CAMPAIGN FINANCE "REFORM" MORE MUDDLED THAN EVER
Last Friday, May 2, a three-judge panel for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued its long-awaited ruling on the constitutionality of the campaign finance "reform" law enacted last year. Unfortunately, NRA`s challenge of one of the most onerous restrictions within the law-a prohibition on certain ads running during certain periods before elections-was not only rejected, but the ruling actually expanded the restrictions, making them much more onerous. NRA has asked the judicial panel to delay implementation of the provisions of its ruling that deal with prohibitions on the broadcast of issue-advocacy ads until the Supreme Court of the United States has had time to review the ruling.
The long-awaited ruling included four different opinions, totaled more than 1,600 pages-the longest ruling in that court`s history-and has taken scores of lawyers days to determine what, exactly, the ruling meant. So far, it appears nobody is satisfied with the decision. When the law itself was being debated, many opponents argued it was not only an attack on free speech, but that it was so confusing that it was nearly impossible to decipher the implications of the law. Now, the problem appears to have been exacerbated. NRA will continue to do all it can to protect our ability to exercise our right to free speech, and we will continue to report developments on this front.
MOST SWEEPING GUN BAN EVER HITS CONGRESS:
CLINTON BAN "RE-ENACTMENT" TARGETS MILLIONS MORE GUNS!!!
As we predicted, the anti-gunners have begun the push to further expand the Clinton gun ban of 1994. Not content with merely re-authorizing the ban, Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) have drafted legislation that bans millions more guns! It`s a giant step closer to the goal stated by Clinton ban sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said on CBS`s 60 Minutes: "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in, I would have done it." Toward that goal, Conyers/McCarthy would:
- Ban every gun made to lawfully comply with the Clinton ban. The Clinton ban arbitrarily dictated the kinds of grips, stocks and attachments that new guns could have. Manufacturers complied. New guns were made to conform to the Clinton restrictions. Now prohibitionists want to ban the new guns, too.
- Ban guns the Clinton legislation expressly exempted from prohibition. This includes Ruger Mini-14s, Ranch Rifles, and .30 Caliber Carbines, and entire classes of guns, including fixed magazine rifles, as well as shotguns that hold under five rounds.
- Ban guns widely used for target shooting. It bans the three center-fire rifles most commonly used for marksmanship competitions: the Colt AR-15, the Springfield M1A, and the M1 "Garand."
- Ban all semi-automatic shotguns: Remingtons, Winchesters, Benellis, Berettas, etc., widely used for hunting, trap, skeet, and sporting clays, by banning their receivers (main component).
- Ban guns for defense. Bans any semi-automatic rifle or shotgun any U.S. Attorney General one day claims is not "sporting," even though self-defense is a fundamental right and the federal constitution, the constitutions of 44 states, and the laws of all 50 states recognize the right to use guns for defense.
- Ban 68 named guns (Clinton ban named 19 guns); Ban parts used to repair or refurbish guns, including frames or receivers; Ban importation of ammunition magazines exempt under Clinton ban; Ban private sales of millions of guns, their frames and receivers, and their parts; Ban semi-automatic rifles under 30" long (useful for home defense); Ban all semi-automatic rifles that can hold more than 10 rounds.
- Ban guns rarely used in crime. State and local law enforcement agency reports have always shown that guns on the Clinton and Conyers/McCarthy ban lists have never been used in more than a small percentage of violent crime. The Congressionally-mandated study of the Clinton law concluded that guns it banned "were never used in more than a fraction of all gun murders." But even if they were, are the rights and liberties of law-abiding citizens to be dictated by the acts of criminals?
- Begin "backdoor" registration. Requires manufacturers of banned guns, frames, receivers, and parts to report the names of their dealers, and requires dealers to report any of those parts they have in stock. The next step is obvious-demanding the names of gun owners who buy those parts.
