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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 9, No. 45 11/8/2002

<align=center>NRA & GUN OWNERS


All of your hard work leading up to Election Day 2002 paid off with incredible returns, as voters have decided to send a more pro-gun Congress to Capitol Hill in January 2003. While the media have focused on the success of Republicans and President George Bush (R), we are proud to be able to state that NRA-PVF-endorsed pro-gun candidates (both Democrats and Republicans) won nearly 94% of 270 races at the federal level, although the final outcome in a handful of races has yet to be determined. Thanks to the efforts of NRA and its dedicated members, the pro-gun community saw a net gain of at least two pro-gun seats in the U.S. Senate, and at least 13 pro-gun seats in the House of Representatives. And with the Republicans regaining majority control of the U.S. Senate, anti-gun U.S. Senator Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) will no longer be able to wield power as Senate Majority Leader. That position will return to U.S. Senator Trent Lott (R-Miss.), a pro-gun stalwart. Due to your efforts, many anti-gun committee chairmen in the U.S. Senate will be replaced by supporters of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Republicans also added to their advantage in the House of Representatives—an accomplishment that is noteworthy considering it has been 100 years since the party last gained House seats while a Republican (Theodore Roosevelt) resided in the White House. This marks the fourth straight election cycle that Democrats have failed to regain control of the House—control they lost in 1994—a failure that is likely one of the reasons anti-gun U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) has announced he will not seek another term as House Minority Leader.

NRA success was not limited to federal races, though. Across the nation, NRA-PVF’s endorsed candidates seeking state and local offices enjoyed an amazing 85% success rate in approximately 2,300 races. Gubernatorial candidates running on anti-gun platforms were turned back everywhere, most notably in Maryland, although some anti-gun candidates were successful when they camouflaged themselves as being pro-gun. Overall, there are now 37 states with a governor that holds pro-gun views.

Our thanks go out to all of our members and supporters—especially NRA-ILA’s 300+ Election VolunteerCoordinators—who worked so hard to make Election Day 2002 such a tremendous success. Without your dedication, we would not have been able to achieve all that we have. With new pro-gun SenatorsLamar Alexander (R-Tenn.),Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.),Norm Coleman (R-Minn.),John Cornyn (R-Tex.),Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.),Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.),John Sununu (R. N.H.), andJim Talent (R-Mo.), and too many new pro-gun U.S. Representatives to list, NRA looks forward to working with our supporters, both old and new, as we promote our pro-Second Amendment agenda.Even with our successes on Tuesday, however, the pro-gun margin in Congress remains very thin. There is still a need to remain vigilant, as threats to our Right to Keep and Bear Arms will remain!




Anti-gun lawmakers and candidates were not the only big losers on Tuesday, as the gun-ban lobby formerly known as HCI suffered enormous setbacks at the polls. Each election cycle, the extremist organization looks for what it considers to be the 12 most vulnerable pro-gun candidates that it can target for defeat. This year, the group’s "Dangerous Dozen" list went after 10 candidates endorsed by NRA, one candidate who was not initially endorsed but had been endorsed in the past, and another candidate not even rated by NRA, but who was running against one of the gun-ban lobby’s favorite federal lawmakers of all time—Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). Lautenberg stepped in to replace U.S. Senator Bob Torricelli (D), whose ties to corruption had him heading for likely defeat. And while HCI’s endorsed candidate won that race, the vast majority of America’s voters continued to reject HCI’s extremist agenda. In the 10 targeted races where NRA had made an early endorsement, seven of our candidates won. HCI split the two remaining races, with Lautenberg winning against an unrated candidate, and pro-gun U.S. Representative Bob Ehrlich (R)— who received a late endorsment from NRA-PVF via a Get Out The Vote phone bank—winning his race for governor of Maryland.

In New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District, where NRA-PVF-endorsed Scott Garrett (R) trounced HCI-backed Anne Sumers (D), the campaign took a decidedly nasty turn when a Sumers ad tried to exploit the recent string of shootings in the Maryland/ Virginia/Washington, D.C. area. The ad pictured one of the accused killers, John Allen Muhammad, and implied Garrett’s pro-gun views may have contributed to the crime spree.

In the Maryland gubernatorial race, which pitted Bob Ehrlich against virulently anti-gun Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D), promoting attacks on law-abiding gun owners was one of Townsend’s central themes. Townsend, who was endorsed by HCI, also sought to exploit the crimes Muhammad has been accused of committing. According to the Washington Post, one day after her campaign promised it would avoid raising gun control as a campaign issue as long as the killer remained on the loose, Townsend reversed herself. An October 11 Post article stated Townsend "shipped a new ad to Washington TV stations that bashes her GOP opponent in the Maryland governor’s race for voting against a ban on [so-called] ‘assault weapons.’" Paul E. Schurick, a spokesman for Ehrlich, stated prior to the capture of the suspects, "We’ve got a killer on the loose, we have funerals taking place, and she and her campaign have decided to put that to use for their political gain. It’s shameful." And Townsend’s campaign went the added step of following up its "assault weapons" ad with one that called for "ballistic fingerprinting." A Townsend spokesman, Peter Hamm, defended his candidate’s strategy, stating "[I]t is certainly fair—and I think Washington [sic] residents will agree—to talk about where we both stand on the issue of gun control." Of course, Hamm should have been more concerned with what Maryland residents think, who clearly thought poorly of a politician who tries to use tragedy to promote her campaign. Ehrlich defeated Townsend, sending a Republican to the governor’s mansion for the first time in Maryland since the 1960s.

