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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 12, No. 11 3/18/2005

CONTINUE SUPPORT FOR S. 397 AND H.R. 800

As we`ve recently reported in the Grassroots Alert, "The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" was introduced in Congress as S. 397 in the U.S. Senate, and H.R. 800 in the U.S. House.  This NRA-backed lawsuit preemption legislation protects law-abiding firearm manufacturers from reckless, predatory lawsuits.

In 2003, the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" passed the U.S. House of Representatives on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 285-140, enjoyed more than 54 Senate cosponsors, and had the full support of President Bush.  Sadly, the legislation was torpedoed in the Senate in 2004 by anti-gun zealots, including former Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who helped his fellow anti-gun Senators attach a number of anti-gun amendments to the underlying measure.

It is imperative that you contact your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative and ask them to cosponsor and support S.397 and H.R. 800--without any anti-gun amendments--and put a halt to these reckless lawsuits once and for all.  And be sure to let them know that you consider any votes in support of anti-gun amendments to this legislation as a vote against the underlying bill itself.

To access the most up-to-date information on this issue, please go to the "Stop Reckless Lawsuits Against the Firearm Industry" heading at, 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. 

HOUSE VERSION OF D.C.`s PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT INTRODUCED

On March 14, Representative Mark Souder (R-Ind.) introduced H.R. 1288--the House version of the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act."

With bipartisan support, H.R. 1288 currently has 21 cosponsors.  This legislation seeks to restore the constitutionally-guaranteed Second Amendment rights of the residents of the District of Columbia.

The need for this legislation is obvious.  While effectively banning handgun ownership for over a quarter-century, Washington, D.C., consistently has one of the highest homicide rates in the nation.  "D.C.`s politicians have stripped law-abiding residents of their ability to defend themselves and their families," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.  "Passage of the ‘District of Columbia Personal Protection Act` will remedy this senseless and dangerous injustice."

Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to cosponsor and support the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act."

ACT NOW TO STOP PROPOSED SAN FRANCISCO GUN BAN

San Francisco is attempting to place a ballot measure before its voters this November banning handguns.  The measure would strip any citizen of his or her right to own a handgun for any reason.  Only law enforcement officers, members of the military, and security guards would be allowed to possess them.  The measure would also completely ban the sale, manufacture, and distribution of all handguns and ammunition in San Francisco, as well as the transfer of shotguns and rifles.  If passed in November, city residents would be forced to surrender their firearms within 90 days.

Over the past few decades, California has served as a laboratory for gun control experiments.  And very often, sadly, what happens out west tends to drift eastward to other pockets of the United Sates.  So not only would passage of the handgun ban have dire consequences for San Franciscans, but it would also no doubt serve as a harbinger for similar bans for other Americans outside of San Francisco who live under the fist of anti-gun city officials. 

We will keep you posted on relevant developments on this issue in these pages and elsewhere.  In the meantime, however, NRA members and supporters in San Francisco need to ensure their voter registration is current, and actively work to register other opponents to the handgun ban as well.  For information on voter registration, please visit www.NRAILA.org and visit the "Register to Vote" section.  Finally, for those of you who reside outside of San Francisco, but who know pro-gun supporters living within the city, you need to ensure they are aware of this onerous proposal and are currently registered to vote.

TAKING THE FEDERAL BATTLE TO THE STATES!

To marshall grassroots support for NRA-ILA`s legislative agenda, specifically passage of S. 397 and H.R. 800, the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division will be hosting it`s final two FREE Grassroots-Legislative Workshops this weekend.

The final two scheduled Workshops will be held tomorrow, Saturday, March 19, in Hollywood Beach (Miami), FL, from 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.; and Morgantown, WV, from  9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

All Workshops and related materials, including food and beverages, are free!

NRA`s 2005 ANNUAL MEETINGS AND EXHIBITS

This year`s Annual Meetings and Exhibits will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, from April 15-17, 2005.

In conjunction with our showcase event, the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division will host a FREE Grassroots Workshop.  This Workshop has been a regular part of NRA`s Annual Meetings for more than a decade.

With our victories in the 2004 elections, we must now work to ensure that our electoral successes last year are transformed into legislative victories this year.  Among our pro-freedom legislative priorities are:  ending reckless lawsuits against the gun industry, repealing the D.C. gun ban, lifting restrictions on law-abiding gun owners, and much more.  And of course, we must remain eternally vigilant in beating back assaults on our freedom, as the anti-gunners are still pushing legislation to ban guns and ammunition, to shut down gun shows, and to further whittle away our Second Amendment rights.  Your attendance at this year`s NRA-ILA Grassroots Workshop in Houston is an important step toward ensuring the future of our gun rights.

At this FREE Workshop, NRA-ILA staff and NRA Officers will discuss how you can take on an even more active role in your community in our mutual fight to advance and protect our cherished freedoms, and we will provide you with the materials and strategies you will need to educate and empower your fellow gun owners as well.