Please contact your U.S. Representative at (202) 224-3121 or by using the "Write Your Representatives" feature and urge them to oppose any attempt to keep alive the Clinton gun ban.
SCHUMER HIT WITH HISTORIC FINE
One of the loudest proponents of the campaign finance "reform" mess passed by Congress last year, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), was fined earlier this year by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for violating, you guessed it, campaign finance laws. The March ruling ordered the senator`s 1998 senatorial campaign to pay $130,000 in civil penalties, and demanded the campaign return $120,455 in illegal contributions. At just a touch over a quarter-million dollars, the decision is one of the largest financial penalties ever imposed on a member of Congress. If Schumer`s campaign was not capable of obeying the campaign finance laws in place in 1998-when they were, by most arguments, somewhat simpler than before the passage of last year`s "reforms"-one wonders what might be in store for the future.
CONTINUE TO PROMOTE RECKLESS LAWSUIT PREEMPTION
The battle in the U.S. Senate over reckless lawsuit preemption continues. It is crucial that you call both your U.S. Senators and urge them to help bring an end to predatory, merit-less 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. 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 those on the Internet, you can use our "Write Your Representatives" tool to find contact information. And for a list of Senate cosponsors of S. 659, those on the Internet can go to the Library of Congress website, at http://thomas.loc.gov/
PROMOTING RECKLESS LAWSUITS?
Is CBS`s 60 Minutes preparing to air a segment it hopes will influence the progress of reckless lawsuit preemption legislation? Find out this Sunday, May 11, when the television news "magazine" will air a story that will include an interview with Bob Ricker, the so-called industry insider whose information so far has proven to be worthless to the reckless lawsuit agenda. Also scheduled to appear is the head lawyer of the gun-ban lobby, the Brady Center/HCI`s Dennis Henigan. With such an anti-gun lineup, coupled with CBS`s anti-gun history, we can only imagine how the story will play out. Check your local television schedule for air time, so you can see for yourself how the issue of reckless lawsuits is presented. Be prepared to let the producers of 60 Minutes know how you felt about the story, especially if it exhibits any obvious anti-gun bias, but also if it covers the story in a fair, unbiased fashion. You can write to the program at 60 Minutes, 524 West 57th St., New York, NY 10019. The telephone number is (212) 975-3247. Those on the Internet can go to http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/1998/07/08/60minutes/main13504.shtml, then scroll down the page and click on "Feedback" to use the online message form.
THE END OF AN ERA
For the better part of the Grassroots Alert`s history, its primary author has been the Manager of Member Services for the Grassroots Division-Anthony Roulette. Each week, culminating with the transmission of the Alert every Friday, Anthony has compiled, researched, and succinctly summarized the literally thousands of quality stories readers of the Alert have come to expect. Today`s Alert marks Anthony`s last as its primary author, as he has accepted a new position within ILA. As of Monday, May 12, Anthony will be assuming the role of ILA State Liaison. I know readers of this Alert will join us in the Grassroots Division in offering Anthony their deep appreciation for his work on the Alert and our heartfelt congratulations as he moves into his new position and continues to promote and protect our mutual cause of freedom. Readers of the Grassroots Alert can expect to see the same high quality of stories for which Anthony has set the bar.
A LOOK AT THE STATES
HB 2319, the bill protecting Arizona`s gun shows from attacks by anti-gun city and county officials, became law after Governor Janet Napolitano (D) allowed it to pass into the books without her signature. This is a significant victory for all gun owners in Arizona. HB 2353, the bill dramatically improving the Right to Carry permit reciprocity statute, has passed the full House once again and is awaiting final action in the Senate before being transferred to the Governor. Please call Governor Napolitano at (602) 542-4331 and request that she sign HB 2353 when it gets to her desk.
