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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 35 8/29/2003


The ground swell of support for passage of S. 659 - the Senate bill to block reckless, predatory lawsuits against the firearm industry - continues to gain momentum.  In an August 27 letter to Senators Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.), more than two dozen wildlife conservation and shooting sports organizations, representing literally millions of dedicated sportsmen, expressed their unqualified support for this crucial legislation.   

Specifically, the straightforward letter notes that, "S. 659 only protects legitimate businesses that comply with federal, state and local firearm laws.  It has no effect on true liability cases...that are not related to third-party criminal misuse of firearms."  The letter goes on to point out the potential for a serious loss of revenue to state fish and wildlife agencies if these types of suits are allowed to proceed.  Revenues from excise taxes imposed on firearms are used to fund these agencies and would certainly be jeopardized by predatory lawsuits.

Included among the thirty co-signers of the letter are:  BASS/ESPN Outdoors, Boone and Crockett Club, Izaak Walton League of America, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pope and Young Club, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and Safari Club International.

As we`ve frequently noted in recent Alerts, the passage of S. 659 is critically important. We hope to have a vote on this crucial legislation in the coming weeks, and 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.  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.


Well known for their virulent anti-gun sentiments, Senator Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) and Representative Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.) have introduced "consumer protection" bills that are nothing of the sort.  Known collectively as the "Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act," S. 1224 and H.R. 2403 are, in reality, a poor smokescreen for back-door gun prohibition.  The legislation is not intended to increase "safety" or protect consumers.  Instead it proposes to "expand the powers of the Attorney General to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and sale of firearms and ammunition." Translation:  To empower a president, through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to bypass Congress and unilaterally prohibit the manufacture of firearms. The radical Violence Policy Center, which advocates banning handguns and supports the bill, has said, "we believe that ultimately handguns would be phased out through such an agency."

This is yet another example of the crucial need for gun owners to make their voices heard to their lawmakers in Washington.  Please contact your U.S. Representative and your U.S. Senators and voice your strong opposition to this deceptive and highly restrictive legislation.  Also, please continue to urge them to oppose current legislation seeking to reauthorize and expand the 1994 Clinton gun ban - H.R. 2038, S. 1431, and S. 1034.  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.


This year`s Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) will be held September 26-28, at the Marriott Hotel at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas.  The conference is sponsored by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), in cooperation with NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers` Institute (SAAMI), and many state gun owners` organizations.  Speakers at this year`s conference will include:  NRA Executive Vice President Wayne R. LaPierre; SAF President Joseph Tartaro; CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb; NSSF Vice Presidents, Lt. Gen. James Chambers (USAF, ret.) and Gary Mehalik; National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association (NMLRA) Executive Vice President John Miller; Texas Land Commissioner, Jerry Patterson; U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.); Alaska State Rep. Eric Croft (D-Anchorage); acclaimed author and scholar, John R. Lott, Jr.; syndicated radio show host Tom Gresham; and others.    Registration, conference materials, receptions, and continental breakfasts are free.  Participants are required to pay for their own lodging, travel, and other meals.  Advance registration is required.  For more information, or to register for this year`s GRPC, call (425) 454-4911, fax to (425) 451-3959, or e-mail your registration to GRPC2003@saf.org.


After the legislative session this year, Governor Bob Holden (D) vetoed two bills—HB 349, Right to Carry, and SB 13, Reckless Lawsuit Preemption—despite the fact that both passed both the Senate and House by overwhelming majorities. HB 349 and SB 13 will next be considered in early September, when the Legislature will hold a special veto override session. It is critical that you contact your legislators in Jefferson City before early September, and tell them that law-abiding Missourians expect them to rectify the Governor`s action on these bills.  You can contact your Senator at (573) 751-3824 and your Representative at (573) 751-3659.

On Saturday, Aug. 30, make plans to attend Skip`s Gun & Sport Shop`s "Labor Day Weekend Bash" event in Bristol (837 Lake Street) as it celebrates over 40 years in business! Festivities include a kids` archery contest (with prizes for every shooter), the New Hampshire Fish & Game`s Interactive Booth, along with representatives from the Pemi Fish & Game Club, and free "5 Alarm" chili for those willing.  The local radio station, WLKZ Oldies 105, will be broadcasting live from 12:00-3:00 p.m., plus Skip`s will be offering big "in store" sales all weekend.   While there, be sure to meet your NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinator (EVC), Scott Newhall, who will be hosting an NRA-ILA Information Table.  Scott will be providing information on how you can become more politically active in your community.  Scott is an NRA member who, in his volunteer leadership capacity as EVC, works with and organizes volunteers to affect firearm-related legislation in New Hampshire and on Capitol Hill.  He also assists pro-gun candidates with phone banks, literature drops, voter registration drives, precinct walks, and other campaign activities.  Please be sure to stop by the ILA table to meet your EVC and learn how you can make a difference in the gun control debate.  For information/questions regarding this event, please contact EVC Scott Newhall at 603-536-1345 or via e-mail at: pnpadre@adelphia.net.

