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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 28 7/11/2003


This week, the National Association of Wholesalers (NAW) added its name to the growing list of national associations declaring their unqualified support for S. 659.  In a letter to U. S. Senators, NAW president Dirk Van Dongen wrote, "NAW is comprised of direct member firms and a federation of over 100 national, regional, state and local line-of-trade associations which collectively total more then 40,000 companies.  We believe that it is a true miscarriage of justice for the manufacturers, wholesaler-distributors and/or retailers of products to be held liable for the misuse of those products by end-users over whose conduct they have no control."

As noted in previous Alerts, one of NRA-ILA`s top legislative priorities in Congress continues to be the passage of a federal law to block reckless lawsuits against the firearm industry.  As debate over S. 659—the Senate version of reckless lawsuit preemption—continues, we must continue to emphasize the need to take action in support of this critically important legislation.  At this crucial time, 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 ensure that this common sense bill is approved.  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 re-authorize and expand the 1994 Clinton gun ban).  Please take action, and then forward this information to your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners and ensure that they do the same. You can call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121, your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, or you can use our "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org to find contact information.  


 As reported in the June 27 issue of the Grassroots Alert, 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.  Unfortunately since our last update, H.R. 1472, sponsored by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Cal.), has gained further momentum in the U.S. House of Representatives, picking up an additional 45 cosponsors (bringing the total to 175).  The bill is scheduled for mark-up in the House Resources Committee on July 15.  With this anti-hunting legislation making headway, it is critical that you contact your U.S. 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.  For a list of cosponsors of H.R. 1472, you can go to the Library of Congress website, at http://thomas.loc.gov.  To see a list of Committee Members, you can visit the Committee on Resources website, at http://www.house.gov/resources/108cong/members.htm.


 The United Nations (UN) First Biennial Meeting of States opened on July 7 and concludes today. The meeting is a follow-up to a July 2001 conference at which the UN Programme of Action for Small Arms and Light Weapons was established.  At the 2001 conference, Under Secretary of State John Bolton was successful in keeping the discussions focused on the international trafficking in illicit small arms and light weapons, steadfastly refusing to concede any form of international registration or regulations aimed at U.S. civilian ownership of firearms and our Second Amendment rights.  

The purpose of the First Biennial Meeting is simply to review the international participants` progress on implementing the terms of the Programme of Action.  As the United States currently has all existing requirements in place, the meeting is of little consequence.  However, in his opening statement, Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, plainly reiterated that the United States` position on the lawful ownership of firearms vis-a-vis the UN remains unchanged:  "...the UN Conference had a very specific mandate from the General Assembly, and lawful gun ownership was not part of that mandate.  The scope of the Conference and the Program of Action concern the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.  That remains our focus today."

Bob Barr, former Congressman and current NRA Board member, attended the meeting as an official representative of the U.S. State Department`s delegation to the UN Small Arms Conference, a role he also filled in 2001.  "It will be extremely important," he said, "to follow subsequent meetings, to ensure we aren`t faced with a legally-binding document that would commit us to some form of firearms registration and regulation by the UN or any outside authority." 

Rest assured that NRA-ILA will keep you informed on any future developments.



U.S. Rep. Richard Baker (R-6), who is A-rated by NRA-PVF and a strong advocate for firearms safety, is hosting a Women`s Personal and Gun Safety Seminar on Saturday, July 26, and Saturday, August 2.  The seminar is free and open to all women in the Baton Rouge area.  The program on Saturday, July 26, will incorporate NRA`s Refuse To Be A Victim seminar and will promote awareness and prevention of criminal confrontations.  Seminar topics include:  home, automobile, phone, technological, travel, and personal security.  Seminar participants are presented with a variety of common-sense crime prevention and personal safety strategies and devices they may integrate into their daily lives. 
 Registration begins at 9:00 a.m.  The program begins at 10:00 a.m., and ends at 3:00 p.m.  Lunch is included.  Firearm instruction is not part of the Refuse To Be A Victim seminar.  However, women who attend on July 26, will be invited to return the following Saturday, August 2, for hands-on firearm training at the Ascension Parish Sheriff`s Range.  Several certified shooting instructors will be on hand to train women who have qualified for the program.  To qualify, women are required to have attended the entire Refuse To Be A Victim seminar on Saturday, July 26.  For more information, please contact Rep. Baker`s Baton Rouge office at (225) 929-7711.  NRA-ILA is sponsoring this special firearm safety event, and encourages all interested women to attend.  Please forward this message to all women in the Baton Rouge area who may be interested. 


Last week, Governor Bob Holden (D) vetoed HB 349, the Right to Carry bill, despite the fact that HB 349 passed both the Senate and House by over-whelming majorities. In doing so, Governor Holden failed to bring Missouri policy in line with the 35 other states that have Right to Carry laws.  HB 349 will next be considered in September, when the Legislature will hold an override vote on the Governor`s veto.  It is vital that you contact your legislators in Jefferson City before then and tell them that law-abiding Missourians expect them to rectify the Governor`s mistake.  You can contact your Senator at  (573) 751-3824 and your Representative at (573) 751-3659. 


The New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife has approved plans for the first New Jersey black bear hunt in 33 years, scheduled to take place in December 2003, in the rural northwestern part of the state.  The limited hunt was scheduled in response to a dramatic rise in the number of unprovoked black bear attacks on humans, which are the result of an exploding bear population, a shrinking habitat, and a growing trend of aggressive, predatory behavior by black bear toward humans.  Members of the NRA and its state affiliate, the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, turned out in force to support the hunt at five public hearings over the past year, outnumbering anti-hunting activists  three to one.  The hunt is seen by many in the Garden State as an urgently needed public safety measure. Up to 10,000 permits will be issued to hunters who have passed a bear hunting class.


Acclaimed scholar John R. Lott, Jr., will be in New York City on July 17, to speak and to promote his new book "THE BIAS AGAINST GUNS:  Why Almost everything You`ve Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong."  This hard-hitting, fact-based book is a must-read for gun owners.  Come listen to John Lott and have him autograph your copy of his book on Thursday, July 17, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Women`s National Republican Club, 3 W. 51st Street, New York, New York. This event is being sponsored by the New York Young Republican Club.


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.