<ALIGN=CENTER>SPECIAL ELECTION IS TOMORROW!
,December 7, voters inLouisiana will determine the final U.S. Senate race for2002! Louisiana’s election laws require a run-off between the top two vote getters in any race in which a candidate does not receive a majority (50%+1) of the vote. Because no candidate received a majority in the November 5 race for U.S. Senate, Louisianans will have an opportunity to cast their votetomorrow, December 7 in this important race. Every pro-Second Amendment voter must make sure his voice is heard by voting at the pollstomorrow, December 7.
NRA members in Louisiana should have already received details from NRA on this important race. Please share this information with your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners, and make sure that they too get to the polls and Vote Freedom First on Saturday, December 7!
<ALIGN=CENTER>RECKLESS LAWSUIT DISMISSED
,Del., is the latest municipality to have a politically-motivated reckless lawsuit against law-abiding gun manufacturers rejected by the courts. In December 2000, parts of the Wilmington suit were dismissed, and on Tuesday,Judge Fred S. Silverman dismissed the rest. The Wilmington suit was promoted by the gun-ban lobby formerly known as HCI, and sought to abuse the judicial process by trying to fool the court into believing gun manufacturers should be held responsible for crimes involving firearms—rather than the violent criminals who actually commit the crimes. In his ruling, Judge Silverman stated, "Handgun violence is a scourge. But as much as the court would support efforts to reduce the problem, the court will not twist a jury trial involving municipal costs into a wildly expensive referendum on handgun control. The Mayor and the City must find another means to their ends."
National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane commented, "This is the latest victory supporting the long-held principle that responsible and law abiding manufacturers of highly regulated, non-defective products can not be held accountable when criminals misuse their legally sold products."
While it is possible this case will be appealed, the ruling is yet another blow to the gun-ban agenda. As anti-gun extremists, big-city mayors, and greedy trial lawyers continue to conspire to promote these predatory lawsuits, courts have repeatedly rejected the notion that law-abiding gun makers should be held liable for the criminal misuse of their lawful products.
FEDERAL COURT BEGINS DEBATE
<ALIGN=CENTER>OVER CAMPAIGN FINANCE "REFORM" LAW
On Wednesday and Thursday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments over the constitutionality of the campaign finance "reform" law enacted earlier this year. The law went into effect on November 6, the day after Election Day 2002. Several attorneys representing a coalition of opponents to the law, including NRA, argued the regulations infringe on the rights of individuals to freely associate with political groups, and limits the right to free political speech. Opponents also charged the law restricts a state’s ability to set its own guidelines for conducting elections.
NRA’s lead attorney, Charles Cooper, stated, "If the NRA’s voice is loud and reverberates through the halls of Congress, it is precisely because the organization is the collective voice of millions of Americans speaking in unison." Quoting the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Cooper said, "That ‘is not a corruption of the democratic process; it is the democratic political process.’"
Floyd Abrams, a noted First Amendment lawyer and one of the attorneys arguing against the law, pointed out the restrictions on certain advertisements 30 days prior to a Primary Election and 60 days prior to a General Election represented a clear infringement on the right to free speech. After showing examples of commercials that would be prohibited because they gave a negative portrayal of lawmakers, Abrams asked, "When did that become unprotected under the First Amendment? That is precisely the kind of speech the First Amendment protects."
NRA will continue to work with the diverse coalition of opponents to campaign finance "reform" to ensure the right to free speech of the Association and its 4 million members is protected. The court is expected to hand down its ruling early next year, which will be immediately followed by an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, regardless of what the lower court decides. We will continue to post any significant developments on this front.