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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 9, No. 39 9/27/2002

RECKLESS LAWSUIT PREEMPTION
<align=center>TAKES CRITICAL STEP FORWARD

 

On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee reported favorably (passed) H.R. 2037—legislation to block politically-motivated lawsuits that attempt to hold law-abiding gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of their lawful products. The debate over this legislation was very heated at times, as anti-gun lawmakers sought to gut the legislation with unrelated or unnecessary amendments. In the end, the bill was reported favorably on a bipartisan 30 - 16 vote.

U.S. Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), one of the more active gun-ban advocates in Congress, shamelessly raised the specter of terrorism in order to further his personal anti-gun agenda, but his amendment was voted down on a bipartisan 37 - 15 vote. During debate over Waxman’s amendment, it was pointed out that existing law already provides for severe penalties should anyone be found knowingly to supply terrorists with arms. And the legislation itself, supporters stated, excludes entities from lawsuit protection under the bill’s negligent entrustment provision. Even after pro-gun Representatives John Dingell (D-Mich.), Chris John (D-La.), Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), and Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) pointed out the Waxman amendment was unnecessary, Waxman and Representative Tom Barrett (D-Wisc.) tried to argue for its passage, claiming it wouldn’t hurt. The anti-gun community clearly is not interested in passing laws that work, it is simply interested in passing firearm-related laws, even if they are ineffective, superfluous, or unnecessary.

Representative Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment that would have stricken the entire bill, and replaced it with a trigger-lock sale mandate. His effort, though, was ruled out of order, as it had nothing to do with the subject matter of H.R. 2037.

Representative Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), another shrill anti-gun voice in Congress, offered her own amendment that would have allowed the gun-ban organizations with which she often works to continue with their campaign of trying to drive law-abiding gun makers into bankruptcy under the financially crushing burden of frivolous litigation. Her amendment failed on a voice vote, but she may try to bring it up again at a later date.

The progress of H.R. 2037 is promising, and our thanks go out to all those lawmakers who have given their support to this reform effort. Energy and Commerce Committee Chair W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.) certainly deserves thanks, as do those Representatives who have been outspoken advocates of this bill. The House bill’s co-sponsor list—now at 231—continues to grow, as does the Senate’s version—S. 2268—which now has 42. Time, however, continues to be a factor for the passage of these critical reforms, as Congress will certainly operate beyond its targeted adjournment date of October 4, but for how long is not clear. 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. Or you can also use our "Write Your Representatives" tool.

ARMING PILOTS REMAINS HIGH PRIORITY

Establishing an effective armed pilots program remains a top priority for NRA during this Congress. The U.S. Senate has already passed U.S. Senator Bob Smith’s (R-N.H.) armed pilots amendment to H.R. 5005—legislation to would create a Homeland Security Department—by an overwhelming margin. H.R. 5005 still has yet to come up for a final vote in the Senate. Please continue to contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to keep the Smith amendment intact, or support similar language that will ensure passage of an armed pilots program that includes every pilot interested in participating in the program.

 

VPC APPLAUDS ERADICATION
<align=center>OF LAW-ABIDING SMALL BUSINESSES

 

The Violence Policy Center (VPC)—an obscure but exceptionally radical organization that openly advocates banning firearms—recently released a "study" praising the fact that many small-scale gun dealers have been driven out of business by excessive fees and burdensome regulations promulgated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (BATF) under the guidance of the Clinton-Gore Administration. But while VPC may celebrate honest, law-abiding citizens being denied the ability to take part in a lawful business, the organization must be frustrated knowing that driving small-scale gun dealers out of business has had virtually no effect on legal gun sales. The total number of firearms owned by law-abiding citizens remains at an all-time high, and continues to steadily increase. And contrary to the gun-ban communities mantra that "more guns means more crime," the nation’s violent crime rate has decreased to a 23-year low.

REGISTER TO VOTE!

Perhaps the simplest, yet most important action gun owners can take to ensure they will be able to help in the defense of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms is to make sure they are registered to vote. Only currently registered voters are eligible to cast their votes in the November 5 elections. Are you willing to let someone else decide who will speak for you in Congress or your state capital? Simply put, your vote is your voice, so USE IT OR LOSE IT! For voter registration information and applications for yourself or to share with your fellow Second Amendment supporters, contact the ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683 or click here. Gun shows, ranges, gun club meetings, and gun shops are great places to register pro-freedom voters. Remember, don’t stop once you are registered to vote yourself. Work within the pro-Second Amendment community in your area and help us register additional voters. Voter registration deadlines vary from state to state, butgenerally one must be registered to vote 30 days prior to Election Day, so act now!

 

NRA-ILA GRASSROOTS
<align=center>ELECTION WORKSHOPS

 

In preparation for the November 5 elections, NRA-ILA has scheduled FREE Grassroots-Election Workshops across the country. Forty-eight Workshops in 25 states have been conducted to date. These Workshops provide NRA members with training on what they can do in their local areas to ensure pro-gun candidates win their elections this year. The meetings 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:

Bristol, Va. — 9/28

Plymouth, Mass. — 10/1

Bellevue, Wash., & Modesto, Calif. — 10/2

Marlborough, Mass. — 10/3

Las Vegas, Nev., Norwich, Conn., &

Eau Claire, Wis. — 10/5

Kohler, Wis. — 10/7

Racine, Wis. — 10/9

Mankato, Minn. — 10/17

Monticello, Minn. — 10/19

Duluth, Minn. — 10/21

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 who have access to the Internet can also click here to reserve their spots on-line. Any NRA member who is unable to contact NRA-ILA, but still wishes to attend a Workshop that is drawing near, should please feel free to attend. We can register you on the spot.

