2004—THE YEAR IN REVIEW
Here are some of the top stories we brought you in the NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert in 2004. In the coming year, we must re-double our efforts to ensure our electoral successes this year translate into legislative victories in 2005, and we will continue to provide you with information in future Alerts that will ensure we succeed. As always, we strongly encourage you to receive the Grassroots Alert via e-mail, as opposed to fax, as this will save ILA money and allow you more flexibility in forwarding the Alert`s contents to other pro-Second Amendment activists. To receive our Alert via e-mail, simply go to www.NRAILA.org, click on the "Sign-up For E-mail" link, and follow the instructions. Please call (800) 392-8683 once you begin receiving the Alerts via e-mail, and let us know we can remove you.
JANUARY: Governor Bob Taft (R) signs legislation making Ohio the 38th Right-to-Carry state. The Right-to-Carry issue had long been debated in the Ohio Legislature, and many past attempts had been stalled or killed. The New Mexico State Supreme Court rules that its Right-to-Carry law is valid under the state constitution. The Court denied gun control advocates` petition to have the Act declared unconstitutional, and refused to issue a stay preventing the Department of Public Safety from implementing the law and issuing permits. The Wisconsin State Senate votes to override Governor Doyle`s veto of the 2003 Personal Protection Act.
FEBRUARY: Failing to join the State Senate, Wisconsin`s State Assembly fails to override the Governor`s veto of Right-to-Carry by one vote. NRA-ILA launches www.ClintonGunBan.com — an invaluable resource that leads to the eventual demise of the ban. The National Research Council (NRC) finds serious doubt with the FBI`s tests that match various metals in bullet fragments to other ammunition. In addition to numerous problems with the use of these test results in courtroom testimony, the NRC commission finds that the most that can be said about these matches is that they probably came from the same source of smelted lead.
MARCH: Legislation to end baseless and reckless lawsuits against the gun industry (S. 1805) is defeated in the U.S. Senate after a number of anti-gun amendments are attached to it. After being AWOL from their Senate duties while campaigning for President, John Kerry (D-Mass.), who received the Democratic nomination in March, and eventual running mate, John Edwards (D-N.C.), rush back to Washington to vote in favor of the anti-gun amendments in order to kill the bill. A trial court dismisses with prejudice the entire lawsuit filed against Sturm, Ruger & Company, and other members of the lawful U.S. firearm industry, by the city of Newark, New Jersey.
APRIL: A record setting 61,319 champions of the Second Amendment gathered for the 2004 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Pittsburgh, Pa., shattering the previous record set in Charlotte in 2000 by almost 10,000! The NRA-ILA Grassroots Division`s Grassroots Workshop at the Annual Meeting is attended by 255 of your fellow NRA members. The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) presents their prestigious "Pollie Awards" recognizing excellence in public affairs and honoring the best examples of political campaign advertising and expertise. Two of NRA-ILA`s websites win a total of five Pollie Awards. Taking first place for "National Grassroots Website" was www.ClintonGunBan.com. Receiving top honors in the National Organization Website group was www.NRAILA.org, NRA-ILA`s primary website.
MAY: The District of Columbia Court of Appeals unanimously upholds a trial court`s ruling dismissing the District`s "negligence" and "public nuisance" claims against the firearm industry. Governor Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) signs two important gun rights bills (SB 1156 and HB 155) into law. SB 1156 ended damaging government lawsuits provided firearm ranges make good faith efforts to exercise sound management principles in their disposal of lead ammunition. HB 155 stopped the illegal compiling of computerized lists of law-abiding firearms owners and the guns they own, otherwise known as registration. South Carolina repeals its "one-gun-a-month" law, which had limited the rights of law-abiding citizens by prohibiting multiple handgun purchases within a 30-day period.
JUNE: Anti-gun Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduces S. 2498, legislation that would reauthorize the Clinton gun ban. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) signs legislation (HB 5029) legalizing dove hunting for the first time in nearly 100 years, making Michigan the 41st state with an established dove hunting season.
JULY: Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) is selected as the Democratic vice presidential nominee, rounding out the anti-gun "dream ticket." In his book "My Life," Bill Clinton gives due credit to NRA`s election prowess. "On November 8 (Election Day 1994), we got the living daylights beat out of us, losing eight Senate races and fifty-four House seats, the largest defeat for our party since 1946....The NRA had a great night. The NRA was an unforgiving master: one strike and you`re out. The gun lobby claimed to have defeated nineteen of the twenty-four members on its hit list. They did at least that much damage...." (Pages 629-630). The Missouri Court of Appeals dismisses the City of St. Louis`s reckless lawsuit against the firearm industry. The opinion upholds a lower court`s ruling that the City of St. Louis`s claims are without merit. Illinois enacts the "Hunting Heritage Protection Act" into law, safeguarding the state`s public hunting land. The Act mandates that state public land management actions should result in no net loss of land available for hunting. It also instructs the Director of Natural Resources to submit an annual report citing the areas closed to hunting and the areas opened to compensate for the loss.
AUGUST: North Carolina`s Right-to-Carry permit holders are no longer required to complete an additional license application and background check before purchasing a handgun, thanks to HB 817 signed by Governor Mike Easley (D). HB 817 eliminated a duplicative requirement, making the process easier for permit holders and law enforcement and recognized that Right-to-Carry permit holders should not be inconvenienced for being among the most responsible and law-abiding citizens in North Carolina. NRA-ILA announces its volunteer award winners for 2003—Jay M. Littlefield Memorial NRA-ILA Volunteer of the Year winners: Larry Deptula (Mo.) and Jim Johnson (Penn.). NRA-ILA Volunteer Organization of the Year Award: Ohioans for Concealed Carry (Ohio).
SEPTEMBER: The misguided and offensive Clinton gun ban expires, rightly relegating it to the legislative ash heap! H.R. 3193, the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act," passes the U.S. House of Representatives on a bi-partisan vote of 250-171.
OCTOBER: NRA`s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) officially endorses President George W. Bush for re-election. A survey of hunters and anglers by the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen`s Foundation (CSF) indicates that some 80% of these sportsmen will vote in this year`s election! A telling forecast for next month`s elections.
NOVEMBER: Victory! President George W. Bush is re-elected as President, and NRA-PVF scores impressive election victories earning a 95% success rate of endorsed congressional candidates winning their races; electing 241 of 251 endorsed candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and 14 of the 18 endorsed U.S. Senate candidates (including the defeat of former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.); enjoying an 81% success rate for candidates and issues for which an NRA-ILA Grassroots Election Workshop was conducted; and winning two major battles over anti-hunting initiatives in Alaska and Maine. Additionally, the Illinois General Assembly overrides Governor Rod Blagojevich`s (D) veto of pro-gun legislation, and the State Supreme Court dismisses Chicago`s reckless lawsuit against gun manufacturers.
DECEMBER: NRA-ILA gears up for a busy year in 2005, outlining its legislative priorities to ensure our members and supporters inundate their lawmakers` offices in Washington, D.C. with calls, letters, e-mails, and faxes following the January 20, 2005 Presidential Inauguration.
Have a safe and happy New Year!!!