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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 13 3/28/2003


By Chris W. Cox
NRA-ILA Executive Director

As the record-low television audience that sat through Hollywood`s latest celebration of Hollywood knows, the Academy Award for a feature documentary film was given to Michael Moore`s Bowling for Columbine —a painfully pretentious work of anti-American, anti-gun, anti-NRA propaganda.

But many don`t know that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had to violate its own rules to allow Moore to compete for, much less win, an Oscar. The Academy`s "Special Rules for the Documentary Award" define a documentary film "as a non-fiction motion picture," with the emphasis "on factual content." Bowling for Columbine miserably fails this practical test. It is a work of propaganda, pure and simple, riddled not with slovenly conducted research but with calculated dishonesty.

For example, Moore splices together two separate speeches by NRA President Charlton Heston to create the false impression that viewers are seeing a single speech given at the 1999 NRA Annual Meetings in Denver. Moore`s intent is to make NRA`s president appear insensitive to the senseless murders at Columbine High School earlier that year in nearby Littleton.

To further his lie, Moore depicts President Heston raising a musket at the Denver meeting and delivering his familiar line "from my cold dead hands." The facts—that President Heston was actually filmed one year later and 1,354 miles away in Charlotte, N.C.—aren`t something Moore cares to document.

The deception continues with Moore repeatedly referring to the Denver meetings as pro-gun rallies. He fails to document the well-known fact that out of respect for the families victimized at Columbine, NRA canceled all events and meetings in Denver except those required by the Association`s bylaws and laws regarding not-for-profit corporations.

No lie is too poisonous for Michael Moore. He actually tries to make viewers believe that NRA makes a habit of holding rallies in the wake of tragic shootings. After failing to document that NRA`s Denver meetings were scheduled years in advance, Moore jumps to a Michigan campaign rally, claiming: "just as he did after the Columbine shooting, Charlton Heston showed up in Flint, to have a big pro-gun rally." Moore wants viewers to believe the Flint rally took place immediately following the shooting death of child in a local classroom. In fact, the rally took place eight months later during the regular campaign season.

Another outrageous sequence in Moore`s supposedly "non-fiction motion picture," tries to associate NRA with the Ku Klux Klan and depicts an NRA member assisting in a Klan cross burning. The rationale? NRA was founded in 1871—the year the KKK was declared an illegal organization. The absurd connection is intentional. It`s Michael Moore`s idea of humor.

An honest documentary would record that NRA was founded by former Union Army officers who fought a war to bring an end to slavery. It would record that Civil War veteran Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside was the Association`s first president. It would record that the man who signed the act making the Klan an illegal organization later became NRA`s eighth president—Ulysses S. Grant.

A true documentary would note that NRA`s early history was written by figures who had not only fought to end slavery, but who would later oppose the persecution of freedmen. Such a man would assume command of the Fifth Military District, and he would then remove governors in Texas and Louisiana for failing to oppose the KKK. That man later became NRA`s ninth president—Gen. Philip H. Sheridan.

Bowling for Columbine is a compilation of deceit piled upon deceit—facts omitted, time lines distorted, and editing tricks employed to present a false view of American culture in general and the "gun culture" and NRA in particular. And yet, no matter how shameless its deceptions, no matter how brazen its lies, Moore`s propaganda film does have its fans, including the Brady Campaign.

When Moore`s Oscar nomination was announced, the gun-ban group was "very pleased" that " Bowling for Columbine is receiving the acclaim it deserves." The Brady bunch fell silent, however, in the days following Moore`s win. Possibly they found him less appealing after his tasteless Oscar acceptance speech. Unable to resist a captive audience, the self-indulgent Moore railed against the war in Iraq and President Bush. He may have been warmly received by the Hollywood millionaires in the Kodak Theater, but the poseur-populist was booed loudly by the stagehands actually working the event. A clear message was sent.

As more and more Americans catch on to the deceit that is Bowling for Columbine , its maker will have to seek out a more gullible audience. The Wall Street Journal`s John Fund provides a road map: "Mr. Moore is naturally a big hit among the French. The jury at the Cannes Film Festival created a special, one-time only award to honor his film and then gave it a 13-minute standing ovation." Most Americans would gladly say, Au revoir, Monsieur Moore!

More information concerning Michael Moore`s anti-gun deceit Bowling for Columbine appears at www.NRAILA.org. In particular, see the article "Sliming America" and the link to " Bowling for Columbine : Documentary or Fiction?"


Affirming a ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals, on March 21 the Arizona State Supreme Court ruled that neither the manufacturer, retail dealer, nor the promoter of the gun show where the gun was allegedly sold can be held legally liable for the murder of two Tucson Pizza Hut employees. The suit arose from the 1999 murder of two employees during a robbery. Christopher Huerstel and Kajornsak Prasertphong were convicted of the murders and sentenced to death, but the families of the murder victims, aided by attorneys that work closely with anti-gun organizations, filed a civil suit that included Glock, Inc., Centerfire, Inc. (a Tucson gun store), and McMann`s Roadrunner (a gun show promoter) as defendants. In writing for the appellate court, Judge Joseph Howard noted, "Third parties often can legally obtain handguns from private individuals or illegally on the street. Imposing additional liability on manufacturers and gun show operators would not have protective effect." The case was originally dismissed in 2001 by Pima Superior Court Judge Ted Borek who noted at that time that the families failed to prove the defendants had a duty to conform to "certain standards of conduct for the protection of others against unreasonable risk."

