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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 31 8/1/2003


In what is seen by many as a desperate lobbying effort to defeat S. 659 – the Senate version of reckless lawsuit preemption legislation – the Brady Center last month released a "study" featuring its list of "the worst players in the gun industry - gun sellers that recklessly operate their businesses and allow criminals to get guns." 

Citing data maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), the Brady Center compiled its list of federally licensed, legally operated gun dealers whom it refers to as "bad apples."  The report alleges that the so-called "bad apple" dealers named on their list "are doing things that are irresponsible," and are therefore recklessly allowing criminals to acquire firearms. 

How does the BATFE – on whose statistical data the Brady Center`s dubious report relies – characterize these findings?  In a word, "misleading."  Federal authorities disputed the Brady report`s conclusions, stating: "the statistics cited do not provide a complete picture of the types of activities that might warrant federal gun prosecutions."  Casting further doubt on the validity of the Brady report`s findings, the BATFE concluded by saying, "[T]he fact is that the majority of federally licensed firearms dealers are not knowingly engaged in criminal activity."  Enough said.   


As we continue to note, 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.  The focal point of our current effort is the passage of S. 659–the Senate version of reckless lawsuit preemption. As the U.S. Senate continues its consideration of this crucial legislation, we cannot over-emphasize the need for you to remain actively engaged in ensuring passage of S. 659.  It is critical that you continue to contact your U.S. Senators in support of S. 659 and urge them to preempt these predatory, meritless lawsuits designed to wipe out the firearm industry.  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 last-ditch attempt to defeat S. 659. 

While it is critical that you contact your Senators encouraging them to cosponsor and support S. 659, it is also 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, S. 1431,  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.


On July 30, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce added its name to the growing list of influential organizations declaring unqualified support of S. 659.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world`s largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations.  In a letter to the U.S. Senate, R. Bruce Josten, the Chamber`s Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, wrote: "The U.S. Chamber is greatly concerned about the growing trend of litigation being filed against entire legal industries with the goal of either raising government revenue or achieving policy goals outside the constraints of the political process.  The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act would help curtail this abusive situation." 

One of the oft repeated criticisms leveled by the gun-ban lobby is the false notion that S. 659 would remove all accountability and liability from the firearm industry.  Addressing this issue, Mr. Josten wrote: "The legislation is designed to limit speculative litigation against the firearms industry for legally selling their product. It is important to note that the legislation preserves the ability of injured parties to seek legal redress if they are injured by a defective product or as a result of certain enumerated illegal acts.  The legislation," he continued, "simply makes clear that, in most circumstances, a cause of action does not exist against the manufacturer or seller of qualified firearms or a trade association for the criminal or unlawful misuse of the product by the plaintiff or third party."


After Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor (R) was viciously attacked on the U.S. Senate floor for defending the Second Amendment, opponents of his nomination voted to filibuster this winner of  NRA-ILA`s highest award for protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  On July 31, the effort to end the filibuster against General Pryor, President Bush`s pick for a position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, fell seven votes short. Gun-ban stalwarts Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Diane Feinstein (D-Cal.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) each took to the Senate floor to bash General Pryor`s defense of the Second Amendment. In one particularly arrogant attack, Sen. Kennedy condemned General Pryor because he "vigorously opposed gun control laws." During Congress` August recess, please be sure to contact your Senators and attend their public meetings to tell them that you and your fellow pro-gun constituents believe Bill Pryor – just like any other nominee – deserves a simple and fair up-or-down vote. 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.


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. 

Tuesday, August 5th is primary election day in Mississippi!  Please be sure to head to the polls and cast your vote for pro-Second Amendment candidates in your area.  For information on NRA-PVF endorsements, NRA members can contact NRA-ILA`s Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683.  Please encourage your family, friends, and fellow gun owners to support pro-gun candidates as well!

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.


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.