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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 3 1/17/2003



The gun-ban lobby that now calls itself the Brady Center or Brady Campaign— although many still refer to it by its old name of Handgun Control Incorporated (HCI)—held a press conference yesterday to announce the latest stage in the group’s efforts to promote politically-motivated lawsuits that attempt to hold gun makers liable for the criminal misuse of their products. HCI president Mike Barnes and his organization’s lead attorney, Dennis Henigan, revealed to members of the media that the gun-ban lobby would expand its harassment campaign against law-abiding gun makers to include trying to exploit last year’s string of murders and attempted murders in the Washington, D.C., area that John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo have been charged with committing.

HCI’s suit seeks to hold Bushmaster Firearms Inc. responsible for at least two of the 10 murders attributed to Muhammad and Malvo from last September and October simply because the accused are charged with having used one of the company’s firearms. But Henigan acknowledged that Bushmaster obeyed all of the countless laws and regulations to which it is subject. Henigan claims that obeying laws is not enough, and Bushmaster must also take on the role of investigating every gun dealer with which it does business—a task already under the purview of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF), as well as other law-enforcement agencies. Barnes went even further in spreading out blame, as he implied Congress, the White House, and the Department of Justice were partially responsible for last Fall’s murderous rampage.

Of course, frivolous suits such as this are both a shameless abuse of the courts and an attempt to circumvent the legislative process. HCI and other gun prohibitionists are trying to use our judicial system to drive the law-abiding firearms industry into bankruptcy by burdening them with the crushing cost of defending their safe, lawful products against an onslaught of baseless litigation. Fortunately, the courts continue to reject the absurd notion that gun makers should be held responsible when criminals use firearms to commit criminal acts. But yesterday’s press conference is proof that the gun-ban movement will continue to promote these baseless suits and attempt to replace the rule of law with the rule of lawyers.

It is because of this abuse of our courts that one of NRA’s top legislative priorities this Congress will be the passage of reckless lawsuit preemption legislation. In the last Congress, bills prohibiting these predatory lawsuits gained a great deal of support in both the House and the Senate, but time ran out before they could be given full consideration.

Please contact your U.S. Representative and both of your U.S. Senators and urge them to support any upcoming efforts to pass reckless lawsuit preemption legislation that will bring an end to this unwarranted harassment of law-abiding gun manufacturers. You can reach your U.S. Representative by calling (202) 225-3121, and your U.S. Senators by calling (202) 224-3121. For additional contact information, use our "Write Your Representatives" tool.


CPAC 2003

NRA Members are invited to attend CPAC 2003—the 30th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference, January 30 - February 1, 2003, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va. CPAC is the nation’s premier annual gathering of conservative leaders, celebrities, elected officials, and grassroots activists. Confirmed speakers for this year’s Conference include Vice President Dick Cheney, House Majority Leader Tom Delay, Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, NRA First Vice President Kayne Robinson, Phyllis Schlafly, and many more political pundits and congressional leaders. CPAC is co-sponsored by NRA and more than 60 leading conservative organizations. For additional information, or to register for the conference, call (703) 836-8602, or visit CPAC online. Also, through the CPAC student scholarship program, students with valid school ID attend CPAC for only $10!




On Monday, January 13, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 25. Sponsored by Senator Jim Dyer (R-26), SB 25 assigns firearm regulation authority solely to the Legislature, making gun laws uniform across the State of Colorado and prohibiting local governments from creating a patchwork quilt of laws relating to firearms. It is vital that you contact your state senator and tell him to support SB 25 when it comes before the full Senate. You can call your senator at (888) 473-8136, or use our "Write Your Representatives" tool for additional contact information, or if you are unsure who your senator is. Also, please contact your local City Council or County Commission, and let them know that the current system is unfair to anyone who travels with a firearm. You can find their phone numbers by using our "Write Your Representatives" tool.


On Wednesday, January 22, Senate Bill 13 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sponsored by Senator Peter Kinder (R-27), SB 13 prohibits cities and the state from filing reckless lawsuits against gun manufacturers. Please contact the members of the Judiciary Committee at (573) 751-3824 and urge them to support this important bill.


A bill that was designed to run lawful gun shows out of business in Virginia failed in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on a 7-3 vote on Wednesday, January 15. SB 698 would have mandated that every transaction, including those between private parties, at a gun show go through a criminal background check.


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.