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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 30 7/25/2003


As reported in the June 6 edition of the Grassroots Alert, Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor (R), recipient of NRA-ILA`s highest award for defense of the Second Amendment, has been nominated for a federal judgeship on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  It is critical that NRA members contact their U.S. Senators immediately to express their strong support for his confirmation. 

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approved Attorney General Pryor`s nomination on July 23, and the full U.S. Senate could vote to confirm him as early as Monday, July 28.  Count on the enemies of the Second Amendment doing everything they can in the next few days to defeat Bill Pryor`s nomination; please don`t waste any time in making your pro-gun voice heard in the U.S. Senate.
Commenting on Pryor`s nomination, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox said, "Bill Pryor has been a courageous leader on Second Amendment issues.  He has defended the right of law-abiding individuals to exercise their Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and ensured that criminals who misuse guns face swift and certain prosecution."
Attorney General Pryor is eminently qualified to sit on this federal bench.  A graduate of the Tulane University School of Law (Magna cum laude), Pryor clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, practiced law in private firms from 1988 until 1995, taught law at the Cumberland School of Law as an adjunct professor from 1989 to 1995, and served as Deputy Attorney General of Alabama from 1995 until 1997.  Since 1997, Bill Pryor has served with distinction as the Attorney General of Alabama, consistently fighting to uphold the Constitutional right of law-abiding individuals to own firearms for legitimate purposes as well as to enforce and strengthen the laws against violent criminals and drug dealers who misuse firearms.
Bill Pryor is facing fierce attacks from gun-ban groups for his principled position on the Second Amendment.  In fact, the president of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, an organization whose mission is to ban handguns, went so far as to say, "the nomination of William Pryor is like pouring salt into an open wound."  Because of attacks like these, it is critical that you act immediately.  Our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage are on the line, and it is crucial that you contact your two U.S. Senators in support of Bill Pryor`s confirmation.  Please make sure that your voice is heard right away.  On Monday, July 28, please call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121.  Be sure to share this critical alert with your family, friends and fellow Second Amendment supporters, and urge them to call their Senators as well. 


As we continue to note in our Alerts, one of NRA-ILA`s top legislative priorities in Congress is the passage of a federal law to block reckless lawsuits against the firearm industry.  As the U.S. Senate continues its consideration of this legislation, 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. 
With the gun-ban lobby wantonly taking every available opportunity to espouse blatant falsehoods about this bill, it is imperative that you know the facts about S. 659.  To this end, NRA-ILA has compiled a list of key informational points for you to use in communicating the truth about this common sense legislation.  To access this list, please go to www.NRAILA.org, click on "Legislative Update," and then click "Key Talking Points on S. 659."  Members may also call NRA-ILA`s GrassrootsDivision at (800) 392-8683 to obtain a copy. 
Finally, please continue to communicate with your U.S. Representative and your Senators, and urge 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 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.  


The firearm industry has won yet another significant legal victory in the ongoing legal battle over reckless lawsuits.  Hobbled by the advisory jury`s exoneration of the defendants, New York Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein ruled in the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse that the NAACP had failed to make its case against law-abiding firearm manufacturers and distributors. 
"NRA is pleased with the jury`s common-sense verdict that the firearm industry cannot be held accountable for the actions of criminals," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox commenting on the ruling.  "The gun industry is highly regulated and produces quality consumer products for law enforcement, the military and law-abiding Americans. Any argument that firearm companies and distributors cause harm to members of the NAACP is obviously without merit. This is not only a victory for a lawful industry, but for the American legal system that these suits have attempted to exploit."


On July 23, President George W. Bush awarded Charlton Heston the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America`s highest civilian honor, during a ceremony held in the East Room of the White House.  The Medal of Freedom is awarded in recognition of exceptional accomplishments and civil service by non-military persons.  We are especially proud of Mr. Heston who, as former President of the NRA, graciously volunteered his time and great talent to represent our members as one of the nation`s most impassioned advocates of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  
Commenting on Mr. Heston`s legacy as NRA President and on his roles in such films as "The Ten Commandments" and "Ben Hur," President Bush said, "The ... character that comes across the screen has also been seen throughout his life."  Bush added, "For most recipients, this award is a special distinction added to many prior honors."  For Charlton Heston, this is certainly the case and we congratulate him on receiving this much-deserved honor.  


NRA Board Member Sandy Abrams will be hosting the Hollywood Celebrity Shoot on Saturday, August 2, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The gala event will be held at the Triple B Clays Shotgun Sports Park, 831 North Rosemead Blvd., at the I 60, South El Monte, Calif.  NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and an estimated 100 pro-gun celebrities will be in attendance.  Please take advantage of this great opportunity to meet and greet Wayne and some of your favorite Hollywood stars!  The event is free and open to all members in the Southern California area.

On Monday, July 28, the City of Pueblo is scheduled to consider an ordinance concerning the open and concealed carrying of firearms. This ordinance maintains existing language that makes it an affirmative defense to carry your firearm or other weapon on your own property, place of residence, or in your automobile. An affirmative defense means that, even though you are not guilty of any wrongdoing, you can still be arrested and forced to defend yourself in court. The meeting will be held Monday, July 28, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, located on the second floor of City Hall. Please attend if possible and insist that these affirmative defenses be changed to exceptions to prosecution! You can also call the Council at (719) 584-0800, and e-mail them at cityadmin@ci.pueblo.co.us 

U.S. Rep. Richard Baker (R-6), who is A-rated by NRA-PVF and a strong advocate for firearmssafety, 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.

HB 415 has been signed into law by Governor Craig Benson (R).  HB 415  provides uniform firearm laws throughout the state.  This bill ensures that law-abiding gun owners are afforded equal protection under the law.  Please contact your legislators and Governor Benson to thank them for their efforts to protect our Second Amendment rights.  You can find contact information for your legislators by using "Write Your Representatives" feature at www.NRAILA.org.  Governor Benson can be reached at (603) 271-2121.


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.