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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 20 5/16/2003


On May 14, an advisory jury in the NAACP`s lawsuit against a number of gun manufacturers rendered its verdict. After nearly five days of deliberation, the jury unanimously found 38 of the industry defendants not liable for the criminal misuse of their products. Seven other defendants were exonerated by a vote of at least 10 of the 12 jurors. In 23 additional instances, the jury rendered no decision. Not a single defendant was found intentionally or negligently responsible for any public nuisance, as the NAACP tried to claim.

Lawrence Keane, vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), said of the verdict, "We welcome the advisory jury`s common sense finding that the manufacturers and distributors of firearms are not responsible for the criminal misuse of their products." Keane continued, "This victory demonstrates the claims made by the NAACP and others are baseless and entirely without merit and proves the firearm industry is a highly-regulated and law-abiding industry."

The jury verdict, however, does not bring an official close to this case. The presiding judge, Jack B. Weinstein, who has a history of judicial activism penalizing the gun industry, will use the jury`s decision only in an advisory capacity. The jury`s decision can be accepted or rejected in whole or part by Weinstein in the next 30 days.


As we predicted, the anti-gunners in the Senate are prepared the thwart the will of that body`s majority and are hatching a plan to derail S. 659-the Senate version of reckless lawsuit preemption that currently enjoys the support of 52 cosponsors. The House version of the bill-H.R. 1036-already passed in that chamber by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. The future of lawsuit preemption in the Senate, however, is far less certain.

Fox News Channel reported on Tuesday (May 13) that the campaign to stymie S. 659 through use of a filibuster is already underway. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) has claimed, "[we] will do everything we can to stop this...legislation from becoming law." In addition to the filibuster, Reed has promised that the anti-freedom Senate contingent may try to amend S. 659 with a host of gun control proposals, including a gun show ban and mandatory storage language, to name just a couple.

With the fight over this much-needed reform beginning to reach critical mass, it is more important than ever that you continue to contact your U.S. Senators in support of S. 659 and ask them to do everything in their power to prevent any parliamentary trickery to de-rail this common sense reform. You can call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 or use our "Write Your Representatives" tool to find contact information. For a list of Senate cosponsors of S. 659, go to the Library of Congress website, at http://thomas.loc.gov.




The Kentucky Primary Election is Tuesday, May 20. Please go to the polls on May 20 and vote for those candidates who support our "Right to Keep and Bear Arms". Be sure to encourage your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners to vote on May 20 as well. To find out more about the candidates running in your area, call NRA-ILA Grassroots at (800) 392-8683.


State House District 65 will be holding a special election on Tuesday, May 20. Please encourage your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners to vote for pro-Second Amendment candidates on May 20.Call NRA-ILA Grassroots at (800) 392-8683 to get more information on this election.



On Wednesday, May 14, the House passed reckless lawsuit preemption. Sponsored by Senator Peter Kinder (R-27), Senate Bill 13 stops cities and towns in Missouri from filing reckless lawsuits against gun manufacturers. SB 13 now goes to Governor Bob Holden`s (D) desk for signature, where Right to Carry is also currently pending.It is vital that you call the Governor`s office at (573) 751-3222 and urge him to sign both of these important bills.



House Bill 415, which contains language that would safeguard New Hampshire`s law-abiding gun owners by preventing a patchwork of local anti-gun ordinances in municipalities throughout the state, will be considered in the Senate Judiciary Committee. We encourage members to make plans to attend the hearing on Tuesday, May 27, at 10:15 a.m., in Room 105-A at the State House in Concord. Also, because this bill could move quickly if approved by the committee, we ask that members begin contacting their State Senators to voice strong SUPPORT for HB 415. For contact information for your lawmakers, please visit www.gencourt.state.nh.us/ie/ or use our "Write Your Representatives" feature.



The Fish and Wildlife Division has proposed re-opening a hunting season on black bears. However, anti-hunting forces are trying to stop bear hunting before the season ever opens. The Fish and Game Council is holding a public hearing to get input on the proposed bear season. The hearing will be held on Thursday, May 22 at the New Jersey State Museum, 205 State Street in Trenton, at 6:30 p.m.Sportsmen should attend this hearing and make their support for hunting known.



The Assembly Codes Committee has sent a number of bills that would impact law-abiding gun owners, hunters, and sportsmen to the full Assembly for consideration. They include A 3311, which would prohibit the sale of any pistol or revolver not containing a "child proofing" device; A 7039 (same as S 4453) which bans the sale, use, and possession of .50-caliber firearms; and A 8285, which would prohibit the purchase of more than one pistol or revolver in a 30-day period. Two bills being pushed by New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV) are A 8542, which would expand the current ballistic "identification" program to include rifles and shotguns and A 8456, which would place many new onerous restrictions and requirements on firearm dealers. A 8542 was just introduced on May 14 and referred to the Codes Committee. A 8456 was referred by the Codes Committee to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.Please contact your Assembly member and urge him to OPPOSE the proposals listed above.


Also, the Senate Codes Committee has sent S 1111 (same as A 2397), which would establish the presumption that handgun license applicants have "proper cause" for issuance, and S 1244 (same as A 2730), which would limit a licensing officer`s discretion in imposing additional restrictions on a licensee not otherwise provided for in law, to the full Senate for consideration. Please contact your State Senator and encourage his SUPPORT for these critical reform measures. To locate contact information for your lawmakers please use our "Write Your Representative" feature.



Senate Bill 33, the NRA-backed Right to Carry reciprocity bill, was passed by the North Carolina State House on Wednesday, May 14, on a vote of 93-15. This bill will give valid carry permit holders from states that have similar issuing requirements as North Carolina the ability to carry their firearm for personal protection in North Carolina. This, in turn, will encourage more states to recognize North Carolina permits. SB 33 now heads back to the Senate for a concurrence vote. Please contact the members of the House to thank them for their support. You can find contact information using our "Write Your Representatives" feature.



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.