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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 26 6/27/2003


The firearms industry has won another significant legal victory in the ongoing battle over reckless lawsuits. On June 24, the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court affirmed a trial court`s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D). The appellate court found that it was "legally inappropriate, impractical and unrealistic" to force gun manufacturers to take steps to decrease the availability and illegal use of firearms.

This reckless lawsuit, brought by Mr. Spitzer in 2001, alleged that firearm manufacturers had created a "public nuisance" by knowingly distributing a "flood" of firearms used illegally by criminals. In August of that year, the trial court judge, State Supreme Court Justice Louis York, dismissed the suit, finding that the state`s case failed to link the firearms industry directly to the "public nuisance." York sensibly wrote, "it is obvious that the parties most directly responsible for the unlawful use of handguns are the individuals who unlawfully use them."

"We should applaud this victory, but the fight is far from over," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "This case is just another clear example of why the U. S. Senate must follow the lead of the House of Representatives and pass S. 659 to prohibit these reckless lawsuits." It is critical that you continue to contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to do everything in their power to ensure that this common sense bill is approved

Commenting on the recent ruling, National Shooting Sports Foundation`s Vice President and General Counsel, Lawrence G. Keane, said, "We are extremely pleased and gratified that the appeals court has found that Attorney General Spitzer`s politically motivated lawsuit lacks any legal merit, precisely what other courts around the country have concluded in dismissing similar ‘junk` lawsuits filed against our industry. These lawsuits are nothing more than an attempt to circumvent Congress and state legislatures to impose through litigation an extreme anti-gun agenda repeatedly rejected by Congress and the American people."

You can call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121. You may also use the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org for more contact information. Also, please continue to contact your U.S. Representative in opposition to H.R. 2038 and your U.S. Senators in opposition to S. 1034 (bills seeking to expand the 1994 Clinton gun ban). You can call your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121. You may also use the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org for additional contact information. Be sure to encourage your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners to contact their lawmakers as well!



` Independence Day District Work Period is scheduled for June 30-July 4. During this time, your Senators and Representative will be back home in their respective states and districts. Many lawmakers use this time to hold town hall meetings, where they can report on what they`ve been doing in Washington, and take questions from their constituents. These meetings offer a tremendous opportunity for you to personally voice your strong support for the Senate reckless lawsuit prohibition bill (S. 659), and your staunch opposition to legislation that seeks to reauthorize and expand the 1994 Clinton gun ban (S. 1034 & H.R. 2038). Please contact your lawmakers` district offices and ask when they plan to hold their town hall meetings during the break. If you do not know the number for your lawmakers` district offices, you can use the "Write Your Representatives"tool at www.NRAILA.org, or call the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683.

To find a Town Hall meeting in your area, go to /calendar.asp

If you get a chance to meet with your lawmakers, be sure to:

    • Urge Your Senators To Cosponsor And Support S. 659 and to oppose S. 1034 which vastly expands the Clinton Gun Ban.


  • Encourage Your U.S. Representative to Oppose H.R. 2038, The House Bill To Expand The Clinton Gun Ban.


In addition to attending meetings and speaking out in support of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, please forward the dates, times, and locations of any town hall meetings to your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners, and to the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division, so we may compile this information and share it with the pro-gun community. Please forward this information to the Grassroots Division by calling (800) 392-8683, by faxing to (703) 267-3918, or by sending an e-mail to townhall@nrahq.org.


Alerts have been circulating on the Internet regarding a provision in this year`s Defense Authorization bill that would supposedly require "demilitarization" of "significant military equipment." For longtime Grassroots Alert readers, this is the infamous "demil" language

previously defeated in 2000 and 2001, which would havegranted the Secretary of Defense the authority to seize and "demilitarize" (read: destroy) "significant military equipment" formerly owned by the Department of Defense. "Significant military equipment" includes everything from guns and bayonets, to nuclear reactors and classified computer systems. Obviously, this proposal could have had a significant effect on gun collectors and many others if enacted. Fortunately, these reports are inaccurate. The "demil" provision was included in early versions of House and Senate bills to authorize spending by the Defense Department, but was once again removed by pro-Second Amendment lawmakers led by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Cal.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. The provision was not included in the bills passed by the House (H.R. 1588) or Senate (H.R. 1588 amended with the text of S. 1050). Be assured that NRA-ILA will continue its efforts to lay this issue to rest once and for all.


The "Jay M. Littlefield Memorial NRA-ILA Volunteer of the Year Award" is an annual honor that recognizes an NRA member who demonstrates exceptionally meritorious activism in defense of our Second Amendment rights. Similarly, the "NRA-ILA Volunteer Organization of the Year Award" is bestowed upon a group that has gone above and beyond the call of duty in defending our freedoms over the past year. Nominations for these honors for last year (2002) should be submitted to: NRA-ILA Volunteer Awards, c/o Chris Manthos, NRA-ILA Grassroots Division, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030. They can also be faxed to Chris at (703) 267-3918. All nominations must be submitted by NRA members in good standing and accompanied by a one page description of why the nominated individual or organization is deserving. Winners will be selected by NRA-ILA staff, and will be acknowledged at this year`s Fall Board of Directors Meeting. The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2003.


