for office, and encourage your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners to do the same. NRA members in these states who have not received this information can call the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-VOTE (8683) for more election-related information.

 

NRA-ILA GRASSROOTS ELECTION WORKSHOPS

In preparation for the upcoming campaign season, NRA-ILA has scheduled FREE Grassroots-Election Workshops across the country. These Workshops provide NRA members with training on what they can do to ensure pro-gun candidates win key primary races and on Election Day, Nov. 5. These Workshops also provide a venue for lawmakers, candidates seeking office, and their staffs to reach out to NRA members and explain their positions on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Upcoming Workshops are slated for:

Spokane, Wash. — 9/5
Sioux Falls, S.D., & Omaha, Neb. — 9/7
Aberdeen, S.D. — 9/9
Davenport, Iowa — 9/10
Ames, Iowa — 9/12
South Bend, Ind. — 9/14
Dayton, Ohio — 9/16
Augusta, Ga., & Lehigh Valley, Pa. — 9/17
Marietta, Ga., & Wyomissing, Pa. — 9/18
Fayetteville, N.C. — 9/19
Charlotte, N.C., & Manchester, N.H. — 9/21
Nashville, Tenn. — 9/23
St. Louis, Mo. — 9/24
Jackson, Tenn., & Columbia, Mo. — 9/25
Kansas City, Mo. — 9/26
Bristol, Va. — 9/28
Las Vegas, Nev., Norwich, Conn., & Eau Claire, Wis. — 10/5
Kohler, Wis. — 10/7
Racine, Wis. — 10/9

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 or go to http://www.NRAILA.org/Work Shops.asp.

 

Even if you cannot attend a Workshop, or none is scheduled near you, there is still plenty you can do to help ensure victory for the pro-gun community during this election cycle. To assist you with this, NRA-ILA has designated an individual in almost every congressional district (known as an NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinator [EVC]) who stands ready to plug you into ongoing campaign activities. The EVC in your district is a fellow NRA member who is working to provide pro-gun campaigns in your state and area with volunteers to help with phone banks, literature drops, voter registration drives, precinct walks, and other campaign activities. To locate your EVC so you can start working on pro-freedom campaigns today, you may call the ILA Grassroots at (800) 392-VOTE (8683), or click here. If your district currently has a vacancy for an EVC, and you would like to serve in this capacity, please call the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division and ask to speak with the Grassroots Coordinator for your state.

Finally, keep an eye out for your October NRA magazine (which should arrive mid to late-September), as your district’s EVC’s contact information will appear on the front cover. But please don’t wait until then: Contact your EVC and begin your work TODAY!

 

BELLESILES HAS "NO CLASS"

Emory University

recently announced controversial History Professor Michael Bellesiles has been placed on paid leave, and he will not be allowed to instruct classes this fall. Bellesiles, once a darling of the anti-gun community, has been the subject of mounting criticism ever since his book,Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, attempted to promulgate the novel notion that the possession of firearms by responsible, law-abiding citizens was not widespread in early America. Bellesiles’s book received high praise from gun-ban extremists and the anti-gun media (theNew York Times actually gave the book praise before it was ever released) for trying to "prove" that most Americans around the time of our country`s formation did not own firearms.

But numerous scholars and researchers began questioning Bellesiles’s research and conclusions almost the moment his work hit the shelves of book stores in 2000. Thus far, the author’s defense has been a mixed bag of claims that he lost his notes, his office was flooded, can’t remember where he did his "research," his website was "hacked" for the purpose of "altering and deleting material," and his critics are politically or ideologically motivated.

As accusations mounted that Bellesiles was guilty of research misconduct, incompetency, and massive misrepresentation, Emory University began to take action. First, the Atlanta private school ordered the historian to defend his work late last year. In February of this year, Emory announced its own investigation of Bellesiles and his "research." In April, the school said it had completed its internal investigation, and "concluded that further investigation would be warranted by an independent committee of distinguished scholars." And while the current investigation was originally supposed to be concluded by September, the recent announcement about Bellesiles’s paid leave also stated the investigation is "continuing," and "Professor Bellesiles and the university have agreed that the results of the university’s inquiry will be made public when the inquiry is completed."

We will continue to follow the trials and tribulations of Professor Bellesiles with great interest, but perhaps some of his biggest fans have noticed vultures circling over his career and credibility. Even the gun-ban lobby formerly known as HCI seems to have abandoned Bellesiles, and has apparently pulled any mention of his book or his "research" from its website.

A LOOK AT THE STATES

CALIFORNIA

This week, California freedom fighters were dealt a stinging blow, as both Senate Bill 682 (Perata) and Assembly Bill 496 (Koretz), which threaten the lawful manufacturers and dealers of firearms and ammunition, advanced out of the Assembly, despite passionate opposition from NRA members and fellow gun owners. AB 496, the measure that would remove the exemption for firearm manufacturers from product liability lawsuits, is on its way to the Governor’s desk for his consideration after it passed off the Assembly floor by a slim majority vote. As of this posting, the companion bill, SB 682, is expected to join AB 496 on the Governor’s desk once the Senate concurs on amendments as early as this week. These bills are supported by the usual anti-gun suspects, including the gun ban lobby formerly known as Handgun Control, Inc, and the Million Mom March; groups that want nothing more than the complete and total destruction of our firearms heritage, and that view the passage of SB 682 and AB 496 as one more way to reach their goal. NRA members and fellow sportsmen must immediately contact Governor Gray Davis (D) at (916) 445-2841 and ask for a veto of both measures. On Tuesday, September 3, the Los Angeles City Council will vote on an ordinance that would ban hunting ammunition within the city limits. Click here to view the full text of the measure and locate information on how to contact council members to voice your opposition. You may also contact NRA-ILA Grassroots at (800) 392-8683 for more information.

NEW JERSEY

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. Last month, New Jersey sportsmen and concerned citizens made their voices heard on the bear management issue at a joint public forum hosted by the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife and Department of Environmental Protection. Three more of these bear hunt forums have now been scheduled around the state for September 10, 17, and 19. Please mark your calendars with these important dates. Specific meeting times and locations will follow in subsequent Alerts.

RTBAV TRAINING

NRA`s Refuse To Be A Victim

® program provides men and women with common-sense crime prevention and personal safety strategies that can be used to decrease their chances of victimization. Since certified instructors schedule seminars on a daily basis, the most up-to-date schedule is available at www.nrahq.org/rtbav, by e-mail at refuse@nrahq.org, or by phone at (800) 861-1166. Upcoming seminars;

8/31/02
Seminar - Richardson, TX
Mike Smith
(214) 773-3453
SAFEFoundation@sbcglobal.net

8/31/02
Seminar - Jackson, MS
Yvonne Banks
(601) 922-5963
ybanks@city.jackson.ms.us

9/1/02
Seminar - Richardson, TX
Mike Smith
(214) 773-3453
SAFEFoundation@sbcglobal.net

Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

NRA ILA

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.