The legislature has passed a bill authorizing special NRA license plates to be available to motor vehicle owners in the Peach State. However, without your active assistance, this plan may not become a reality! In order for the plates to be officially made available, 1,000 applications, along with a fee of $25.00, must be submitted by July 31, 2003, to the county tag office in your county of residence. If the minimum of 1,000 applications is not met prior to July 31, 2003, your County Tag Agent will refund your $25.00. If we succeed, NRA license plates will begin to be issued during the owner`s registration period after January 1, 2004, after the payment of an additional $25.00 annual registration fee along with the usual registration fees and ad valorem taxes. Please help us make this a reality by submitting your application and $25.00 fee by July 31, 2003!
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife has proposed re-opening a hunting season on black bears for the first time since 1970. However, the bear season is not safe just yet, as virulent anti-hunting groups continue to ignore common sense and push for a ban on hunting. Without your input, black bear hunting may be stopped before the season ever opens! The Fish and Game Council is holding a public hearing to get input on the proposed wildlife code changes, including the bear season. Sportsmen should attend this hearing and make their position known. It will be held Thursday, May 22 at the New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street in Trenton. The hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. Also, Senator Joseph Vitale (D-19) is sponsoring a bill to stop the proposed bear season. Not only will SB 1219 stop any bear hunting, it also appropriates $95,000 of your tax dollars and gives it to the Humane Society of the United States-one of the most extremist anti-hunting groups in the country-to study ways of controlling the bears "other than hunting." The Senate Environment Committee will hear SB 1219 next week, so it is vital that you act now. Please call your State Senator and urge him to oppose SB 1219. You can get contact info for your Senator by accessing the "Write your Representatives" feature.
On Tuesday, May 13, the Suffolk County legislature will have a hearing and vote on a proposal to exempt shooting ranges from the Suffolk County Noise Control Law. The proposal has been approved by the County legislature`s Parks Committee, and will now be considered by the full legislature. As you are well aware, Suffolk County has a lower noise level standard than the rest of the State, and passing this important Resolution is a very important step in getting the Suffolk County Trap and Skeet Range reopened. Anti-shooting activists are expected to be in full force at this hearing, so it is important that sportsmen and concerned citizens make a strong and vocal showing! Please come out and support your sporting heritage this Tuesday, May 13, at 9:30 a.m. at the County Center in Riverhead.
House Bill 12, Right to Carry legislation, will have opponent testimony Wednesday, May 14, at 9:00 a.m., in the North Hearing Room in the Senate Building of the State Capitol. Passing 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 the "Write Your Representatives" tool and urge him to support action on HB 12.
HB 452, the bill requiring Tennessee to recognize the handgun carry permits issued by all other states, passed the House Judiciary Committee and will be considered on the full House floor next week. Please call your state representative and ask him/her to support HB 452. This legislation will encourage a number of additional states to recognize Tennessee handgun carry permits. Contact information for your Representative can be found by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool.
This week, the House passed a number of NRA-supported bills: HB 498 by Rep. Carl Isett (R-84) reducing Concealed Handgun License (CHL) renewal fees for senior citizens; HB 1704 by Rep. Larry Taylor (R-24) allowing new Texas residents to immediately apply for a CHL and allowing non-residents to keep their license if their home state passes a Right to Carry law; HB 2086 by Rep. Robert Talton (R-144) lifting the ban on carrying by permittees on LCRA property; and HB 3477 by Rep. Jack Stick (R-50), transferring authority from DPS to the Texas Attorney General`s office for negotiating CHL reciprocal agreements with other states. Also this week, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee approved SB 1406 by Sen. Craig Estes (R-30), the Senate companion bill to HB 3477. Please begin calling your State Senators and urge them to support all of these NRA-backed bills. (As this Akert went to print, the NRA-supported House Committee Substitute for SB 501, by Sen. Ken Armbrister (D-18) & Rep. Suzanna Hupp (R-54), was pending on the House calendar for consideration. This bill would close a loophole in the criminal trespass law that cities and counties are using to post signs banning carry permit holders from public buildings. We`ll keep you posted!)