TAKING THE FEDERAL BATTLE TO THE STATES!
Countless times in the Grassroots Alert, you`ve heard us talking about some of our federal legislative priorities for 2005, including: ending reckless lawsuits against the firearm industry, repealing the D.C. gun ban, lifting restrictions on law-abiding gun owners, and more. And of course, while we work to advance our proactive legislative agenda, we must be eternally vigilant in working to defeat gun and ammo bans, bans on gun shows, and everything else the anti-gunners may throw at us.
Since our strength lies in our grassroots power--in you!--the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division will be hosting FREE Grassroots-Legislative Workshops in states around the country to train and empower our members and supporters to ensure their voices are heard in the legislative process. These Workshops will help ensure our electoral success last year are transformed into legislative victories this year!
At these Workshops, attendees will hear from NRA-ILA staff and NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinators (EVCs) on effective means to sustain, increase, and motivate our base to take action. All Workshops and related materials, including food and beverages, are free!
Here is the list of upcoming, scheduled Workshops:
Sat., March 12: Bangor, ME: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.; Bloomington, MN: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.; Bismarck, ND: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Tues., March 15: Jacksonville, FL: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Thurs., March 17: Oldsmar (Tampa), FL: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Sat., March 19: Hollywood Beach (Miami), FL: 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.; Morgantown, WV: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
To reserve your seat, or for more information, please call NRA-ILA at (800) 392-8683. (You may also register on-line at www.nraila.org/workshops/). If you are unable to attend for any reason, please forward this invitation to your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners in the area and encourage them to attend!
For those of you in areas where a Workshop isn`t currently scheduled, please be sure to continue to contact your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative and ask them to cosponsor and support the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" and put a halt to these reckless lawsuits once and for all.
To access the most up-to-date information on this issue, please go to the "Stop Reckless Lawsuits Against the Firearm Industry" heading at our website, www.NRAILA.org, and click the "Take Action" button. This function will allow you to easily send an e-mail or letter to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators. Please forward this link to your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners.
You can find additional 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.
CALIFORNIA APPEALS COURT DISMISSES
LAWSUIT AGAINST FIREARM MANUFACTURERS
The gun-prohibitionists in California continue to shoot blanks.
In a unanimous decision Thursday, a California Appellate Court upheld an earlier Superior Court decision dismissing a junk lawsuit filed by Los Angeles, San Francisco and 12 other California cities and counties. The municipalities had alleged that the manufacturers were designing, marketing, and distributing firearms in an "unfair, deceptive and fraudulent" manner that "facilitates the weapon to be used in violent crimes."
A San Diego County Superior Court judge dismissed the case in 2003 on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not establish a link between the manufacturers` business practices and criminals acquiring firearms. In that decision, Judge Vincent P. DiFiglia said, "There is no competent evidence before the Court that any criminal acquisition can be attributed to conduct by the [gun industry defendants]."
Affirming Judge DiFiglia`s decision, California Appellate Court Judge James Marchiano said, "The only business practice the defendants in this case have engaged in is marketing their products in a lawful manner to federally licensed dealers. No evidence in this case hints that any of the manufacturer defendants provided weapons to criminals or failed to properly record sales or did any of the other acts that plaintiffs characterize as high-risk business practices. They did not control the wrongful acts or encourage others to engage in questionable acts. Neither did they change their business practices to avoid proposed regulations or advise retailers on ways to circumvent the law. Even plaintiffs` experts could not present an evidentiary link between the manufacturer of a firearm and a retail gun dealer who sold guns that ended up in criminal circumstances."
The Appellate Court`s unanimous ruling represents yet another serious blow to the anti-gunners` efforts to litigate the gun industry out of business, but does not mitigate the need for passage of a federal law to end these suits.
MICHIGAN DOVE HUNTING STILL UNDER ATTACK!
In a recent e-mail alert, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) restated its goal of gathering enough voters` signatures to put the future of Michigan`s dove hunt on the 2006 ballot.
In previous anti-hunting campaigns, HSUS has used paid signature gatherers to qualify issues for the ballot, and it appears that they are using the same tactic in Michigan. This sheds the light of truth on their claim that the anti-dove campaign is a grassroots effort.
NRA and other sportsmens` groups worked with key lawmakers in 2004 to pass legislation that made Michigan the 41st dove hunting state. Sportsmen are now being called to action to save the hunt.
