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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 9, No. 52 12/28/2002


Here are some of the top stories we brought you in the NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert in 2002.  Next year will mark our 10th anniversary of bringing you legislative and political updates via the Grassroots Alert.  As always, we strongly encourage you to receive the Alert via e-mail, as opposed to FAX, as this will save ILA money and allow you more flexibility in forwarding the Alert’s contents to other pro-Second Amendment activists.  To receive our Alert via e-mail click here.  Please call (800) 392-8683 once you begin receiving the Alerts via e-mail, and let us know we can remove you from the FAX system.


An appellate court in Illinois upholds a reckless lawsuit against various gun manufacturers and distributors, claiming they were creating a public nuisance.  In Ohio, Judge Robert Ruehlman rules Ohio’s ban on Right To Carry unconstitutional.


The U.S. House of Representatives passes H.R. 2356—the Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance “Reform” bill—on a vote of 240-189, representing a clear attack on citizens’ First Amendment rights to free political speech.  U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft takes steps to improve the efficiency of the National Instant Check System (NICS).  He instructs the FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Services to use immigration records to check if a potential firearm purchaser is in the country illegally, and thus prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm. He also directs the FBI to improve the efficiency of NICS to increase the percentage of immediate and final responses—either “proceed” or “deny”—on record checks.  The Attorney General wants to diminish the number of “delay” responses that plague the system and keep law-abiding gun purchasers from taking possession of firearms. He commits $141 million over three years to improve promoting state initiatives to update and automate their criminal history files.

The Court of Appeals of Georgia unanimously rejects the City of Atlanta’s reckless lawsuit against the firearms industry, ruling not only that state law preempted the suit, but that Atlanta’s case had not “pointed to any instance of unlawful conduct by the gun manufacturers.”


The U.S. Senate passes its version of campaign finance “reform.”  NRA becomes the first plaintiff to file suit challenging this new law. 


The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection holds a hearing on H.R. 2037—a bill to block politically-motivated lawsuits that seek to hold gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of their products.  Kansas Governor Bill Graves (R) signs reckless lawsuit preemption into law.


U.S. Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson submits briefs in two cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. The filings state the federal government believes the Second Amendment protects an individual right.   Chris W. Cox is named ILA’s Executive Director, succeeding James Jay Baker. U.S. Senators Zell Miller (D-Ga.) and Larry Craig (R-Id.) introduce S. 2268—the Senate’s version of reckless lawsuit preemption legislation.


The Supreme Court of the United States declines without comment to hear U.S. v. Emerson, meaning the 5th Circuit Court’s finding that the Second Amendment protects an individual right will stand.  The NRA-ILA FAX Alert changes its name to the NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert to reflect the growing number of recipients who receive the Alert electronically.


The U.S. House passes H.R. 4635—a bill to establish a program to train and equip all commercial airline pilots who wish to be prepared to use firearms as a last resort to defend the cabins of commercial aircraft from hijackers—on an exceptionally strong bipartisan vote of 310-113.  Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor (R), along with 17 other state attorneys general, sends a letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft supporting the Bush Administration’s “proper reading of the Second Amendment” that “the text and the original intent of the Second Amendment clearly protect the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms.”


Former NRA Director, and Second Amendment stalwart, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) trounces his anti-gun primary opponent by nearly 20 points. Responding to this crushing defeat, the Brady Center’s Michael Barnes concludes Rep. Dingell “squeaked by”!


The U.S. Senate passes an amendment to H.R. 5005—legislation that would create a Homeland Security Department—to establish a program that would train commercial pilots to be able to use firearms as a last line of defense against terrorist hijackers.  The amendment is approved on an overwhelming 87-6 vote.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee passes H.R. 2037.


The House Judiciary Committee passes H.R. 2037. Gun grabber U.S. Senator Bob Torricelli (D-N.J.) ends his re-election bid when it becomes clear he might lose due to myriad ethics problems.


Gun owners enjoy historic victories on Election Day—November 5—as NRA-PVF-endorsed candidates win nearly 94% of 270 races at the federal level.  The pro-gun community nets at least two pro-gun seats in the U.S. Senate, and at least 13 pro-gun seats in the House of Representatives.  In passing a bill to create a new Homeland SecurityDepartment, Congress includes language establishing a program that would allow qualified commercial pilots to be able to have access to firearms as a last line of defense against terrorist hijackers.  The overwhelming, bipartisan 90-9 Senate vote follows a similar overwhelming, bipartisan 299-121 vote in the House of Representatives. 


The San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals—who ruled the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional because of the words “under God,” and whose rulings are overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States more often than any other—dismisses a challenge to California’s ban on so-called “assault weapons.”  Wilmington, Del., and Washington, D.C., become the latest cities to see politically-motivated reckless lawsuits against law-abiding gun manufacturers rejected by the courts.  Disgraced “historian” Michael Bellesiles—author of the highly-criticized “Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture”—is stripped by Columbia University of his Bancroft Prize and asked to return the $4,000 cash prize that came with the award.


Have a safe and happy New Year!!!


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.