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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 9, No. 46 11/15/2002


On Wednesday, theU.S. House of Representatives passed legislation establishing a newHomeland Security Department. The bill—passed on a strong, bipartisan 299 - 121 vote—includes language that would allow qualified commercial pilots to be able to have access to firearms as a last line of defense against terrorist hijackers. TheU.S. Senate began discussing the legislation on Wednesday, and is expected to vote on the final package by next week.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.


Another item that may be brought up during the "lame duck" session 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. Our main focus at this time is the United States Senate. The Senate bill, S. 2268, has 46 co-sponsors, which shows solid support.Please call both your U.S. Senators urge them to promote the passage of reckless lawsuit preemption legislation.

To contact your U.S. Senators, call (202) 224-3121, and ask to speak with your Senators’offices or use our "Write Your Representatives" tool.


After anti-gun U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) announced he would not seek another term as House Minority Leader, there was faint hope that House Democrats might select someone with a better voting record on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Those hopes were dashed on Thursday, when U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) was selected to succeed Gephardt. Even though Gephardt has a very bad record when it comes to the Second Amendment, Pelosi’s is worse. In fact, in 1999, the Representative from San Francisco voted against an amendment offered by U.S. Representative John Doolittle (R-Cal.) that simply asked that legislation being considered at the time recognize that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms and that the bill would not impose unconstitutional restrictions on any individuals right to arms. That amendment passed on an overwhelming 337 - 73 vote, with Gephardt voting in favor, along with the majority of Democrats and nearly all Republicans. Pelosi’s new second-in-command is Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who succeeds her as the Minority Whip. Like Pelosi, Hoyer is more than deserving of his "F" rating from NRA’s Political Victory Fund.

The decision of House Democrats to select as their leader one of the most rabidly anti-gun lawmakers to occupy Congress is rather puzzling. Especially in light of the fact so many anti-gun candidates suffered crushing defeats at the polls on Election Day little more than a week earlier and in the 2000 elections. Furthermore, a recent survey of voters conducted by The Polling Company indicates, yet again, that the vast majority of Americans support our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed—a mix of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—felt that the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in 2004 should "support the Second Amendment." Another 62% said they "wonder if [politicians] even understand my values or way of life" whenever they hear them "talking about gun control and restricting the Second Amendment." Once again, however, the Democratic leadership is stacked with politicians hostile to our Second Amendment rights, while the majority party in Congress—the Republicans—have a leadership line- up that understands gun control does not equate to crime control. While there are many Democrat lawmakers in Congress who support law-abiding gun owners, we wonder what it will take for their leaders to follow suit.


TheNational Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP) has released its 15th annual nationwide survey of chiefs of police and sheriffs, and the responses show, yet again, that our nation’s law enforcement officers support our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The survey was sent to more than 22,000 command officers, and the responses showed that 72% support arming pilots, 93% believe that any law-abiding citizen should be able to purchase a firearm for sport or personal protection, and 68% support Right to Carry as a deterrent to violent crime. Even though anti-gun organizations often use politically-motivated, anti-gun police bureaucrats to promote their gun-ban message, the fact is that the vast majority of law enforcement officers reject the extremist agenda of gun ban groups such as theBrady Campaign.



Going against the near universal trend of rejecting politically-motivated, reckless lawsuits aimed at bankrupting the lawful firearm industry, a Florida jury awarded the widow of a murdered schoolteacher $24 million, with $1.2 million of the settlement to be paid by the gun distributorValor.


The jury found that since the gun resembled a toy and lacked what they deemed a sufficient safety device, Valor would have to pay five percent of the total award. It defies logic to see how a student, who was sent home from school for disciplinary reasons, who stole a gun, who brought the gun to school, and who pointed it at and shot his teacher, would have thought the gun was a toy or how a "safety device" would have prevented his deliberate and homicidal act.

Lawrence Keane, Vice President of the National Shooting Sports Foundation noted, "This was a verdict based on emotion, sympathy for the victim, not the law. The firearm was legally sold and owned, but stolen, loaded, and pointed by a criminal. You might as well say Budweiser is responsible for drunk driving." Keane hoped, "An appellate court will have the sense to reverse this."



OnThursday, November 21, NRA members and fellow sportsmen will have the opportunity to make their voices heard on re-zoning proposals that may threaten the future of theBen Avery Shooting Facility inPhoenix.Combined with increased government efforts to close public land to recreational shooting, range re-zoning could spell disaster for Arizona`s shooting heritage. Gun owners must stand united against these dangerous re-zoning efforts. The public forum, hosted bythe Arizona Game and Fish Department and the City of Phoenix, will be held onThursday, November 21, at7:00 p.m. at the Ben Avery Shooting Range Activity Center, 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd. in Phoenix.Please call the Ben Avery Shooting Facility at (623) 582-8313 for more information. Public discourse on this proposed re-zoning plan will not only impact the future of the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, but the future of shooting sports in Arizona. NRA members and fellow sportsmen must make a strong showing.



NRA members must help put a stop to two anti-gun bills currently advancing in the State Assembly! Masquerading as a "ballistic fingerprinting" bill, A.438 is really just firearms registration by another name. Similarly, A.700, the proposed "smart gun" bill, is a complete handgun ban disguised as a "childproof" handgun bill. Both A.438 and A.700 are scheduled for a vote in the full Assembly this Monday, November 18. Please contact your Assemblyman immediately and urge him to vote NO on these anti-gun bills! NRA members are also encouraged to come out to the statehouse for Monday`s vote in a show of opposition to these bills. 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 or 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.