NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert Vol. 13, No. 6 02/10/06
States with updates this issue (click state to be routed directly to story): Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
BATFE ABUSE AT RICHMOND, VA GUN SHOWS
On February 15, the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security will hold an oversight hearing (the first of three BATFE-related hearings) to investigate apparent wrongdoing by BATFE at a Richmond, VA gun show last August.
In 2004-05, a troubling pattern emerged at a number of Richmond, VA-area gun shows, where hundreds of BATFE agents and state and local police staked out local shows. Immediately upon learning of these incidents, NRA began investigating and working to ensure congressional oversight hearings would be held to determine any wrongdoing and ensure BATFE was not overstepping its bounds or violating the law.
BATFE agents copied lawful gun purchase transaction records and provided this information to local police officers, who in turn conducted "residency checks." Federal law prohibits the release of this information except in the course of a bona fide criminal investigation. The information provided to local police prompted multiple instances of officers showing up at the homes of those who lawfully purchased firearms from licensed dealers. When the lawful purchasers were not at home, agents questioned family members (for example, inquiring of a wife if she knew her husband was at a gun show and/or had purchased a firearm) or their neighbors. In other cases, reports surfaced of lawful gun owners and holders of valid carry permits having their firearms confiscated.
Those interested in watching the hearing online may do so at http://judiciary.house.gov/schedule.aspx. The hearing is scheduled to begin at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15.
U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) recently introduced H.R. 4547-a national Right-to-Carry (RTC) reciprocity bill that would provide national reciprocity for state carry licensees. The bill would allow any person with a valid carry permit or license issued by a state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state if they meet certain criteria. The bill would not create a federal licensing system; it would simply require the states to recognize each other's carry permits, just as they recognize drivers' licenses.
For more information on the bill, please visit www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?ID=189.
Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 4547!
SENATOR RICK SANTORUM INTRODUCES S. 2249¾
THE SPORTSMEN'S PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT
On February 7, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced legislation to eliminate the requirement in the 1996 Welfare Reform Bill that requires hunters and fishermen to furnish their social security numbers when getting a license.
"Across America, hunting and fishing is an age old heritage that is passed on from one generation to the next. Our outdoor sportsmen should not be required to surrender sensitive information and risk being victims of identity theft to preserve this legacy. This is much needed reform and the NRA would like to thank Senator Santorum for leading this effort in the United States Senate," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.
Senator Santorum's bill is a companion to H.R. 4144, introduced in the House by Representative Phil English, also of Pennsylvania. The House version of the bill has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee.
"This proposed law will help save 16 million hunters and another 34 million fishermen who buy licenses every year from falling victim to identity theft," continued Cox. "On behalf of NRA members across the country, I want to thank Senator Rick Santorum for his support of the hunters and fishermen and his work to preserve our country's strong outdoor traditions."
NRA-ILA "MIX N' MINGLES"
How often do you get the opportunity to mix n' mingle with NRA-ILA Headquarters staff and fellow NRA members in your area, to earn FREE NRA items, and to assist with the efforts of candidates seeking office in your area? Well, in preparation for the 2006 elections, you will have the opportunity to do just that.
This election year, NRA-ILA will be hosting FREE NRA-ILA Mix N' Mingles across the country. These events will provide NRA members with training on what they can do locally to propel candidates to victory this election season. The meetings also provide attendees the opportunity to meet and socialize with lawmakers, candidates, their staffs, NRA-ILA Headquarters staff, and fellow area NRA members-and to earn FREE NRA fraternal items like hats, pocketknives, buttons, etc. Mix N' Mingles, including materials, food, beverages, and NRA items are FREE!
The first-ever Mix N' Mingle is scheduled for:
-San Antonio, TX-2/25/06
NRA members who have access to the Internet can go to www.nraila.org/workshops/ to reserve their seats on-line. To forward the Mix N' Mingle invitation to fellow NRA members, including a personal message from you, please go to www.nraila.org/ecard/?ID=1. NRA members are encouraged to check this website address frequently to see if any upcoming Mix N' Mingles are scheduled in their area. NRA members may also contact the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-VOTE (8683) for details and to reserve their seats.
DON'T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO OWN A PIECE OF HISTORY
Now's your chance to own a piece of political history, straight from the closely fought 2004 presidential campaign! The last of the "That Dog Don't Hunt" banners is now available on E-Bay.
One of only 12 made, the banner¾measuring 10 feet long and 5 feet high¾crisscrossed battleground states in the final frantic month of the hotly contested 2004 presidential race and played an important role in determining the outcome of the election. The banner was displayed at NRA rallies and gun shows and was a major part of the National Rifle Association's intense efforts to educate voters that, despite his attempt to pander to sportsmen, Senator Kerry had a 20 year record of hostility towards the Second Amendment. The NRA rallies were crucial in turning out enough voters to give Bush victories in pivotal battleground states such as Ohio and West Virginia.
NRA-ILA Executive Director and NRA Political Victory Fund chairman Chris W. Cox has signed the banner.
The auction will run through February 17, with bidding closing at 2:15 p.m. that day. If you'd like to own this valuable piece of political history, please visit http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7743149474 and place your bid.
D.C. PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT-
A TOP LEGISLATIVE PRIORITY
As we continue to note, one of NRA-ILA's top legislative priorities in Congress continues to be the passage of S. 1082 and H.R. 1288-the Senate and House versions of the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act." This legislation seeks to restore the constitutionally-guaranteed Second Amendment rights of the residents of the District of Columbia.