The recent merger of HSUS and The Fund for Animals should be of serious concern to Michigan`s hunters. The new group has a war chest in excess of $95 million to spend advancing their anti-hunting agenda--and dove hunting in Michigan is one of the first targets.
Sportsmen should start now to protect dove hunting. Talk to your fellow hunters and shooters and make sure they know what HSUS is up to, and please spread the word that this isn`t just about dove hunting--it is about all hunting. Talk to your friends and neighbors and help them to understand the real agenda of these anti-hunting groups.
A LOOK AT THE STATES
On February 14 at 1:30 p.m., in Senate Hearing Room 1, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider SB 1363. This legislation will make Arizona one of more than 30 states that allow law-abiding citizens to carry firearms for self-defense in restaurants and other establishments that are licensed to serve alcohol. It is time that Arizonans are allowed to provide protection of themselves and their families while dining out. Please show your support for SB 1363 by attending the hearing and/or contacting your state Senator and respectfully urging him to support the bill. HB 2409 passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 6-3. The bill requires the Arizona Department of Public Safety to enter into concealed weapons permit reciprocity agreements with a number of additional states. This will allow Arizona`s permit holders to carry in many more states while traveling. Please contact your state Representative and ask him/her to support HB 2409 on the full House floor. You can find contact information for your legislator by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org.
On February 15, members of the Public Safety Committee will hear SB 714, which seeks to ban .50 caliber firearms. The omnibus anti-gun bill submitted by Governor Jodi Rell`s (R) State Police has not yet been scheduled for public hearing. In addition to banning private sales of long guns, the State Police bill would apply the same requirements to the transfer of rifles and shotguns as those mandated for their retail purchase. Because this bill will bar the transfer of long guns to anyone under the age of 18 except at a legal shooting range, it would effectively outlaw youth hunting. Additionally, this proposal would create universal firearms registration. Also keep an eye out for two bills introduced in the Judiciary Committee. They are HB 6657, which would require the registration of long guns, and SB 1029, which would require a local permit for the retail sale of firearms. These bills are expected to be approved by the Judiciary Committee and then head to the Public Safety Committee for consideration. Please contact members of the Public Safety Committee today and urge them to oppose ALL of the bills cited above and ANY gun-related bills that come to their committee. For a list of committee members and their phone numbers, please contact NRA ILA`s Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683. We also encourage members to contact Governor Rell at (860) 566-4840 and voice your opposition to the State Police omnibus anti-gun bill!
HB 311, sponsored by Representative Calvin Say (D-20), would raise the age for legal transfers of rifles and shotguns from the current 18 years of age to 21 years of age. This bill has been deferred in the House Judiciary Committee but may be rescheduled at any time. Please call your Representatives and ask for a "NO" vote on HB 311. Two other bills in Hawaii, SB 1207 and SB 1520, seek to restrict the sale of ammunition without proof of registration for the firearm. SB 1520 also mandates the purchaser show photo identification with the proof of registration. Although neither bill has been set in committee, it is vital that NRA members call their Senators and voice their opposition to these bills. You can find contact information for your Representative by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org.
Please make plans to join NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and NRA President Kayne Robinson on Friday, February 25, for the Iowa Sportsmen`s Federation Annual Banquet. The event will be held at Val-Air Ballroom, located at 301 Ashworth Road, in West Des Moines. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person or two tickets for $30. Please RSVP to (515) 554-5210.
As early as next week, two anti-gun bills could be heard in the Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee. Sponsored by Representative Margaret Craven (D-Lewiston), LD 310 would mandate a 10-day waiting period for law-abiding citizens who purchase firearms in Maine. Sponsored by Senator Margaret Rotundo (D-16), LD 344 would amend the current preemption statute by allowing local governments to regulate the possession of firearms on public property. If LD 344 becomes law, this could create a "patchwork quilt" of firearm regulations throughout the state, making compliance impossible for law-abiding citizens. Please contact committee members and urge them to oppose LD 310 and LD 344. For a list of committee members and their phone numbers please contact NRA-ILA`s Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683.
HB 378, sponsored by Representative Jonathon Windy Boy (D-32), would divert 7% of federal wildlife funds currently used to aid Montana wildlife programs to tribal wildlife programs. This measure is without built-in auditing procedures and will only benefit private preserves that are NOT open to public hunting. Please call the members of the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee and respectfully urge them to oppose this legislation. For a list of committee members and their phone numbers, please call NRA-ILA`s Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683.
