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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 9 2/28/2003


On Wednesday, February 26, theSupreme Court of the United States vacated a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit that would have allowed the city of Chicago access to information regarding gun manufacturers, dealers, and purchasers as part of the city’s reckless lawsuit against the firearms industry. City attorneys, as part of Chicago’s nuisance lawsuit, had demanded the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) turn over information through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. BATFE complied by supplying some data, but withheld certain information to protect the privacy of some individuals (as authorized by FOIA Exemption 6, 18 US Code Sec. 552(b)(6)) and to protect against interference in ongoing investigations and preserve the safety of federal, state, and local agents—as well as witnesses and informants—involved in such investigations (as authorized by FOIA Exemption 7, 18 US Code Sec. 552(b)(7)).

When the 7th Circuit sided with the city of Chicago, BATFE appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court—a move that was supported by both NRA and law enforcement. But before the Supreme Court could hear arguments, Congress acted on the issue. U.S. Representative George Nethercutt (R-Wash.) offered an amendment to the 2003 Treasury-Postal appropriations bill prohibiting the BATFE from expending funds to compile and disclose information on firearm manufacturers, dealers, and purchasers. In light of this, the Supreme Court vacated the 7th Circuit’s ruling, and instructed the court to "consider what effect, if any" the actions of Congress have on the case.

It is because of the relentless attempts by anti-gun extremists and big-city mayors to promote their gun-ban agenda through the reckless abuse of our judicial process that one of NRA’s top priorities during this congress remains the passage of federal legislation that will prohibit these predatory lawsuits. We had tremendous success last year gaining support for bills in the House and the Senate, but time ran out before either could be given full consideration. The House bill (H.R. 2037) ended up with 231 cosponsors, more than a majority of Representatives, while the Senate’s version (S. 2268) ended up with 46 cosponsors, which is almost a majority. Thirty-one states have enacted similar legislation. Please contact your U.S. Representative and both of your U.S. Senators and urge them to support and cosponsor federal 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.




The NRA-ILA Grassroots Division will host a FREE Grassroots Workshop in conjunction with NRA’s Annual Meetings in Orlando. This Workshop has been a regular part of NRA’s Annual Meetings for nearly a decade. At this event, you will hear from NRA leaders, staff, and your fellow NRA members on what you can do in your own community to further strengthen and defend our Second Amendment rights.

We will also discuss how you can work with your local Election Volunteer Coordinator (EVC). Your EVC is a local NRA member who works with area gun owners to ensure support for ILA’s legislative activities, and also works to provide pro-gun campaigns with a steady stream of committed, pro-freedom volunteers to help with their activities leading up to Election Day. With a heavy legislative schedule in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures across the country, working with fellow pro-gun activists in your community will help ensure our mutual success. Similarly, with a number of states hosting elections this year, and with candidates for the 2004 elections already ginning up their campaigns, it is critical that we start laying our grassroots groundwork to ensure we are ready to meet these electoral challenges head on as Election Day 2004 approaches Rest assured the anti-gunners are already re-doubling their efforts to ensure the defeat of pro-Second Amendment candidates in critical elections across the country so we must ensure we are prepared to defeat their efforts at every turn.

Workshop details are:

NRA-ILA Grassroots Workshop-FREE!
Friday, April 25, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 Noon
(Registration & free continental breakfast
from 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.)
Florida Ballrooms 2 & 3
Peabody Orlando Hotel
9801 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819


To reserve your seat at the Grassroots Workshop, please call the Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683. (For those on the Internet, you can make your reservation by clicking here).


The2003 NRA Annual Members Meetings and Exhibits will be held in Orlando, Fla., April 24 - 27, and your NRA is looking for dedicated members to volunteer and assist with various projects necessary to stage another successful Annual Meeting. The NRA Annual Meeting is the most exciting and satisfying NRA event of the year, and by joining our team of volunteers, you will play an integral role in putting the NRA’s best foot forward, while we are in the national spotlight.

There are several areas where you can volunteer: Membership Services, Fraternal Sales, Exhibitor Registration, Firearms Safety Inspection, and Airgun Range. NRA staff, Annual Meeting Exhibitors, and the tens of thousands of your fellow NRA members attending the Annual Meeting, will greatly appreciate any time or assistance you can lend. If you would like to volunteer your time, or would like more information, please contact: Brian Hyder, Eastern Region Director, NRA Field Operations Division, 571 Howard Branch Road, Otto, NC 28763, Office: (828) 524-9480, e-mail: bhyder@nrahq.org.



Early next week, the Arizona House of Representatives will consider three bills that would impact law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen. HCR 2025, Legislative Recognition of Gun Shows, encourages Congress to protect gun shows by not accepting misinformation intended to further restrict gun shows. HB 2318 seeks to protect gun shows from further restrictions imposed by cities and counties. Finally, HB 2319 seeks to allow restaurant owners to choose whether or not to allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms in their establishments for self defense. Please call your two representatives at (602) 542-4221 as soon as possible, as these bills may be voted on as early as Monday.



Hearings were held this week in the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, where the Ehrlich administration firmly stated its opposition to expanding ballistic "fingerprinting" in Maryland. The House Judiciary Committee will soon consider several bills of vital importance to gun owners, including HB 696, which seeks to expand the ballistic "fingerprinting" bill; HB 844, the "assault weapons" ban bill; and HB 836, a bill that would establish criminal penalties if a law-abiding gun owner fails to report the loss or theft of a firearm. The House hearings will be held Thursday, March 13, at 1:00 p.m. in the House Judiciary Committee. Please call the House Judiciary Committee at (301) 858-3488 and urge them to vote "No" on HB 696, HB 844, and HB 836.


HF 261, the NRA-backed Personal Protection Act, passed the House Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee earlier this week. HF 261 is now on its way to the House Ways and Means Committee, where it is expected to pass and move on to the House Floor. Please call your Representative and urge him to vote "Yes" to HF 261. Your Representative can be reached at (651) 296-2146.



House Bill 12, NRA-backed Right to Carry legislation that would allow law-abiding citizens who have satisfied a criminal background check and taken a training course to obtain a permit to carry a handgun concealed for personal protection, is currently before the House Criminal Justice Committee. Proponent testimony will be heard in the Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday, March 4, at 2:30 p.m. in room 114 of the State House. The committee will be accepting opponent and interested party testimony on Wednesday, March 5, at 9:00 a.m. For more information on HB 12, you can log onto the State’s website at www.legislature.state.oh.us.





This week, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee voted 6-1 to approve Rep. Suzanna Hupp’s (R-Lampasas) HB 878, an NRA-backed bill that clarifies that cities and counties cannot use the state’s criminal trespass law to post signs prohibiting carry permit holders (CHLs) from entering public buildings. The bill now moves to the House Calendars Committee, which will determine if and when HB 878 comes before the full House for a vote. Please call members of the Calendars Committee and urge them to support HB 878. For a list of committee members and phone numbers, please call NRA-ILA`s Grassroots Division, visit www.house.state.tx.us, or use our "Write Your Reps" 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.