BILL INTRODUCED TO RESTORE
D.C.`S RIGHT TO ARMS
On July 15, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced S. 1414, the District of Columbia Personal Protection Act. This legislation seeks to restore the constitutionally guaranteed Second Amendment rights of the residents of our nation`s capital. The introduction of this legislation comes on the heels of recent FBI statistics that reveal Washington, D.C., has once again reclaimed the notorious title of the "murder capital" of the United States. Seeking to rectify what, for more than 25 years, has been a de facto prohibition of self-defense for the District`s law-abiding residents, S. 1414 leaves in place strict penalties for gun possession by criminals and for violent firearms-related crimes. Perhaps by resurrecting this fundamental freedom, and ensuring swift and firm enforcement of existing criminal statutes, our nation`s capital will no longer bear its disgraceful "murder capital" moniker.
"D.C.`s draconian gun ban has effectively stripped its law-abiding residents of their basic right to defend themselves and their loved ones," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. "This restriction has left the good people of our nation`s capital defenseless and at the mercy of ruthless violent criminals who plague this city. The ‘District of Columbia Personal Protection Act` will remedy this dangerous injustice."
Under D.C.`s current gun laws, all handguns are banned unless they were owned and registered in the District before 1977. In fact, even the few remaining legal handgun owners in the District are prohibited from carrying their handguns in their own homes. Long guns, which may be legally owned in the District, must be registered, and stored unloaded, disassembled or locked, rendering them useless for self-defense—unless the gun is kept at a place of business.
"Apparently D.C.`s elected officials believe it`s more important to let people protect their business assets, than to protect their homes and families. The right to defend oneself and one`s family is unconditional. The legislation Senator Hatch has introduced...will restore that fundamental right for our capital`s citizens," added NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.
RECKLESS LAWSUIT PREEMPTION STILL TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY
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. We cannot over-emphasize the need for you to remain actively engaged in your efforts to ensure passage of S. 659– the Senate version of reckless lawsuit preemption. It is critical that you continue to contact your U.S. Senators in support of S. 659 and urge them to preempt predatory, meritless 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 cosponsor and support S. 659, and halt the abuse of our courts by anti-gun extremists who are trying to usurp the legislative process 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 that anti-gun Senators have threatened to launch in a shameless attempt to defeat S. 659.
Further illustrating wide-spread, bipartisan support for S. 659, the co-chairs of the Senate Sportsman`s Caucus, Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Id.), and Max Baucus (D-Mont.), this week authored a letter to fellow Caucus members encouraging them to support S.659, and requesting them to sign on as cosponsors.
While it is critical that you contact your U.S. Senators encouraging them to cosponsor and support S. 659, it is just as important that you continue to communicate with your U.S. Representative and your Senators, urging them to oppose current legislation seeking to reauthorize and expand the 1994 Clinton gun ban—H.R. 2038 and S. 1034, respectively. Please remember that for all of the above-mentioned action items, you can find contact information for your elected officials by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at our website (www.NRAILA.org), or you can call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121. Once you have taken this action, please be sure to forward this information to your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners, and strongly encourage them to contact their lawmakers as well.
SHOT DOWN IN CONGRESS
A shameless attempt to sneak an anti-hunting bill through Congress failed as a result of intense pressure and opposition from NRA members, and a host of sportsmen`s organizations. Through our extraordinary combined efforts, the amendment was soundly defeated on July 17 by a vote of 163 to 255.
This backdoor effort by Representatives Jim Moran (D-Va.), and Elton Gallegly (R-Cal.), sought to bury the anti-hunting legislation in an amendment to the House Interior Appropriations bill after H.R. 1472, also known as the "Don`t Feed the Bears Act," was withdrawn from the House Resources Committee on July 15. Nonetheless, this issue may come up again this session, and we will keep you informed of any future developments on this front.
Passage of this misguided measure would have set a very dangerous precedent, opening the door to federal preemption of the rights of the individual states to manage resident wildlife. At no time in history has Congress selected an individual species for federal management and the NRA remains unalterably opposed to such federal infringement.
A LOOK AT THE STATES
The 2003 Legislative Session came to a close on Monday, June 30, with a victory for gun owners. The legislature passed HB 178, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Wagner (R-31), which establishes a reciprocity system to recognize Right to Carry permits issued in other states. The bill has been signed into law by Governor Ruth Ann Minner (D). Please contact your legislators and Governor Minner, who supported this bill, and thank them for their commitment to protecting the Second Amendment. You can find contact information for your legislators by using the "Write Your Representatives" feature found at www.NRAILA.org. Governor Minner can be reached at (302) 577-3210.
HB 811 has been signed into law by Governor Craig Benson (R). HB 811 limits the liability of manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms or ammunition for damages from misuse. Please contact your legislators and Governor Benson, and thank them for all the hard work and effort they have put into protecting your Second Amendment rights. You can find contact information for your legislators by using the "Write Your Representatives" feature at www.NRAILA.org. Governor Benson can be reached at (603) 271-2121.
The Salem County Sportsman Club and South Jersey Sportsman, Inc., will host NRA Day — a free day of gun safety and recreational shooting instruction for the entire family — on August 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The club is located on Route 40, three miles east of Exit 1 off the New Jersey Turnpike. "This event is an ideal opportunity for our community to learn what NRA is all about — the safe, responsible use of firearms," said Bob Viden, club spokesperson and NRA Board Member. "Parents and youngsters who are new to shooting can learn gun safety and basic marksmanship from NRA Certified Instructors. Those with shooting experience will get the chance to try several different disciplines and socialize with other gun owners and NRA members." NRA Day activities to be held include rifle, handgun, and shotgun shooting, plus a youth air gun range for children with adult supervision. The South Jersey Arms Collectors will also hold a special exhibit, Firearms of America, featuring a number of historically significant firearms from the Kentucky Rifle to the M1. All firearms, targets, ammunition, and eye and ear protection will be provided. The event is open to the public and admission is free. Food and drink will be available. For more information, call Bob Viden at (856) 881-7575. To learn more about other NRA programs, go to: www.nrahq.org.