PREPARING TODAY TO PROTECT FREEDOM TOMORROW
With the dog days of summer upon us, thoughts tend to turn to family, vacation, swimming pools, and barbeques. Yet, while they may seem like a long way off, the 2004 elections are only slightly more than a year away. In recent election cycles, gun owners have enjoyed tremendous successes. But none of our victories have happened by accident. It takes careful long-term advance planning to ensure victory for the Second Amendment on Election Day. In order for us to meet the inevitable challenges we will face next year, our preparation must begin now.
As in every election year, two things will win next year`s elections for gun owners—votes and shoe leather. And no pro-Second Amendment candidate can do without both. Be assured the anti-gun crowd is hoping you don`t turn out in support of our candidates.
If you are not currently registered to vote, or if you have recently moved, please make sure you register to vote at once. And please ensure every one of your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners are registered voters as well. For information on voter registration requirements, deadlines, and applications for your state, contact the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-VOTE (8683) or visit the "Voter Information" section at www.NRAILA.org.
The second part of our formula for electoral success is actively volunteering your time to the campaigns of candidates who support our rights. This is where your NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinator (EVC) becomes integral to our efforts. Your EVC is an NRA member—just like you—who spearheads our volunteer campaign activities in your congressional district.
For nearly a decade, EVCs have been acting as the liaison between NRA members and gun owners in your district and various pro-freedom campaigns. The main role of an EVC is to provide these campaigns with dedicated, educated volunteers to assist with phone banks, literature drops, precinct walks, voter registration drives, Election Day activities, and other volunteer campaign activities. Your EVC is also the link in your area to assist with NRA-ILA`s legislative agendas at the federal, state,
and local levels.
Even if you can spare only a few hours here and there, your EVC needs to hear from you. To identify and contact your EVC, please visit www.NRAILA.org or call ILA Grassroots at (800) 392-VOTE (8683). While most congressional districts are currently covered by an EVC, there are still a few vacancies we are trying to fill. If you are interested in serving as your district`s EVC, or simply want to learn more about the program, please call ILA Grassroots and ask to speak to your state`s Grassroots Coordinator.
Remember, for us to succeed next year, our campaign battle plan needs to be in place this year. The future of our Second Amendment rights are at stake.
PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE. CONTACT YOUR EVC TODAY!
USDA LIFTS IMPORTATION BAN ON
CANADIAN GAME MEAT
On August 8, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ann M. Veneman announced that the USDA will immediately allow the importation of hunter-harvested wild ruminant meat from Canada. Ruminants are hoofed, cud-chewing mammals—such as domestic cattle—and include wild game animals such as deer, elk, moose, caribou, sheep, and mountain goats.
The USDA originally banned the importation of Canadian ruminant products on May 20, when a single case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), better known as "mad cow disease," was diagnosed in a cow in Alberta, B.C. The move was poorly received by sportsmen, who viewed the ban as an overreaction. To date, no conclusive, scientific evidence exists to support the claim that BSE is readily transmissible from domestic ruminants to their wild relatives. In July, the USDA relaxed the ban somewhat, allowing sportsmen to bring up to two sets of harvested and cleaned antlers, skull, plate, hide, and cape back with them, but still prohibited the importation of any meat. This created both an ethical and economic predicament for hunters, the majorityof whom believe they have the responsibility and privilege to use as much of their harvested animal as possible.
The lifting of the ban is certainly welcome news for sportsmen planning Canadian hunting trips in the near future. Hunters can immediately begin importing most wild ruminant products intended for personal use, but will be required to submit a "Veterinary Services Special Permit for the Importation of Hunter-Harvested Wild Ruminant Meat" along with one of the following: a valid Canadian export certificate for game meat or a copy of a valid Canadian hunting license or hunting tag. The special permit can be downloaded from the web site of the USDA`s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/issues/bse/bse.html, or can be obtained by calling the APHIS National Center for Import and Export at (301) 734-3277.
CONTINUED ACTION NEEDED ON
TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY
[Editor`s Note: Readers of the Grassroots Alert know that we often repeat information that is of particular importance. The necessity of this is twofold: 1) Each week, we add many new Alert recipients who are seeing these stories for the first time; and 2) We repeat stories to reinforce your need to take the requested actions and to share this information with your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners. We apologize for our repetitiveness, but assure you it is both necessary and beneficial. Thank you for your continued support.]
As you`ve read numerous times in the Grassroots Alert, one of NRA-ILA`s top legislative priorities in Congress is the passage of a federal law to block reckless, predatory lawsuits against the firearm industry. The passage of S. 659—the Senate bill to end reckless lawsuits—is critically important. 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 its passage. It is imperative that you continue to contact your U.S. Senators in support of S. 659 and urge them to do everything in their power to end these meritless lawsuits and ensure that this essential legislation is approved. Let your Senators know that it is crucial they cosponsor and support S. 659. Also, please 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.
Also, 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, 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 (including their district office contact information) 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.
Finally, please contact your lawmakers` district offices and ask if they plan to hold town hall meetings during the congressional Summer District Work Period break. These meetings offer a tremendous opportunity for you to personally voice your strong support for Second Amendment issues. 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. 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.
A LOOK AT THE STATES
Michigan State Representative Sue Tabor (R) has introduced HB 5029, a bill that would allow the establishment of a dove season. House Bill 5029 allows the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to establish a dove season in the state of Michigan. It is critical that Michigan hunters and NRA members call their legislators and respectfully urge them to vote "yes" on HB 5029. Let your elected officials know that Michigan citizens deserve the opportunity to hunt doves, as hunters in 39 other states do. Be sure to tell them that state wildlife biologists, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, support dove hunting. You can find contact information for your Representatives by using the "Write Your Representatives" feature found at www.NRAILA.org.
On Thursday, August 14, North Carolina`s Right to Carry reciprocity law officially went into effect. This law gives valid carry permit holders from states that have similar permit issuing requirements as North Carolina the ability to carry their firearms for personal protection in North Carolina, and has led several states to recognize North Carolina permits. The North Carolina Department of Justice (NCDOJ), headed by Attorney General Roy Cooper (D), has identified the following states as those which have an official reciprocity agreement with North Carolina: Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia. The NCDOJ will continue to develop and maintain the list of states that meet the standards for establishing reciprocal agreements. Those on the Internet can look for updates on reciprocity, as well as regulations regarding the carrying and transportation of firearms, by going to http://www.jus.state.nc.us/cle/Concealedhandgun.htm. Congratulations to all NRA members in North Carolina who worked so hard to ensure passage of this important NRA-backed reform! Our thanks go out to all lawmakers who voted for SB 33, but be sure to thank those who worked hard to ensure this legislation became law. Those who deserve special thanks are: Sen. Scott Thomas (D-2), the primary sponsor of SB 33; Reps. Mark Hilton (R-88), Michael Gorman (R-3), Pryor Gibson (D-69), and Michael Decker (D-94), who sponsored identical legislation in the House; Reps. James Black (D-100) and Richard Morgan (R-52), the Democrat and Republican Speakers of the House; Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight (D-1); Governor Michael Easley (D); and Attorney General Roy Cooper.