But HCI’s ineffectiveness at the polls was not confined to its "Dangerous Dozen" target list. HCI also failed to defeat any of the six pro-gun lawmakers it included in its "Dishonerable Mention" list. Furthermore, only three incumbent Republicans lost reelection in the House of Representatives, and two of those candidates were endorsed by HCI. And in many of the high-profile races where the gun-ban lobby made endorsements, such as in the gubernatorial races in Kansas and Pennsylvania, and U.S. Senate races in Colorado, Georgia, and Missouri, their candidates did everything possible to distance themselves from being labeled as anti-gun. In Missouri, where HCI-endorsed U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan (D) lost to NRA-PVF-endorsed Jim Talent (R), Carnahan tried disguising her anti-gun views by publicizing her fondness for skeet shooting and promoting her "Sportsmen for Carnahan" bumper stickers, although that tactic failed to win over the pro-gun community.

In the wake of what HCI should consider demoralizing losses at the polls, the gun-ban lobby’s tenuous grasp on reality has shown signs that it is slipping more than ever. Its press release on the elections makes the outrageous claim, "Where guns were a campaign issue, supporters of [gun control] won," and President Michael Barnes claimed, "The [NRA] did not win this election." The same release, however, also proclaims, "The NRA and their allies now control Congress...." And the release goes on to imply HCI’s anti-gun, anti-Ehrlich campaign in Maryland "was a winner." It’s hard to imagine how the group can consider the loss of Townsend, the candidate it supported more than any other, as "a winner." Especially considering both Townsend and HCI ran numerous ads attacking Ehrlich’s pro-gun record and his ties to NRA. Then again, this is the same organization that considers banning firearms, imposing ineffective licensing and registration schemes, and abusing our judicial system with reckless lawsuits designed to bankrupt law-abiding gun manufacturers as part of its "sensible gun policies."

<align=center>FOR "LAME DUCK" SESSIONS


Next week, federal lawmakers will return to begin working on several issues that remained unresolved when Congress adjourned in October. There will likely be a very brief "lame duck" session that will last only through next week, followed by another possible session between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

One of the items that may be brought up is reckless lawsuit preemption legislation. This legislation would block politically-motivated lawsuits that attempt to hold law-abiding gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of their products, but it still needs to move through both chambers of Congress. The House version, H.R. 2037, has 231 co-sponsors and has been passed by two committees. Its next stop should be the House floor for full consideration. The Senate version, S. 2268, now has 46 co-sponsors. The number of co-sponsors for each bill shows solid support, but time is rapidly running out for lawmakers to pass these critical reforms. Please call both your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative and urge them to promote the passage of reckless lawsuit preemption legislation.


Also, the U.S. Senate still needs to act on H.R. 5005—the legislation that would create a Homeland Security Department and which contains the Smith amendment. The Smith amendment seeks to establish an armed pilots program that would allow qualified commercial pilots to be able to have access to firearms as a last line of defense against terrorist hijackers. Please continue to contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to keep the Smith amendment intact, and to do everything possible to ensure any armed pilots program passed includes every pilot interested in participating in the program.


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.



New Jersey gun owners and concerned citizens must help STOP a dangerous anti-gun bill advancing in the State Assembly. Masquerading as a "childproof" handgun bill, A.700 is actually a complete handgun ban by another name. As written, A.700 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. Simply put, A.700 seeks to ban ALL current models of handguns in New Jersey. On Mon., Nov. 18, the State Assembly will most likely vote on this legislation. It is imperative that you contact your Assemblyman and ask him to oppose A.700. In addition, NRA will continue to monitor the status of A.438, the so-called "ballistic fingerprinting" bill. Although A.438 may not see action in the Assembly next week, NRA members and fellow sportsmen must continue to keep their legislators’ feet to the fire on this bad bill. 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.


On Wed., Nov. 13, a town hall meeting will be held in Catskill to consider a proposal to shut down the sporting clays shooting range at the Friar Tuck Resort because of alleged noise pollution. The development of a trend to close existing ranges because of noise complaints could spell disaster for New York’s shooting sports, so gun owners and sportsmen must stand united against this proposal. Anti-shooting activists are expected to be in full force at this public meeting, so it is important that sportsmen and concerned citizens make a strong and vocal showing! Please come out and support your sporting heritage onWed., Nov. 13, at7:15 p.m. at theCatskill Town Hall, located at439 Main Street inCatskill. Please call the Catskill Town Hall main information line at (518) 943-2141 for more information. It`s time to make your voices heard!



Congratulations to the Federation of Vermont Sportsmen for their successful effort to ensure hunting, trapping, and fishing access on the so-called "Champion Lands."

On Nov. 1, Vermont Governor Howard Dean (D) signed an Executive Order permanently protecting hunting, fishing, and trapping in the West Mountain Wildlife Management Area. The order also directs that roadways be maintained to provide access for sportsmen and requires active management to support game species. This brings to a close more than a year long battle over the management of the Champion Lands property. Our thanks go out to the leadership and members of the Federation.


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 being victimized. Since certified instructors schedule seminars on a daily basis, the most up-to-date schedule is available by clicking here, by e-mail at refuse@nrahq.org, or by phone at (800) 861-1166. Upcoming seminars:


Seminar - Corpus Christi, Tex.
Scott Thornton - 361-765-4790


Seminar - Halbrook, MA
Sharon Hirch - 781-335-3288


Seminar & IDW - Springfield, MA
Susan Piscator - 610-847-5396


Seminar & IDW - Cottage Grove, MN
S. Bierly & M. Bachhuber - 507-533-4307


Seminar - Lexington, VA
Donald Studer - 540-261-6280



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.