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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 18 5/2/2003


U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Zell Miller (D-Ga.) introduced on Thursday, May 1, S. 980, requiring the study of ballistic imaging technology to determine if it is an effective law enforcement tool. While several studies have already determined that existing ballistic imaging systems are flawed, anti-gun extremists continue to promote what they call ballistic "fingerprinting" schemes—which are little more than an attempt to impose a nationwide registration system for all law-abiding gun owners.

NRA, of course, has always welcomed any technology that thwarts criminals and does not infringe upon the rights of law-abiding citizens. For that reason, NRA supported legislation during the last Congress that called for an evaluation of ballistic imaging, and we support S. 980 now. Unfortunately, the gun-ban lobby, with the aid of anti-gun lawmakers such as U.S. Senator Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra (D-Cal.), continue to promote ballistic "fingerprinting" schemes as part of its agenda to register all law-abiding gun owners. Sen. Daschle and Rep. Becerra have each introduced legislation that includes ballistic "fingerprinting" schemes—S. 22 and H.R. 24, respectively.

The Brady Center/HCI has been shamelessly trying to exploit fears over the horrific crime spree that took place in the Washington, D.C., area and captured our nation’s attention last Fall. In spite of HCI’s allegations that law enforcement does not have the necessary resources to solve firearm-related crimes, police were able to track down and apprehend John Allen Muhammad and Lee Malvo, and charge the pair with shooting 13 individuals, including 10 fatally, in October of last year. But the gun-ban lobby has rarely seen a tragedy it will not exploit, and it continues to use last Fall’s events to promote ballistic "fingerprinting"/ registration schemes, even though there is no evidence to indicate such schemes would have helped police catch Muhammad and Malvo. In fact, Malvo has recently indicated he stole the firearm used in the crimes. Perhaps HCI can explain how its schemes would convince a murderous thief to register the firearm he steals and intends to use in a deadly rampage.

Please call your federal lawmakers, and encourage them to oppose any legislation that calls for mandating any ballistic "fingerprinting" scheme that would call for the registration of law-abiding gun owners. Studies show that such systems have not been effective law enforcement tools. Urge lawmakers, instead, to support S. 980, which would mandate a federal study of ballistic imaging to determine if technology exists that would aid law enforcement in fighting violent crime without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens. 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.




One of the most rabid anti-gun U.S. Senators has introduced legislation that would tie firearm transfers to our nation’s terror alert system. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), along with U.S. Senators Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), introduced S. 969 this week, which would suspend many of the gun-owner protection portions of laws that regulate the transfer of firearms as long as the terror alert level is above Code Green, or the lowest level. As you know, America has been above Code Green since the alert system was put in place. Among the laws that would be suspended are those that limit law enforcement to three days for completing background checks on firearm purchasers, as well as the law that requires the destruction of records for anyone whose purchase is not denied. NRA-ILA Public Affairs Director Andrew Arulanandam told the Washington Times that the bill was an attempt to "exploit the fear of terrorism," indicated the laws Lautenberg sought to suspend would have the effect of a permanent suspension, and was merely an attempt to create a national firearm registration system.

Please call your U.S. Senators and encourage them to oppose S. 969. You can reach your U.S. U.S. Senators by calling (202) 224-3121. For additional contact information, use our "Write Your Representatives" tool.




The battle in the U.S. Senate over reckless lawsuit preemption has already begun. It is crucial that you call both your U.S. Senators and urge them to help bring an end to predatory, meritless lawsuits designed to wipe out the firearm industry, or impose nationwide gun control

"laws" by local judicial fiat. Let your Senators know that it is crucial they support S. 659, and halt the abuse of our courts by anti-gun extremists who are trying to usurp congressional authority with the aid of greedy trial lawyers and activist judges and juries. Also urge them to support the will of the majority by working to derail the filibuster anti-gun Senators have threatened to launch to defeat S. 659. Anti-gun extremists opposed to this reform are clearly in the minority, and will use any means available to support the efforts of their cohorts in the gun-ban lobby.

To contact your U.S. Senators, you can call the U.S. Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121, and they should be able to assist you. For additional contact information, you can use our

"Write Your Representatives" tool. And for a list of Senate cosponsors of S. 659, go to the Library of Congress website, at http://thomas.loc.gov.



