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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 9, No. 44 11/1/2002


This is it! We are just a few days away from Election Day 2002—Tuesday, November 5. Your actions on Tuesday will determine the course of the debate on Second Amendment-related issues as well as the future of our freedoms for years to come. The only way we will win and freedom will prevail is if you, and every other pro-gun voter you know, goes to the polls on Tuesday, November 5, and Votes Freedom First! You must vote for pro-gun candidates on Tuesday, and spread the word far and wide to others who share our commitment to freedom.


To assist you and your fellow pro-gun voters in making an informed decision on Tuesday, please refer to your NRA-PVF Candidate Endorsements list that was contained in your November NRA magazine. You may also log on to www.nrapvf.org to find that information.

We must finish the job we began in 2000 byVoting Freedom First on Tuesday, November 5!


Voter turnout for this year’s elections is expected to be extremely low—perhaps even historically low—so while it may sound cliché, every vote will count, and the vote of the pro-Second Amendment community will be amplified! Many past elections, even federal races, have been decided by a mere handful of votes, so it is imperative that the pro-gun community doubles and redoubles its efforts to turn out the vote for candidates who strongly believe in defending our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Please share information about pro-gun candidates with your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners, and make sure that they too get to the polls and Vote Freedom First on Tuesday. The future of the Second Amendment hinges on your actions on Election Day.


This week, NRA President Charlton Heston, First Vice President Kayne Robinson, Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, and NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox continued with a series of "Vote Freedom First Rallies" across the nation. The tour has touched down in four more states, with two more stops in Tennessee and Florida today. After the final stop in Florida, NRA’s leaders will have visited 12 key states over the last two weeks. At these events, NRA members are encouraged to help elect pro-gun, pro-freedom lawmakers on Election Day—November 5.

This week, the tour started on Wednesday, with a noon stop in Tucson, Ariz. Approximately 800 NRA members heard from NRA’s touring leaders, as well as NRA Second Vice President Sandy Froman, a long-time Arizona resident. The next stop, later Wednesday evening, was in Wichita, Kan., and 1,200 NRA members showed up to hear from NRA’s leaders, as well as gubernatorial candidate Tim Shallenburger (R), attorney general candidate Phill Kline (R), and U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt (R). On Thursday, NRA’s leaders moved on to Oklahoma City, Okla., for a noon rally, which saw 500 NRA members turn out to support NRA’s speakers, and to hear from gubernatorial candidate Steve Largent (R), U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R), and U.S. Representative candidate Tom Cole (R). Thursday evening, the tour made a stop in Springdale, Ark., where Governor Mike Huckabee (R) and U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson (R) joined NRA’s leaders on the stage to address the more than 1,000 members in attendance. Today’s stops in Tennessee and Florida promise to be just as well-received as the previous ten. Our thanks go out to the thousands of NRA members whose support and attendance made these events such resounding successes! Now let’s finish the job we began in 2000 byVoting Freedom First on Tuesday, November 5!



The elections are only four days away, and NRA is doing all it can to achieve victory for the pro-Second Amendment community on November 5. As we did in 2000, NRA has posted its candidate ratings and endorsement information online, as it is critical that the entire pro-gun community knows which politicians are on its side when it comes to our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Anyone interested in knowing where candidates stand regarding the Second Amendment is encouraged to visit the website of NRA’s political action committee, the NRA-Political Victory Fund, located at www.nrapvf.org.



Maryland gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D) is attempting to adopt the strategy so many anti-gun politicians are trying to embrace—distance yourself from being perceived as anti-gun by creating a "pro-sportsman" facade. In fact, Townsend has somehow convinced one Maryland organization, the Maryland Sportsmen’s Association, to give her a grade of A-. But Townsend’s tenure as the Lieutenant Governor under Governor Parris Glendening (D) should set the record straight.

The Glendening/Townsend Administration has been incredibly hostile to hunters and fishermen. Under their reign, they have virtually eliminated the hunting of migratory Canada geese, even though the number of nesting pairs has reached record highs. In 1997, even though there was no valid scientific reason to support the move, the Glendening/Townsend team closed the Pocomoke and other Chesapeake Bay tributaries to fishing. The Glendening/Townsend Department of Natural Resources has refused to open even a limited season on black bear, even though scientists and game managers agree the moratorium is unwarranted. And earlier this year, the Glendening/Townsend Administration vetoed a bill that would have expanded deer hunting opportunities. But perhaps the most egregious offense the Glendening/Townsend team is guilty of is the appointment of anti-hunting and "animal rights" partisans to state and federal wildlife agencies. With a record like this, it’s hard to imagine how Townsend earned anything but an F from the Maryland Sportsmen’s Association.



Michael Bellesiles

, author of the highly-criticized "Arming America," and once the darling of gun-ban extremists, continues to plummet from the lofty ranks of being a respected, tenured professor to the depths of being a discredited "researcher" forced to resign. Last Friday, October 25, Robert A. Paul, Interim Dean of Emory University announced he had accepted the resignation of Bellesiles, effective December 31, 2002.

Bellesiles’s book has been the center of a firestorm of controversy ever since it first attempted to promulgate the absurd notion that firearms ownership was not widespread in America before 1840. As accusations that Bellesiles was guilty of research misconduct surfaced, Emory University began took 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’s "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 along with last Friday’s announcement that Bellesiles had resigned came the release of a 40-page indictment of the work by that committee of scholars. Commenting about Bellesiles’s "research," the committee found, among other problems, that in important areas, "he is guilty of unprofessional and misleading work." The committee also wrote, "We are seriously troubled by Professor Bellesiles’s scholarly conduct," and, "the failure to clearly identify his sources moves into the realm of falsification."

Even though this particular chapter of the Bellesiles saga may have come to an end, there may be more yet to come. In 2001, Bellesiles was awarded the Bancroft Prize for "Arming America," which is considered by many to be the ultimate prize an American historian can receive. While Columbia University, which awards the Bancroft Prize, has not responded to calls for revoking the prize and the accompanying $4,000 cash award, some scholars anticipate an investigation into just such an action may come soon.



This week, the House refused to concur with Senate changes to HB 19, the general tort reform bill which contains NRA-supported lawsuit preemption language. The bill has been sent to a conference committee to work out the differences between House and Senate versions of the measure. As we go to print, members of the conference committee have not yet been appointed. Please contact your State Representatives and Senators at home next week and urge them to pass meaningful tort reform during this special session that includes protections for the American firearms industry against reckless municipal lawsuits. For legislators` district contact information go to www.state.ms.us.


New Jersey gun owners and concerned citizens must help STOP two dangerous anti-gun bills advancing in the State Assembly. A438 is masquerading as a "ballistic fingerprinting" bill, but is really just firearms registration by another name. Similarly, A700, the proposed "smart gun" bill, is a complete handgun ban disguised as a "childproof" handgun bill. After failing to receive enough votes last week to be sent to the Assembly floor, A700 is slated for a yet another vote in the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee next Thursday. Although A438 may not see action in the Assembly next week, NRA members and fellow sportsmen must continue to hold their legislators’ feet to the fire on this bad bill, as well. Please continue to contact your Assemblymen and ask them to oppose both A438 and A700. If you are unsure of how to reach your Assemblyman, please call the main State Legislature information line, (609) 292-4840, and ask for assistance. You can also use our "Write Your Representatives" tool.



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.