The Humane Society of the United States has conjured up a novel approach to undermine the authority of the states to manage resident wildlife, and at the same time take a swipe at one form of hunting. The "Don`t Feed the Bears Act" would prohibit the use of bait to hunt bear on federal lands, using the premise that if federal agencies prohibit tourists from feeding the bears, then the same prohibition ought to apply to hunters. H.R. 1472 has traction in Congress with 130 cosponsors, many of whom have no doubt been lulled into believing this is a noncontroversial issue and with no knowledge that anti-hunters are backing this bill. A hearing in a House Resources subcommittee was held earlier this month. Please contact your Representative and express your opposition to the bill because it sets a dangerous precedent by giving the federal government preemptive authority over state wildlife management. Only in extraordinary cases, as in migratory birds and threatened and endangered species, has the Congress given jurisdiction to the federal government. If your Representative is a cosponsor of H.R. 1472, please ask that he withdraw support from the bill.



AB 50, sponsored by Assemblyman Koretz (D-42), would ban the sale of all .50 caliber rifles. It will be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, July 1. Please contact the Senate Public Safety Committee members, and ask them to vote "NO" on AB 50. SB 489, semi-auto handgun restrictions, will be heard in Assembly Public Safety on July 1. This bill would ban all semi-auto handguns that do not have both a magazine disconnect and a loaded chamber indicator. Please contact the committee members and ask them to vote "NO" on SB 489. You can go to www.NRAILA.org and use the "Write Your Representatives" feature for additional contact information.


Thanks to all your phone calls, the legislature passed HB 178, sponsored by Representative Nancy Wagner (R-31). HB 178, establishes a reciprocity system to recognize Right to Carry permits issued in other states. Also, the last day of session is June 30, and two bills of importance to gun owners and sportsmen have yet to be passed out of committee. HB 164, sponsored by Representative Richard Cathcart (R-9), protects Delaware`s shooting ranges from urban encroachment, and HB 160, sponsored by Representative John Atkins (R-41), will allow hunting on Sunday afternoons. Please contact your Senator and urge him to support these bills by releasing them out of committee for a floor vote. 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 use the "Write Your Representatives" feature at www.NRAILA.org.


HB 811 and HB 415 have been approved by the New Hampshire General Court and have been sent to Governor Craig Benson (R) for his signature. HB 811 limits the liability of manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages from misuse. HB 415 gives the state, not towns and cities, the power to regulate firearms and ammunition, including sales, ownership, possession, and licensing issues. Please thank your legislators for all the hard work and effort they have put into protecting our Second Amendment rights. You can use the "Write Your Representatives"feature at www.NRAILA.org to identify and contact your lawmakers.


The legislative session came to a close last week, after lawmakers moved at a fast and furious pace to advance bills, both good and bad. This session saw no anti-gun measures approved. Among the many who have worked to advance legislation benefiting law-abiding gun owners, hunters and sportsmen, special thanks go out to Senator Dale Volker (R-59) and Assemblyman Dick Smith (D-146) for their efforts. Please contact and thank those legislators for all their hard work and efforts. For contact information for your lawmakers, please visit www.NRAILA.org and use the "Write Your Representatives" feature.


This week, the Ohio House failed to concur on HB 12, sponsored by Representative Jim Aslanides (R-94), which 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. With the legislature adjourning for summer recess, HB 12 will head to conference committee to be reviewed this fall. Please continue to contact your State Representatives, State Senators, and Governor Taft and urge their support for the House bill. To locate contact information for your lawmakers, please visit www.NRAILA.org and use the "Write Your Representative" feature.


Congratulations Texas NRA Members! Governor Rick Perry (R) has signed into law NRA-backed SB 501 by Senator Ken Armbrister (D-Victoria) and Representative Suzanna Hupp (R-Lampasas). SB 501 amends the state criminal trespass law that cities and counties were using to circumvent legislative authority and ban concealed handgun licensees (CHLs) from public property not otherwise off-limits to them under Texas` Right To Carry law. Special thanks go out to Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (R) and Speaker Tom Craddick (R) for helping shepherd this significant legislation through their respective chambers. Governor Perry also signed the following NRA-supported measures: HB 284, by Representative Dan Ellis (D-Livingston) and Senator Todd Staples (R-Palestine), exempts possession of a handgun in a recreational vehicle from the unlawful carry provisions of the Penal Code. HB 1704 by Representative Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and Senator Kyle Janek (R-Houston) allows new Texas residents to apply for a CHL earlier than currently provided by law and will also allow non-resident Texas CHLs to keep their license even after their home state passes a Right To Carry law. HB 3477 by Representative Jack Stick (R-Austin) and Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) will facilitate more CHL reciprocal agreements between Texas and other states by transferring authority to negotiate such agreements from DPS to the Attorney General`s and Governor`s offices. Thanks to your e-mails and calls in support of these important bills, this was the most successful legislative session yet for Texas gun owners!


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.