 

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, get out the vote and Election Day activities, and other campaign activities. To locate your EVC so you can start working on pro-freedom campaigns TODAY, please 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, you may also refer to your October NRA magazine (which you should have received), 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!

 

2002 GUN RIGHTS POLICY CONFERENCE

This year’s Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC), sponsored by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the Second Amendment Foundation, will be held Sept. 27-29, at the Sheraton-Crescent Hotel, in Phoenix, Ariz. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre will be among the attendees. Registration, conference materials, and luncheon are free. Participants are required to pay for their own lodging, travel, and other meals. For more information, or to register for this year’s GRPC, call (425) 454-4911 or e-mail your registration to GRPC2002@saf.org.

 

CELEBRATE NATIONAL
<align=center>HUNTING & FISHING DAY

 

Saturday

, September 28, will be the 31st annual National Hunting & Fishing Day, and plans are underway for a nationwide celebration. NHF Day events around the country provide opportunities for outdoor-oriented people and urbanites alike to learn more about outdoor skills and activities, many offering hands-on events for archery, firearms and muzzleloader shooting, fishing, canoeing, cooking, or duck calling. Also, wildlife art and taxidermy, dog training, hunter and/or wildlife education, and outdoor skills enhancement for camping, hiking, bird watching, and photography can be found at most events. For more information on National Hunting & Fishing Day activities, click here.

 

 

A LOOK AT THE STATES

 

CALIFORNIA:

On Wednesday, Governor Gray Davis (D) signed into law two measures that repeal the 19-year-old exemption provision designed to prevent reckless lawsuits against firearms manufacturers. AB 496 (Koretz) and SB 682 (Perata), both opposed by NRA, join a handful of other anti-gun measures given the nod by Governor Davis, including AB 2902 (Koretz) and AB 2080 (Steinberg), which fund new programs by plundering Department of Justice’s Dealer Record of Sale account. This makes it even more critical that NRA members contact their federal legislators to voice their support for HR 2037 and S. 2268, federal legislation that, if passed, would preempt California’s enactment of this product liability legislation. If you are unsure of how to reach your federal legislators, you may call the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683. Those with access to the Internet can also use our "Write Your Representatives" tool. Also, the Los Angeles City Council delivered a stinging blow to the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in California on Tuesday, when it voted unanimously to ban the sale and possession of .50 cal. rifles. In addition, the LA City Council may vote as early as Tuesday, October 1, on an ordinance that would ban hunting ammunition within the city limits. To view the full text of the measure and locate information on how to contact council members to voice your strong opposition, click here. You may also contact NRA-ILA Grassroots at (800) 392-8683 for more information.

 

IOWA:

On Monday, the Burlington City Council passed an ordinance entitled "Gun Free Municipal Building Act" by a vote of four to one. Despite vocal opposition from NRA and Iowa Sportsmen’s Federation members, the council chose to pass the ordinance without ANY public debate or input. Since Iowa has a state law prohibiting local governments from regulating firearms, NRA is looking into the legality of the ordinance and will keep you posted.

NEW JERSEY:

On Monday, September 30, your State Senator will vote on SB 573 (formerly SB 890). This bill, sponsored by Senator Dick Codey (D-27), is a COMPLETE HANDGUN BAN masquerading as a "childproof" handgun bill. As currently written, SB 573 would set in motion an ultimate ban of all new models of handguns in New Jersey if so-called "smart guns" are introduced to the market. Even if one of these "smart guns" was pulled off the market for any reason, the ban would still remain. Simply put, SB 573 would ban ALL current models of handguns in New Jersey. As you may recall, the Senate has debated this issue before and is aware that so-called "smart" or "personalized" handgun technology does not exist. Amazingly, police are exempted from this mandate. If "smart gun" technology is so "smart," why would the one occupation in which employees carry guns regularly—law enforcement—be exempt from using it? Please contact your State Senator immediately and ask him to vote NO on SB 573! If you are unsure of how to reach your Senator, please call the main State Legislature information line, (609) 292-4840, and ask for assistance. Those with access to the Internet can also use our "Write Your Representatives" tool. The Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs is holding an informational press conference, "The Myth Of The So-Called ‘Smart’ Gun," on Monday, September 30, at 12:00 noon, in Committee Room #3, at the State House Annex in Trenton. NRA members are encouraged to attend.

NEW YORK:

Make plans to attend the Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education’s (SAFE) 2002 Right To Carry Conference. This free event will be held this Sunday, September 29, in Melville. At the event, you will have an opportunity to hear the latest information on the Right to Carry movement on Long Island, network with fellow Second Amendment activists, and hear from several guest speakers of national prominence. Scheduled to speak are NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, NRA First Vice President Kayne Robinson, NRA Second Vice President Sandra Froman, LEAA Executive Director James Fotis, SAFE President & NRA Director John Cushman, and nationally-syndicated columnist and radio talk-show host Armstrong Williams. Please make plans to attend. Again, the event is free, and will be held this Sunday, September 29, at the Melville Long Island Marriott, 1350 Old Walt Whitman Road, in Melville. The conference will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (doors open at noon). For directions or additional information, please call (631) 423-1600.

RHODE ISLAND:

On Friday, October 25, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre is coming to Rhode Island to honor Rhode Island State Rifle & Revolver Association Secretary Donn DiBiasio for his 40 years of dedicated volunteer service to Rhode Island gun owners. Without committed volunteers who believe passionately in our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, our battle would be lost. The event will take place on Friday, October 25, at the Grand Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 801 Greenwich Avenue in Warwick (use exit 12A off Route 95). The festivities will begin with a 6:00 p.m cocktail hour followed by the 7:00 p.m. dinner. To order your $30 tickets, please call (401) 233-0771. Proceeds go to continue protecting our firearms freedoms and hunting heritage in Rhode Island. Please make plans to attend this special event!

 

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.