Drafted for consideration by the Edgewood Town Council is an ordinance that would prohibit the possession of any firearm on town property, and require anyone occupying or using town property to subject themselves to searches of their persons or private vehicles for firearms and other "prohibited contraband."  This ordinance clearly violates the New Mexico State Constitution`s Preemption Clause and rides roughshod over the U.S. Constitution`s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.  Although a formal hearing will not take place on this ordinance until September 17, the council has the opportunity at its Wednesday, September 3, meeting to strip these onerous provisions from the draft ordinance.  Please contact the following council members prior to the September 3 meeting by phone at (505) 286-4518, or by fax at (505) 286-4519, and urge them to reconsider this misguided proposal: Paul Hoffman, Charles Ring, Robert Stearley, and Donzil Worthington. Additional contact information is available at www.townofedgewood.com

This week, Gov. George Pataki (R) vetoed S.2735A.  This bill would have shut down 110 hunting preserves, 340 elk and deer farms, put many guides in the state out of business, and would have drastically reduced hunting opportunities in the state of New York.  Please contact Gov. Pataki and thank him for supporting the rights of New York sportsmen!  The Governor can be reached by phone at (518) 474-8390, by fax at (518) 474-3767, or by e-mail at gov.pataki@chamber.state.ny.us.  On September 12, the Public Safety Committee of the New York City Council will hear a host of measures aimed at further restricting the almost non-existent Second Amendment rights of NYC`s law-abiding gun owners. The measures include additional regulations on licensing for purchase and possession of firearms, requirements for long-gun owners to obtain liability insurance, prohibiting the sale of long-guns to anyone under age 21, and collecting additional information on ammunition purchases. There are also proposals aimed at holding gun-makers liable for the acts of criminals. Stay tuned for more details and contact your council member today to voice your opposition! You can find contact information for your council member by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org, or by calling the NRA-ILA`s Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683.  The Sportsmen`s Association for Firearms Education, Inc. (S.A.F.E.), will host the  2003 Right to Carry Conference and Second Amendment Rally on Sunday, October 5, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.  Doors will open at 12:00 noon.  The rally will be held at the Sheraton Long Island, 110 Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, Smithtown, N.Y. (on Motor Parkway on North side of LIE between exits 53 & 55).  Be sure to come out and get the latest updates on the Right to Carry, and hear guest speakers raise issues and give information you won`t hear anywhere else!  Valuable prizes will be offered in drawings limited to attendees only.  This is an excellent opportunity to meet and network with fellow sportsmen concerning our civil rights, and to raise issues of concern  with local and national leaders of Second Amendment organizations and local legislators.   In attendance will be: NRA Executive Vice President Wayne R. LaPierre; NRA President Kayne B. Robinson; NRA First Vice President Sandra Froman; the Honorable Bob Barr, former member, U.S. House of Representatives; Law Enforcement Alliance of America Executive Director Jim Fotis; and S.A.F.E. President, and NRA Board Member, John L. Cushman.   Admission and parking are free, and family and friends are welcome.  The S.A.F.E. and Women on Target are sponsoring a Women`s Only Clinic on Rifle Shooting on Long Island, to be held on Saturday, October 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon, or 12:30 to 4:00 p.m., at the Long Island Shooting Center Indoor Range, 130 Freeman Avenue, Islip, N.Y.  Experienced instructors will be on hand.  This clinic is free and open to all women, regardless of  experience.  You will learn safe gun handling skills, proper firearm storage techniques, and fundamentals of marksmanship. The program includes free coffee and Danish, a firearms safety class, all ammunition and targets, use of  .22 caliber rifles, and all safety equipment.  Due to space limitations, pre-registration is required by September 21.  For more information, please contact John L. Cushman at (631) 475-8125. 

Last week, we reported that South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster (R) had issued an opinion that South Carolina and North Carolina should recognize each state`s Right to Carry (RTC) permits.  This opinion came at the request of South Carolina State Rep. Bill Sandifer (R-2).  On Monday, August 25, South Carolina and North Carolina officially acknowledged RTC permit reciprocity between the two states for the first time.  Our thanks go out to AG Henry McMaster, Rep. Bill Sandifer, and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper (D).  All three played critical roles in ensuring law-abiding RTC permit holders from the Carolinas would be able to provide for their personal protection when traveling in either state. 

This week, the Oregon Legislature adjourned sine die without having passed any gun control legislation for the session. Special thanks go out to Rep. Dan Doyle (R-19), the House Rules Committee Chair, who never heard any anti-gun proposals, and to Sen. John Minnis (R-25), the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair who, in spite of intense pressure from anti-gun factions on his committee, refused to move legislation adversely affecting our Second Amendment rights. Our appreciation also goes out to House Speaker Karen Minnis (R-49), Reps. Wayne Kreiger (R-1) and Bob Jenson (R-58), and Senate Republican leader Roger Beyer (R-58), for their outstanding support all session.


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.