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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 10, No. 38 9/18/2003


On Saturday, September 13, three of NRA-ILA`s Election Volunteer Coordinators (EVC) were recognized for their activities in 2002 and received NRA-ILA`s highest volunteer awards. Each of these worthy recipients received their award from NRA President Kayne Robinson and NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox.

2002 NRA-ILA Jay M. Littlefield
Volunteer of the Year:
Denny Watkins & Dave Conway

Denny Watkins of Middletown, Ohio, is a tireless defender of our Second Amendment freedoms on all fronts. Not only is Denny a Life Member of both the NRA and the NRA-affiliated Ohio State Rifle & Pistol Association, he is also an active member of many local pro-gun organizations, including the Miami Valley Friends of NRA Committee (where he has served as Chairman & Co-Chairman), Middletown Sportsmen`s Club, Inc., Fort St. Clair Gun Club, Inc., AK Trap Club (where he has served as President), Butler County Sportsmen Rifle & Pistol Club, and Mercer County Sportsmen`s Alliance, to name a few. Within these organizations, Denny is an educator, activist, volunteer, leader, and role model for all gun owners and shooters.

In 2001, Denny volunteered to become the EVC for Ohio`s 8th congressional district. During the critical 2002 election cycle, Denny was involved in many grassroots activities, including attending town-hall meetings, writing numerous letters-to-the-editor to local and national newspapers, distributing yard signs, working on Get Out The Vote efforts for pro-gun candidates, assisting with campaign events and rallies, manning pro-gun tables and booths at county fairs and various other events, and meeting with lawmakers and candidates on a regular basis. Thanks to his hard campaign work, major pro-gun victories last year included Jim Petro`s election as the Ohio Attorney General, the re-election of U.S. Representative John Boehner, and the re-election of State Representative Shawn Webster, who has said that Denny is an "ardent supporter" whom he consults with regularly on Second Amendment-related issues.

Denny Watkins was nominated by numerous citizens across Ohio who support the Second Amendment. They include an officer of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, a pro-gun Ohio State Representative, a public school principal, and numerous gun club officials.

Having to cover 77,116 square miles is a monumental task for one volunteer to organize NRA members and gun owners in South Dakota. The vast distances of wide open prairie alone are intimidating. Yet, one member has stepped forward to take on the task - South Dakota Election Volunteer Coordinator, David Conway. Originally a native of Boston, Dave left the Bay State in search of open space and a state government that trusts its law-abiding citizens.

Dave started with the NRA state affiliate, the South Dakota Shooting Sports Association, and quickly rose to become its Legislative Affairs Director. "Just being a member of a pro-gun organization isn`t enough anymore." Conway says. "You have to give something back." Few give more than Dave has. He has worked with ILA lobbyists through the years to improve on South Dakota`s existing gun laws. His ability to foster close relationships with public officials has garnered countless positive changes for South Dakotans. David has often noted that he took on this role for his daughter`s future. He is one of those very determined individuals who pulls more than his fair share when it comes to defending our common firearm freedoms.

2002 NRA-ILA
Volunteer Organization of the Year:
Firearms Coalition of Colorado

Formed 14 years ago to fight the City of Denver`s attempts to ban numerous semi-auto firearms, the Firearms Coalition of Colorado (FCC) exemplifies just what it means to be a "volunteer organization." During the last 14 years, working side-by-side with NRA-ILA, FCC has steadfastly continued its efforts to thwart countless attacks by anti-gun politicians at the local and state levels. These are the ladies and gentlemen that you commonly find working at 3:00 a.m. if that is what it takes to get the job done.

True to form, during Colorado`s pivotal 2002 legislative session, members of FCC once again stepped forward to offer their resources and expertise. FCC members provided critical, expert testimony and extensive grassroots support in advancing Right to Carry legislation, statewide preemption, and numerous other pro-gun initiatives.

Thanks largely to FCC`s dedication and perseverance, all law-abiding Coloradans have the opportunity to defend themselves and their families outside of their homes. Additionally, in passing statewide preemption, the city of Denver can no longer circumvent state law to enact its own draconian firearms regulations.

On the election front, the FCC proved just as determined and successful. Utilizing an efficient and vast network, the FCC worked to elect pro-gun candidates, and played an integral role in the defeat of key gun-banning politicians throughout the state.

Colorado`s law-abiding firearm owners owe a great debt to the FCC, and NRA-ILA is proud to have them as an affiliated organization as we work together to achieve our common goals. Steve Schreiner and Len Horner were on hand to receive the award.

It was with great honor that the NRA-ILA bestowed the 2002 NRA-ILA Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year to Denny Watkins & Dave Conway, true defenders of our firearm freedoms. Equally deserving in their receipt of the 2002 NRA-ILA Volunteer Organization of the Year was the Firearms Coalition of Colorado. Each received a framed copy of the Bill or Rights that included a letter signed by NRA President Kayne Robinson, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, and NRA-ILA`s Executive Director Chris Cox. On behalf of the entire NRA-ILA staff and the nation`s 65 million law-abiding gun owners, we extend our deepest thanks and sincere gratitude for the work of the 2002 award winners!


As we continue to note 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 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. In addition, please continue to urge your U.S. Representative and your Senators, 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.



Be sure to make plans to attend the Colorado Civil Justice League`s (CCJL) 2003 Summit on Lawsuit Abuse, to be held Friday, October 10, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in Denver. The summit will be held at Wyndham Hotel DTC, located at 7675 East Union Avenue in Denver. Among numerous other topics, the forum will examine the issues of "legislating from the bench" and lawsuit protection for firearm manufacturers. For more information, please call CCJL at (303) 607-0486.


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 served at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35.00 per person, $60.00 per couple, and $275.00 per table of 10. 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 and former member of Congress Bob Barr. 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, and 12:30 to 4:00 p.m., at the Long Island Shooting Center Indoor Range, 130 Freeman Avenue, in Islip. Experienced instructors will be on hand. Each 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.


On Monday, September 22, 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. Dr. Lott will be speaking from 12:00 noon to 1:15 p.m., at the Ohio State University Law School, Columbus, Ohio (contact: Albert J. Sauline III asauline@columbus.rr.com); and Monday evening (time TBD) at the Ohio University, Athens, Ohio (contact: Curt Winzenreid cw282101@ohio.edu).


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.