Workshop details are:
Friday, April 15, 2005, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 Noon
(Registration and free continental breakfast from 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. in Grand Ballroom Pre-function)
Hilton Americas--Houston Grand Ballrooms D & G
1600 Lamar St., Houston, TX 77010
(713) 651-3900

Please encourage your family, friends and fellow firearm owners to attend as well.

To register for the Workshop, call the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683, or on-line at:  www.nraila.org/workshops/.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED IN HOUSTON!

Once again the NRA is seeking volunteers to help at the 2005 NRA Annual Meetings in Houston.  To a large degree, the success of each year`s Annual Meetings is dependent on the support of our volunteers.  And you can be a part of that successful effort this year!

A number of volunteers are needed to help with set-up on Wednesday and Thursday, April 13- 14, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  During the actual exhibit and meetings Friday through Saturday, volunteers are needed to work in the NRA Store, at our Membership Services area, at the Airgun Range, as well as a number of other venues.

To volunteer or for more information, please visit any of NRA`s web sites or the Annual Meetings site (www.nraam.org), or, contact NRA Field Representative Gayle Carter-Cook at (361) 972-2166, or Dennis Eggers, Central Region Director, at 270-522-0909.  Their respective e-mail addresses are Gcook@nrahq.org,  and Deggers@nrahq.org,

A LOOK AT THE STATES

(****For all of the action items below, you can find contact information for your legislators by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org****)

ARIZONA
Two bills are scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 21.  HB 2325 reduces the training requirement for a carry permit from 16 hours to eight hours.  It also makes other much-needed reforms to the law.  HB 2409 requires the state to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states that require them in order to recognize Arizona permits.  Please call your state senator and ask him or her to support HB 2325 and HB 2409. SB 1363 will make Arizona one of over 30 states that allow carry permit holders to carry self-defense firearms in restaurants and other establishments that serve alcohol.  In addition to providing a means of self-defense, SB 1363 will help to prevent the theft of firearms that must currently be stored in vehicles outside of these establishments.  This bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on March 24.  Please contact your state representative and ask him or her to support SB 1363. 

ARKANSAS
The Senate and House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committees are currently considering SJR 1, a proposed constitutional amendment that would recognize and protect the right to hunt, trap, and fish in Arkansas. Introduced by Senator Steve Faris (D-27), SJR 1 is needed to ensure our hunting heritage is protected for future generations of Arkansans.  Please contact members of the Senate and House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee and urge them to support SJR 1, and thank those who are already cosponsors. You can find information on committee members at www.arkleg.state.ar.us. Unfortunately, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) has taken a position of opposition to SJR 1 specifically because it protects hunting, trapping, and fishing as rights.  Please contact the AGFC and urge the commissioners to support the rights of hunters by supporting SJR 1. The AGFC can be reached at (800) 364-4263 or (501) 223-6300. 

CONNECTICUT
This week, members of the Public Safety Committee did not vote on and effectively killed SB 714, which sought to ban .50 caliber rifles, but approved SB 1133, the "State Police Omnibus Anti-gun Bill."  The bill was sent to the Judiciary Committee with substitute language.  Although many of its original provisions, including a ban on private sales and transfers, and a ban on youth hunting and registration, have been stripped out, the substitute bill contains one provision that could make it the most dangerous bill gun owners and sportsmen have ever faced!  SB 1133 would make it a felony for anyone who has been denied a pistol permit or Certificate of Eligibility (COE) (one of which is necessary in Connecticut to purchase a handgun), to possess ANY firearm.  The bill would require that those individuals who are denied a permit or COE be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as a "person prohibited" from purchasing and possessing firearms.  Since "suitability" is a factor considered by the issuing authority in Connecticut, this means that a local police chief could arbitrarily deny an individual a pistol permit or COE without justification, causing the applicant to lose his or her gun rights forever!  Making SB 1133 even more dangerous is the fact that it now has the potential to be amended in the Judiciary Committee and used as a vehicle for the failed .50 caliber ban or any other anti-gun schemes the gun grabbers want to throw in.  Thus far, Governor Jodi Rell (R) has ignored your calls of opposition to SB 1133, and has shown no interest in protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen. Since the State Police is an agency of the Rell Administration, the Governor has the ability and obligation to stop the abuse of power that SB 1133 represents.  Please call Governor Rell at (860) 566-4840 and your state lawmakers TODAY to voice your strong opposition to SB 1133. 

GEORGIA
On March 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Roswell Town Hall, the Roswell City Council will hold a hearing on a proposed ordinance change that would limit the ability of residents to defend themselves and protect their property.  The proposed change to the "Discharge of Weapons" section of the Roswell Code of Ordinances would not only disallow citizens from using a firearm in defense of personal property, but it would also prohibit Roswell residents from using a gun to defend themselves and their families against dangerous animals such as bears and varmints.  Additional language in this egregious amendment would even outlaw the use of all air guns.  It is vital that NRA members call City Council immediately to express staunch opposition to this anti-gun amendment.  Council members can be reached at (770) 641-3757, or to e-mail individual City Council members, go to www.ci.roswell.ga.us/Contacts.asp.  Please also encourage your friends, family members, and fellow gun-owners to attend the City Council meeting to voice their opposition! 

