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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 24 6/13/2003


Law enforcement uses existing ballistic imaging technology in criminal investigations all across the nation. The science is very effective at examining evidence left at crime scenes and matching it with firearms collected from suspected criminals. The ballistic "fingerprinting"scheme that is now being proposed by the anti-gunners has nothing to do with that activity. What is being promoted now is a much broader program that will serve as firearm registration for guns owned by law-abiding citizens.

Gun-prohibitionists have latched onto ballistic

"fingerprinting" and have used tragedies and horrific crimes (including last year`s D.C.-area sniper shootings) to promote it, but they have failed to show that ballistic "fingerprinting" would be anything more than an expensive firearm registration scheme. Proponents of ballistic "fingerprinting" insist on rushing forward with a program without any knowledge as to its costs, effectiveness, or feasibility. This is clear evidence that they are more interested in the one sure effect of the program-a de facto gun registration system-than they are in actually helping law enforcement solve crimes. Gun prohibitionists have failed repeatedly to convince Congress to support their calls for a national gun registry, and they see ballistic "fingerprinting"as the best way to surreptitiously pass a gun registration bill. Along with NRA, the Fraternal Order of Police has definite reservations about this concept.

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Zell Miller (D-Ga.) have joined together to introduce S. 980, legislation that would: mandate a comprehensive study of ballistic imaging technology, determine the effectiveness of ballistic imaging database as an investigative tool for law enforcement, and establish the cost and effectiveness of state-based imaging systems. The bill specifically requires that the study examine a number of important questions regarding any ballistic imaging system.

For more information on this bill, call ILA Grassroots at (800) 392-8683 or click here.



Stung by the passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of H.R. 1036-reckless lawsuit preemption-and the support of 53 U.S. Senators for S. 659-the Senate`s version of this legislation- anti-gunners are dragging out an issue from the past to try to further regulate firearms.

Senator Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) introduced legislation this week requiring the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to regulate the manufacture and design of firearms. In unveiling their legislation at a press conference, the two lawmakers were joined by nototrious anti-gun "luminaries" Robert Ricker, the former gun industry representative turncoat who is now a paid witness for those pursuing the reckless lawsuits against gun makers, and former Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), who was integral in the passage of the 1994 Clinton gun ban. Congress has already exempted guns from oversight by the CPSC, recognizing that firearms are already regulated by some 20,000 federal, state, and local laws and regulations, as well as by the approximately 700 standards set by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, which are reviewed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Guns, of course, are also the only commercial product that law-abiding citizens need FBI approval to buy. Giving the power to regulate the design of guns to an unelected bureaucrat poses a serious threat to gun owners. An anti-gun commissioner could claim that all firearms are dangerous and should be banned because they fire lead projectiles at such high velocities they could cause injury or death.

Gary Mehalik of the National Shooting Sports Foundation noted, "The ulterior motive here, as it has been in the past, is for the restriction on firearms rights under this false premise to increase safety. The best way to ensure safety of the firearms is to have a safe human operator. The only foolproof way to make sure a firearm does not accidentally shoot is to keep it unloaded and your finger off the trigger. Any attempt to create some mechanical contraption that`s going to override the human involvement that`s required for firearms safety is bound to fail."

The bill is supported by two handgun ban groups, the Violence Policy Center and the Consumer Federation of America. While Rep. Kennedy has conceded that the bill`s passage was unlikely, NRA-ILA is closely monitoring this legislation and will work to ensure it is once again rejected.

Meanwhile, we will continue to focus on the aforementioned reckless lawsuit preemption bill in the Senate and the expansion and re-authorization of the 1994 Clinton gun ban (H.R. 2038 and S. 1034). To this end, it is critical that you continue to contact your U.S. Representative in opposition to H.R. 2038 and your U.S. Senators in opposition to S. 1034. Also, be sure to encourage your U.S. Senators to support S. 659. You can call your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121. For additional contact information for your lawmakers, use the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org. Please encourage your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners to do the same!



As we reported in last week

`s Alert (Vol. 10, No. 23), on Wednesday, a hearing was held on Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor`s (R) nomination for a federal judgeship on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. In one particularly interesting exchange, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked General Pryor, "Are you a member of the National Rifle Association or its Board of Directors?" Pryor responded that he is indeed a member, but not an NRA Director. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) followed Durbin by piling on General Pryor for his filing of an amicus brief in U.S. v. Emerson. In that case, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the right to bear arms has always been, and was always considered, an individually held right.