The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on Wednesday, April 30, that the lead attorney in the City of Cincinnati’s reckless lawsuit against law-abiding gun makers advised the Cincinnati City Council to drop its case. The Enquirer reported that attorney Stanley Chesley told the City Council it should "concede defeat and drop the case," as "he could not justify moving forward with the ... lawsuit...." The following day, the City Council followed that advice and voted unanimously to drop the suit. The Brady Center/HCI, which also worked on the suit on behalf of the City Council, was merely "disappointed" with the advice from Chesney, according to the article.

Of course, "disappointed" may be a bit of an understatement. The gun-ban lobby once hailed a decision by the Ohio Supreme Court that merely allowed the Cincinnati suit to continue as the "greatest victory yet against the gun industry." Perhaps HCI needs to stop making such hyperbolic statements, as it seems to be the litigious kiss of death. In 1999, HCI called an appellate ruling in a California reckless lawsuit a "historic victory" that would have "far-reaching implications" for similar suits. That case, however, was thrown out two years later by the California Supreme Court.

Also in 1999, a New York jury in another reckless lawsuit gave proponents of this abuse of the judicial system fleeting success, siding partially with HCI’s agenda when it handed down a mixed verdict against some gun makers involved in the suit. The gun-ban lobby called the jury verdict "a stinging and unexpected defeat" for gun owners only to see it thrown out on appeal by both the New York Court of Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


The 132nd NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Orlando, Fla., were a tremendous success, as more than 50,000 NRA members took part in this annual gathering. The theme of this year’s event was a farewell tribute to outgoing NRA President Charlton Heston, who stepped down from the NRA helm after serving an extraordinary five years. Friday night, April 25, more than 7,000 people watched a moving video tribute to Mr. Heston, narrated by Tom Selleck; saw NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre present the screen legend with a larger-than-life statue of Heston in the role of Will Penny, the character from the western of the same name; and enjoyed the music of country music star Toby Keith.

Earlier that Friday, nearly 300 NRA members took part in the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division’s Grassroots Workshop. This event, where attendees learn what they can do in their own communities to further strengthen and defend our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, has become a staple of the NRA Annual Meetings for nearly a decade. Those in attendance heard from NRA EVP Wayne LaPierre, NRA 1st Vice President Kayne Robinson, NRA 2nd Vice President Sandra Froman, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, and NRA-ILA Federal Affairs Director Chuck Cunningham.

On Monday, April 29, NRA’s Board of Directors unanimously elected NRA 1st Vice President Kayne Robinson as the new NRA President. Sandra Froman was elected as NRA First Vice President, and John Sigler was elected as NRA 2nd Vice President. The board also reelected Wayne LaPierre as NRA EVP, Jim Land as NRA Secretary, and Wilson Phillips as NRA Treasurer. In turn, Wayne LaPierre reappointed Chris Cox as NRA-ILA ED and Craig Sandler as NRA Executive Director of General Operations.

Of course, far more occurred in Orlando than we could possibly report here, so please look for a more detailed account of events in an upcoming issue of your NRA magazine.



HB 2319, the bill protecting Arizona’s gun shows from regulation by anti-gun city and county officials, passed the Senate by a vote of 20-10 and was passed by the House on final consideration by a vote of 40-16. Thank you to all who called their Senators and Representatives to make this victory possible. The bill has now moved to Governor Janet Napolitano (D) for her consideration. It is critical that you call the Governor at (602) 542-4331 and ask her to "SUPPORT" HB 2319 by signing it into law. HB 2353, legislation that makes dramatic improvements to the state’s Right to Carry reciprocity law, will also be sent to the Governor’s desk soon. Please include a request to "SUPPORT" HB 2353 when you call the Governor’s Office. HCR 2025, Legislative Recognition of Gun Shows, is still awaiting final action by the Senate, and the vote is expected to be close. Please call your Senator at (602) 542-3559 and remind him that you would appreciate a "YES" vote on HCR 2025.