Though the Arizona Supreme Court mirrors an ongoing trend of tossing out on their ears these reckless lawsuits, it nonetheless demonstrates the compelling need for the passage of S. 659 (H.R. 1036 in the House)—the reckless lawsuit preemption bills currently pending in Congress. Our focus at this time is on the U.S. Senate. Those Senators who have already signed on to S. 659 deserve our thanks, so please contact them to express your support. Those who have not should be encouraged to sign on as cosponsors. To find out if your U.S. Senators have signed on yet, those on the Internet can go to the Library of Congress website. If you do not have Internet access, you can call the Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683.



House Bill 2353, which liberalizes recognition rules for out-of-state Right to Carry permits, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Sponsored by Representative Chuck Gray (R-19), HB 2353 will be considered on the Senate floor on Monday, March 31. House Bill 2319, sponsored by Representatives Randy Graf (R-30) and Russell Pearce (R-18), has been re-written by its sponsors. HB 2319 now seeks to protect gun shows from regulation by cities and counties. The Senate will consider HB 2319 sometime early next week. Please be sure to call your State Senator as soon as possible at (602) 542-3559 and urge him to support HB 2353 and HB 2319 as amended. You can contact your senator by calling (800) 352-8404. 


This week, the Arkansas General Assembly gave final approval to HB 1326, which will protect lawful firearm & ammunition manufacturers from illegitimate and reckless lawsuits filed by anti-gun activists and those who seek to destroy our firearms heritage. The legislation now awaits Governor Mike Huckabee`s (R) signature. Please contact your State legislators and thank them for supporting this important piece of legislation.


SB 1195, the Daley gun ban, will see action next week. The bill must be voted on before April 4, so please call your Senator today and urge him to oppose the bill. In the house, HB 2532, the dealer licensing and gun registration bill, and HB 2356, the gun show bill will also see action on the house floor as early as next week. Please call your Representatives and urge them to oppose these bills.


On Tuesday, March 25, the New Hampshire House voted 243-115 to approve House Bill 415. HB 415 gives the state exclusive authority to regulate firearms, thus preventing gun owners from facing myriad conflicting regulations. HB 415 will now go on to the Senate for consideration. 


It`s time to push for NRA-ILA`s top priority bills—HB 878 & SB 501—to be scheduled for votes as soon as possible. These bills close a loophole in the state`s criminal trespass law that cities and counties are using to ban access by concealed handgun license holders (CHLs) in public buildings. The House has spent two weeks debating tort reform and could spend another two weeks on its appropriations bill. And now the Senate is expected to take up controversial insurance reform proposals next week. Time is running short! Please call your State Representatives and urge him to work to bring HB 878 up for a floor vote before the House appropriations bill is debated. Please also call your State Senators and urge them to support bringing SB 501 up for consideration by the full Senate as soon as possible.


HB 1516, a much needed improvement in the state`s firearm preemption statute, was signed into law Monday, March 24 by Governor Mark Warner (D). Many jurisdictions have attempted to ban or have banned the lawful carry of firearms in public places or public buildings. The provisions of this law will protect concealed carry licensees from these types of local regulations. Please contact Governor Warner and thank him for approving this piece of legislation which protects concealed carry licensees from local abuse of power.


NRA has learned that SB 5910, the range protection measure, has been set for hearing on Wednesday, April 2 at 8:00 a.m., in the House Local Government Committee. We need you to contact all members of this committee AND attend the hearing to urge the committee`s members to support this bill. The second bill, SB 5083, the NRA-backed reciprocity legislation, is still awaiting a hearing before the April 4 deadline. It is vital that you contact the Chairman, Rep. Pat Lantz (D-26) of the House Judiciary Committee at (360) 786-7364, and urge her to allow for a hearing before the deadline expires. Unless this committee`s members receive a ground swell of grassroots support, SB 5083 will die in committee.


In a victory for West Virginia gun owners, Governor Bob Wise (D) signed HB 2110 on Thursday, March 27, a bill that will end malicious lawsuits aimed at bankrupting the firearm`s industry. The signing of this bill is a significant step forward in stopping reckless litigation against a legitimate industry. This legislation, which passed both Houses unanimously, would not have been possible without the support and hard work of the Majority Whip Delegate Scott Varner (D-4), Vice-Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Delegate Steve Kominar (D-20), and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Jeff Kessler (D-2). Please contact these legislators, as well as Governor Wise, and thank them for their support of the firearms industry and the interests of law-abiding gun owners in West Virginia.


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.