Anti-gun litmus tests have no place in judicial nominations, and the fact that a nominee happens to be a member of NRA should not be viewed by any objective Senator as a disqualifer. In fact, defending the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment, is something every judge should do and is sworn to do by taking an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Please continue to contact your U.S. Senators to encourage them to support Bill Pryor`s nomination. You can reach your U.S. Senators by calling (202) 224-3121, or you can use the "Write Your Representatives

"tool at www.NRAILA.org for additional contact information.


In a recent article in USA Today (June 6), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was criticized for actions seen by two key lawmakers as nothing more than an attempt to delay the arming of qualified pilots.

In an unexpected move, the TSA divulged its convoluted plan to uproot the program from its current location in Georgia-where it`s been for less than a year-to a remote location in southeastern New Mexico.

Commenting on these developments, Representative John Mica (R-Fla.), head of the House Aviation Subcommittee said, "It`s one more bureaucratic disaster devised by those who want to make this more complex and expensive than it has to be." In a bipartisan echoing of these sentiments, Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) lamented, "It`s just another attempt...to disrupt the program at the behest of the airlines who have always opposed arming pilots."

Rest assured that NRA-ILA is determined to see this vital law implemented without further delay.

In a related story, CNSNews.com reported that on Thursday (June 12) the U.S. Senate approved legislation that would allow qualified commercial cargo pilots to be armed. Under this amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration

`s (FAA) reauthorization bill, cargo pilots would be eligible to participate in the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program. Currently, the program is limited to commercial passenger pilots only.

Both passenger and cargo pilots were included in the original legislative mandate. It wasn

`t until the legislation passed through the House and Senate conference committee that revisions excluding the cargo pilots from participation were added. Commenting on the developments, the amendment`s primary sponsor, Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) said, "By approving this legislation today the Senate has sent a strong message that we are serious about providing for our nation`s homeland security."


A conference committee must still reconcile the differences between the two versions of the FAA bill. If the amendment subsequently remains in place, no separate House action will be required and the legislation will be included in the bill that goes to the President.



On Wednesday, NRA-backed HB 102, was signed into law. HB 102, deemed the so-called "Vermont Carry" law, allows law-abiding residents to carry a concealed weapon without a special permit. Please contact Governor Frank Murkowski (R) and your state lawmakers, and commend them on their tireless effort in protecting the Second Amendment rights of Alaskans.



Thanks to all of your phone calls, last week, the House of Representatives passed three bills of importance to gun owners and sportsmen. HB 164, sponsored by Rep. Richard Cathcart (R-9), protects Delaware`s shooting ranges from urban encroachment, and HB 160, sponsored by Rep. John Atkins (R-41), will allow hunting on Sunday afternoons. Also, on Thursday, the House voted to approve HB 178, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Wagner (R-31), which would establish a reciprocity system to recognize Right to Carry permits issued in other states. All three of these bills now go to the Senate for consideration

. Please contact your Senator and urge him to support these bills. Senate Democrats may be reached at (302) 744-4286, and Senate Republicans may be reached at (302) 744-4048. If you are unsure who your Senator is, you can go to www.NRAILA.org and use the "Write Your Representatives" feature to find out.


HB 811

, an NRA-backed measure that will protect the firearm industry by preventing reckless lawsuits, was approved by a Committee of Conference on June 4, and will now get an up or down vote in both the Senate and House of Representatives. It is critical that you contact your legislators and urge them to support HB 811. Also approved by the Committee of Conference, was NRA-backed HB 415. This important legislation will safeguard New Hampshire`s law-abiding gun owners by preventing a patchwork of local anti-gun ordinances in municipalities throughout the state. It will now be considered for final approval by the Legislature. Keep in mind that opponents of HB 415 are pulling out all the stops to derail this measure so it is critical that NRA members contact both their Senator and State Representative TODAY to voice their strong support for HB 415. To locate contact information for your lawmakers, please visit the New Hampshire General Court`s website at www.gencourt.state.nh.us or visit www.NRAILA.org and use the "Write Your Representative" feature.


With the legislative session coming to a close next week, lawmakers are moving at a fast and furious pace to advance bills, both good and bad. A 4609 (same as S 2735), an anti-gun bill seeking to outlaw "canned shoots", but so broadly written that it could have an enormous impact on all hunting activities, passed the Assembly this week and moves to the Senate Rules Committee. Please contact your Senator and urge him to oppose S 2735/A 4609. A 7039 (same as S 4453), which bans the sale, use, and possession of .50-caliber firearms, remains on third reading in the Assembly. Please contact your Assembly member and urge him to oppose A 7039. Bills that benefit law-abiding gun owners include: 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, are on third reading in the Senate. Please contact your State Senator and encourage him to support these critical reform measures. To locate contact information for your lawmakers, please visit www.NRAILA.org and use the "Write Your Representative" 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.