ILLINOIS
This week has seen a flurry of firearm-related activity in Springfield, including anti-gun politicians turning on each other.  On Monday, anti-gun Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) blamed the lobbyists for the City of Chicago for not keeping his staff informed of the status of anti-gun legislation until it is too late.  Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (D), who has been aggressively promoting a wide-ranging anti-gun agenda, defended his lobbyists and rejected the claims of Blagojevich, as did the media.  The apparent frustration anti-gun lawmakers are exhibiting likely stems from their inability to steamroll their attacks on the Second Amendment through the legislature, compounded by the success NRA and the pro-gun community has had advancing legislation that will protect our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  In the House, pro-gun bills awaiting a vote by the full chamber are:  HB 136, which establishes remedies for law-abiding citizens should their application for a FOID card take longer than 30 days; HB 340, which eliminates the waiting period requirement when trading one firearm for another; HB 341, which deals with gun shows, destruction of records on law-abiding gun owners maintained by the Illinois State Police, and statewide preemption of local gun laws (except for in the City of Chicago); HB 478, which would require any local ordinance prohibiting firearms to include an exception for self defense; HB 716, which clarifies when the waiting period on firearm purchases begins; HB 824, which requires the return of seized firearms when a defendant is found not guilty or charges are dismissed; HB 935, which requires the destruction of records on individuals when a firearm transfer has not been denied; HB 936, which preempts local municipalities from enacting their own restrictions on rifles and shotguns; HB 937 which preempts local municipalities from enacting their own restrictions on firearms used for hunting; HB 2567, which would establish a Right-to-Carry permit system; HB 2568, which preempts local municipalities (except for Chicago) from enacting their own restrictions on rifles and shotguns; and HB 2607, another Right-to-Carry bill.  On the anti-gun side, legislation pending a floor vote in the House includes:  HB 794, an attack on gun shows; HB 990, which would create the bureaucratic redundancy of requiring all FFL holders to also be licensed as a firearm dealer by the state; HB 1098, which seeks to ban .50 cal. rifles and ammunition; HB 1349, a so-called "smart gun" bill; HB 2414, which seeks to ban certain semi-automatic firearms; and HB 3849, which seeks to allow for reckless lawsuits against gun dealers.  In the Senate, pro-gun legislation includes:  SB 56 and SB 57, each of which are similar to HB 341; SB 2103, a range protection bill; and SB 2104, which seeks to eliminate restrictions on transporting firearms imposed by municipalities.  On the anti-gun side, there is SB 546, an attack on gun shows.  Of course, other threats could emerge, so please be sure to contact your lawmakers and urge them to support our Right to Keep and Bear Arms by supporting the pro-gun bills mentioned above, and opposing bills that attack our freedom.  The legislature will not be in session for the next two weeks, so now would be a good time to try to set up a personal meeting with your state lawmakers while they may be in their district. 

NEBRASKA
LB 454, the "Concealed Handgun Permit Act," which will allow law-abiding Nebraskans the right to carry concealed firearms for self-defense, could come up for a vote any day next week.  Please contact your Senator and respectfully urge him or her to support this bill.

NEW MEXICO
On March 18, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved HB 641, the NRA-backed Right-to-Carry Reform bill sponsored by Representative John Heaton (D-Carlsbad).  HB 641 lowers the minimum age requirement for a Concealed Handgun License to 21, gives DPS the authority to enter into reciprocal agreements with certain other states, and makes other improvements to the law.  With one day left in session, the Senate may give final consideration to this measure late Friday or early Saturday morning. 

TENNESSEE
This week, SB 1901 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 7-1.  This legislation will make Tennessee one of over 30 states that allow permit holders to carry self-defense firearms in restaurants and other establishments that serve alcohol.  In addition to providing a means of self-defense, SB 1901 will help to prevent the theft of firearms that must currently be stored in vehicles outside of these establishments.  Please contact your state senator and ask him or her to support SB 1901 on the Senate Floor. 

TEXAS
This week, the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee reported out SB 734, an NRA-backed bill protecting hunting on private land which is annexed by a municipality.  SB 734, by Senator Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands), now moves to the full Senate for consideration.  Please contact your Senators and urge them to support SB 734.  The Texas House approved HB 318, the NRA-supported Concealed Handgun License confidentiality bill by Representative Suzanna Hupp (R-Lampasas), on a 113-30 vote.  HB 318 restricts access to information on license holders and applicants to law enforcement.  It will now move to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee for consideration.  On March 21, the House will vote on HB 225, a bill by Representative Joe Driver (R-Garland) to extend the term of a renewed carry license from four to five years.  Please call your State Representatives and urge them to support HB 225.

NRA ILA

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.