This week, the House Judiciary Committee passed SB 947, which was amended to include legislation that would impose an additional tax on all private transfers of firearms. This bill now moves to the full House for consideration. Contact your Representative at (217) 782-8223 and urge him to "OPPOSE" SB 947. Also, Illinois gun owners celebrated this past Wednesday when the Illinois Senate failed to pass HB 2532, the Dealer Licensing Bill. Instead, the Senate elected to postpone action on this bill. However, it is important to note that the Senate may change its decision by taking action on HB 2532 at any time. This legislation would allow state and local police to keep a registry of all firearm purchases, the location of gun owners and their firearms, and the payment method used by gun owners when making their purchases. Please continue contacting your Senators at (217) 782-4517, and urge them to "OPPOSE" HB 2532.



On April 28, Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) signed into law The Minnesota Citizen’s Personal Protection Act of 2003, legislation recognizing law-abiding Minnesotans’ Right to Carry firearms for personal protection. Thanks to all that were involved in the passage of this important legislation. Special thanks to State Senators Pat Pariseau (R-36) and Lynda Boudreau (R-26B), both co-sponsors of this legislation, for their tireless effort on behalf of gun-owners throughout Minnesota.



House Bill 349, sponsored by Rep. Larry Crawford (R-117), has been sent to the full Senate for consideration. A vote is expected on this legislation very soon. Please continue to call your Senator at (573) 751-3824 and ask him to

"SUPPORT" HB 349. Senate Bill 13 will be voted on early next week. Sponsored by Senator Peter Kinder (R-27), SB 13 prohibits the state and cities from filing reckless lawsuits against gun manufacturers. Please contact your State Representatives, and urge them to "SUPPORT" SB 13 when it comes before them on the House floor. You can use our "Write Your Representatives" tool to find contact information.


This week,HB 811, an NRA-backed measure that will protect the firearms industry by preventing reckless lawsuits, passed out of the Senate Wildlife and Recreation Committee. HB 811 now heads to the Senate floor for a full vote. Please contact your Senator and ask him to "SUPPORT" HB 811. You can find contact information by visiting New Hampshire’s website, or by using our "Write Your Representatives" tool.



House Bill 12, Right to Carry legislation, will hear proponent testimony Wednesday, May 7, at 9:00 a.m., in the North Hearing Room in the Senate Building of the State Capitol. Passing the House with a 69-28 vote, HB 12 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. It also increases the penalties on gun violence and theft. This NRA-backed legislation is also supported by the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association. Please be sure to contact your State Senator as soon as possible at (614) 466-4900, or by using our "Write Your Representatives" tool, and urge him to "SUPPORT"action on HB 12.



HB 3442, the repeal of South Carolina’s One-Handgun- A-Month law, has passed the House and now sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee, waiting to be considered. As the legislative session enters its final month, it is imperative that this bill be heard as soon as possible! Please call your State Senator and urge them to consider HB 3442 very soon, and to "SUPPORT" it when it reaches the Senate floor for a vote! South Carolina’s One-Handgun-A-Month law is long overdue for repeal! Make the call today! Please refer to our "Write Your Representatives" tool for contact information.


SB 128

, a bill requiring Tennessee to recognize the handgun carry permits issued by every state in the country, passed the full Senate this week. There has been a concerted effort to defeat this legislation in the House. Please call your state Representative at (615) 741-2901 and ask that he strongly "SUPPORT" HB 452, the House companion of SB 128, when it comes up for consideration. This legislation is important to Tennessee handgun permit holders because it will encourage a number of additional states to recognize Tennessee carry permits.


SB 5179

would help protect Washington’s sportsmen by restoring sensible management to the state’s wildlife populations. This measure overwhelmingly passed the legislature, but is currently seeing opposition in the Governor’s office. Due to an abundance of calls from anti-hunting groups, Governor Gary Locke (D) is considering vetoing this important bill. In order to make sure SB 5179 gets the signature it needs, please contact the Governor at (800) 562-6000 and urge him to "SUPPORT" SB 5179.


The University of West Virginia has decided to eliminate it’s world famous rifle team. The legislature will reconvene for its interim session Sunday, May 4 to Tuesday, May 6. Please contact your lawmakers and encourage them to reinstate this internationally respected program. For contact information, use our "Write Your Representatives" 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.