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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 37 9/12/2003


On September 11, the Missouri Senate joined the House in voting to override Governor Bob Holden`s veto of HB 349, making the "Show Me State" the nation`s 36th state to pass a fair, non-discretionary Right to Carry (RTC) law.  The veto of HB 349 was overridden in the House by a vote of 115 to 39. The vote in the Senate was 23 to 10.  This marks only the seventh time in Missouri history that legislators have successfully overturned a governor`s veto.  Missouri joins Colorado, New Mexico, and Minnesota as the fourth state this year to pass a "shall issue" RTC law.
"The National Rifle Association would like to thank representatives and senators who voted for the override. They recognize the right of law-abiding Missourians to carry a firearm for protection," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "According to research, firearms are used more than 2 million times each year in self-defense, and studies have shown that states that have Right to Carry laws experience significantly less crime.  Governor Holden`s indifference on the issue of self-defense and the right of Missourians to protect themselves and their loved ones outside of the home was careless. The big winners today are the law-abiding citizens who will reap the benefit of this Right to Carry law," added Cox. "The streets of Missouri just became safer for everyone, except criminals." 
There was overwhelming bipartisan support in the Missouri legislature for a Right to Carry law. On behalf of law-abiding gun owners throughout Missouri, NRA would like to recognize the support and hard work of Rep. Larry Crawford (R-117), Rep. Frank Barnitz (D-150), Sen. Harold Caskey (D-31), and Sen. Peter Kinder (R-27).  As always, the grassroots effort and political activism by tens of thousands of NRA members across the state played a pivotal role in this process.
And Missourians can celebrate an additional victory this week as both the Senate and House voted overwhelmingly to override Gov. Holden`s veto of Reckless Lawsuit Preemption (SB 13).  
NRA-ILA congratulates you on these victories and thanks you for a job well done.


On September 8, the Supreme Court convened a rare special session to hear debate over the constitutionality of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), also known as McCain-Feingold.  Returning one month early from their summer recess for the first time in nearly 30 years, the high court broke protocol and heard four hours of oral arguments in this critically important First Amendment case.  Your NRA-ILA has led the fight since day one.
Of greatest concern to NRA is the law`s prohibition on running broadcast ads (termed "electioneering communications") that mention candidates for federal office during the critical 30-day period before a primary election and 60-day period before a general election.  This First Amendment "blackout" period is a direct attack on free speech. During oral arguments, the point was forcefully made that this law "intrudes deeply into the political life of the nation."  The law restricts local political parties, and in turn, national parties, and hurts grassroots political efforts.  In fact, NRA was cited by name during these oral arguments on dozens of occasions, and dominated the debate.
Though the court appeared largely divided over the case, Justice Antonin Scalia seemed quite skeptical of the measure, predicting that "There will be abuses under this law." 
A ruling is expected to come sometime this Fall.  Rest assured that NRA-ILA will keep you apprised of any relevant developments or decisions in future issues of the Grassroots Alert.


As we`ve repeatedly noted in the Grassroots Alert, one of NRA-ILA`s top legislative priorities in Congress continues to be the passage of a federal law to block reckless, predatory lawsuits against the firearm industry.  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 defeat 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.  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


In coming weeks, acclaimed scholar John R. Lott, Jr., will be speaking and promoting his new book "THE BIAS AGAINST GUNS:  Why Almost Everything You`ve Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong."  This hard-hitting, fact-based book is a must-read for gun owners.  Come listen to John Lott and have him autograph your copy of his book.  You can see Mr. Lott at the following locations and times:  Tuesday, September 16, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m., Seattle University Law School, contact: Alexander Thomason thomasa2@seattleu.edu;  Wednesday, September 17, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, contact: stevenp@uidaho.edu; Wednesday, September 17, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., Gonzaga University Law School, 721 N. Cincinnati St., Spokane, Washington, contact: Crago, Christopher at Ccrago@lawschool.gonzaga.edu; Thursday, September 18, 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., University of Montana law School, Missoula, Montana, contact: Cory Swanson at swanriver@usa.net; Monday, September 22, 12:00 noon to 1:15 p.m., Ohio State University Law School, Columbus, Ohio, contact: Albert J. Sauline III asauline@columbus.rr.com; Monday, September 22, TBD (evening), Ohio University, Athen, Ohio, contact: Curt Winzenreid   cw282101@ohio.edu.  


Please come out and support The Shooters Committee On Political Education (SCOPE) at its 38th Annual SCOPE Banquet on October 3.  The banquet will be held in Cheektowaga at the Four Points Sheraton, 2040 Walden Avenue.  There will be a cash bar at 6:00 p.m. and dinner will be at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $35.00 per person, $60.00 per couple, and $275.00 per table of ten.  This year`s banquet will be honoring State Senator George D. Maziarz (R/C), who is a strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights, and a loyal SCOPE member.  Also, the special speaker after dinner will be NRA Board Member Bob Barr, member of Congress - 1995 to 2003.  There will be door prizes, awards, silent and Chinese auctions, as well as a multi-gun raffle drawing.  For further banquet and raffle ticket information, please contact Mary Jo Picone at (716) 639-7651 or mjp52@adelphia.net.  For information regarding SCOPE, please visit www.scopeny.org.  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; 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 refreshments, 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. 

After passing a reciprocity law this year, the state continues to reach agreements with other states to extend reciprocal Right to Carry (RTC) agreements.  This week, New Hampshire and North Carolina officially acknowledged RTC permit reciprocity for the first time. Our thanks go out to officials whose actions ensured that law-abiding RTC permit holders from both states will be able to provide for their personal protection when traveling in either state. 

On September 10, the Wisconsin legislature held a lengthy but successful joint committee hearing on the 2003 Personal Protection Act.  Over 300 people registered in support of these bills.  While this was an outstanding show of support, it is critical that gun owners continue encouraging their lawmakers to support AB 444 and SB 214. The anti-gunners have mobilized against your right to self-defense, and law-abiding gun owners need to act quickly to counter the opposition.   You can find contact information for your legislators by using the "Write Your Representative" feature at www.NRAILA.org or by calling the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at  (800) 392-8683.


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.