Please join NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinator Tracy Schmitt (NY-29) at the Scio Rod and Gun Club for a FREE public viewing of "The Great U.N. Gun Debate between Wayne LaPierre and international gun ban activist Rebecca Peters. The debate was originally only available to pay-per-view subscribers, but this is your opportunity to watch Rebecca Peters tell Wayne that the United States should ignore the Constitution and instead abide by the wishes of the United Nations. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and the viewing of the debate will begin at 7:00 p.m. The debate is approximately 90 minutes long, and a discussion will follow its conclusion. Snacks and beverages will be provided. To pre-register for this FREE screening, please call Tracy Schmitt at (585) 593-7564. The Scio Rod and Gun Club is located on Vandermark Road, Scio, NY, 14880.
HB 1205, a bill that will streamline the process for law-abiding citizens to acquire a concealed handgun license will be heard in Senate Judiciary Committee on February 15. Please call your Senator and respectfully urge him/her to support the bill. You can find contact information for your Senator by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org.
All three NRA-supported bills passed the House unanimously this week and will be going to Senate Judiciary and State Affairs committees as early as next week. HB 1189 corrects existing language that could effectively ban gun shows and private sales by imposing waiting periods on ALL handgun sales. HB 1190 provides for full-recognition of all Right-to-Carry permits, helping open the door to a nationwide system of permit recognition. HB 1209 protects the privacy of gun owners by eliminating back-door registration of guns and gun owners while allowing law enforcement to verify a Right-to-Carry permit even if the permit-holder has lost or forgotten the permit. Please call your Senator and respectfully urge him/her to support HB 1189, 1190 and 1209. You can find contact information for your Senator by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org.
As early as next week, the Virginia Senate may consider HB 2282, introduced by Second Amendment stalwart Delegate Bill Janis (R-56). If passed, HB 2282 will establish a statewide shooting range noise measurement standard. This legislation was carefully crafted to balance the growing need for adequate shooting facilities with the concerns of Virginia`s communities. Senate approval of this legislation will ensure that Virginia`s sport shooting community will continue to have venues in which to practice firearms safety and enhance proficiency. The Virginia House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved HB 2282 by a vote of 85-13. Please take the time to contact your Senator, and strongly encourage him or her to protect Virginia`s sport shooting heritage by supporting HB 2282. You can find contact information for your Senator by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org. Please be sure to share this important legislative alert with your family, friends and fellow sportsmen. In addition, with Virginia being one of only two states holding gubernatorial races this year, all eyes will be on the Commonwealth as a harbinger of things to come in next year`s congressional elections. In order to ensure they have the support of Northern Virginia gun owners, two very pro-gun candidates will have booths at "The Nation`s Gun Show" at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly on February 11-13. Pro-gun Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (R), who is running for Governor this year, will have a table at the show. Please stop by to sign Jerry Kilgore`s petition, to pick up extra copies of the petition to circulate, and to pick up bumper stickers and learn more about how you can help with his campaign in Northern Virginia. For more information on the Kilgore campaign, please contact the Kilgore Northern Virginia office at (703) 277-9635. Or e-mail Hunter Kurtz at Hunter@JerryKilgore.com or Nick Meads at Nick@JerryKilgore.com. Pro-Second Amendment champion Delegate Dick Black`s (R-32) campaign will also be attending the show to recruit the well-deserved support of gun owners in his district. And, finally, NRA will also have a booth at the show, so stop by your NRA booth as well!
HB 1822, a back door attempt to end hunting in Washington by banning lead shot, has been set for a hearing on February 15, at 1:30 p.m., in Hearing Room "D" in the John L. O`Brien Building. If lead shot is banned, it is only a matter of time before anti-hunting groups begin pushing for a complete ban on all lead ammunition. Please make plans to attend the hearing and voice your opposition to HB 1822 and all anti-gun and anti-hunting bills. If you are unable to attend the hearing next Tuesday, please contact the committee members and respectfully urge them to oppose this bill. For a list of committee members and their phone numbers, please call NRA ILA`s Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683.
HB 271, sponsored by Representative Becket Hinckley (R-41), would appropriate $30,000 from the General Fund for an interim statewide study on the need for shooting range improvements and new developments in Wyoming. The bill is now in the Senate and will be heard next week in the Senate Travel, Recreation and Wildlife Committee. Please call your Senator now and respectfully urge him/her to support HB 271. You can find contact information for your Senator by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org.