The need for this corrective legislation is obvious. Since 1977, the District has banned the possession of all handguns not acquired and registered before that year. D.C. law also prohibits keeping an assembled rifle or shotgun in the home, effectively outlawing the use of firearms for lawful self-defense. And despite these Draconian gun control laws, Washington, D.C., consistently has one of the highest homicide rates in the nation.
Please be sure to contact your U.S. Senators and Representative and ask them to cosponsor and support S. 1082 and H.R. 1288.
For a list of Senate cosponsors, please visit http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:SN01082:@@@P.
For a list of House cosponsors, please visit http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:HR01288:@@@P.
You can call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121, or your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121.
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. As always, thank you for your support.***)
States with updates this issue (click state to be routed directly to story): Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
ARIZONA: SB 1145, the "Castle Doctrine" sponsored by Senator Timothy Bee (D-30), will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, February 13, at 1:30 p.m. The most significant component of this legislation will come by way of amendment. The "Burden of Proof" amendment addresses a truly grave situation facing any Arizonan who is forced to act in self-defense. Because of a change to the self-defense laws that was passed with little fanfare in 1997, citizens who act in self-defense are currently presumed guilty until they prove their innocence in court. This defies the age-old principle of "innocent until proven guilty." This leaves good citizens vulnerable to wrongful prosecution and conviction for simply defending themselves and their loved ones from violence. Arizona is one of only two states in the country that places the burden of proof in self-defense cases on the citizen instead of the state. This is simply wrong and must be corrected this year before more abuses occur! Please contact your Senator and ask him or her to support SB 1145 with the "Burden of Proof" Amendment. The full House passed HB 2075, legislation sponsored by Representative Chuck Gray (R-19). The bill eliminates the two-hour refresher-training course for concealed carry permit renewals. This will end Arizona's status as one of only a handful of Right-to-Carry states that have such a requirement. Please call your Senator and ask that he or she support this legislation. Senators can be reached at (602) 926-3559, or toll free at (800) 352-8404.
FLORIDA: HB-265, the "Florida No-Net-Loss" bill sponsored by Representative Don Brown (R-5), passed out of the "House Water & Natural Resources Committee" on February 8, unanimously. Simply put, "No-Net-Loss" requires that states maintain at least the level of available public hunting land that currently exists. It requires that additional lands be opened to hunting if land that is currently open to hunting is closed. The end result is assurance to hunters that the opportunities they now have will not diminish. Please visit www.NRAILA.org for updates on this important piece of legislation.
HAWAII: A coalition of law enforcement groups has proposed the language written in SB 2579-a ban on the sale and possession of .50 caliber rifles and ammunition. As you know, these rifles are used for sporting purposes, but have been demonized in the press and by anti-gun groups looking for the next gun control scheme. SB 2579 is an outright ban that, if signed, will take effect immediately. Owners of the affected firearms would have to remove the firearm from the state, surrender it to law enforcement, or have it destroyed. It is vital that NRA members and friends in the pro-gun community call their state legislators at (808) 587-0666 and ask them to oppose this proposed gun ban. Other anti-gun legislation includes SB 2408/HB 2522, which would exempt government entities from the definition of "owner" in state law that imposes a strict liability on firearms owners for injury or damage caused by that firearm.
SB 2531, the Right-to-Carry bill introduced by Senators Sam Slom (R-8) and Gordon Trimble (R-12), may be heard in the "Senate Intergovernmental Affairs Committee" as early as next Tuesday, February 14. Please contact the Chair of the committee, Senator David Ige (D-16) and ask him for a hearing on SB 2531. Also, respectfully ask for SB 2531 to be passed out of committee. Senator Ige can be reached by calling (808) 586-6230, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, please contact your legislator at (808) 587-0666 and urge him or her to oppose SB 2408/HB 2522 and support SB 2531! To get involved with the Hawaii Rifle Association, please contact Max Cooper at (808) 261-8988.
IDAHO: Your communication with elected officials is needed to help build momentum for two NRA backed bills: RS 15636C4 is a "Right-to-Carry" reform bill that would extend the term of concealed carry permits from four to five years and, similar to driver's licenses, would require that renewal notices be sent out prior to permit expiration. Additionally, this proposed bill would repeal the requirement for a person to obtain a concealed carry permit if he or she only carries in a vehicle. RS 15712C1, "Emergency Powers" legislation, would prevent the Governor or any government authority from limiting your Right to Keep and Bear Arms during a declared state of emergency. The "State Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee" will hear both bills on the afternoon of Monday, February 13. Monday's hearing is a "print" hearing at which the committee will vote on whether to print and number the bills for introduction. It is the very first, but critical, step in the legislative process. Please contact the members of the Senate Judiciary & Rules Committee and urge them to support RS 15636C4 and RS 15712C1. Members of the committee can be found by visiting http://legislature.idaho.gov/about/contactbycommittee.cfm. Please also contact your State Senator at (800) 626-0471 and encourage him or her to do the same.
ILLINOIS: Anti-gun legislation continues to pose a threat in the General Assembly. Both HB 4693, a handgun dealer licensing bill, and HB 4694, a mandatory storage bill, passed out of the Human Services Committee and are awaiting action by the full House of Representatives. Anti-gun legislators continue their frantic attempts to build up support for HB 2414, which seeks to ban certain semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, as well as .50 cal. rifles. The latest attempt, Amendment 7, indicates how poorly worded this bill is, as well as how confused anti-gun lawmakers are when it comes to firearms. Proponents of HB 2414 felt this new language was necessary in order to exempt air rifles from the scope of the bill. Please continue to contact representatives and urge them to oppose HB 2414, HB 4693, and HB 4694. (For more details on these bills, please refer to last week's Grassroots Alert). On the pro-gun side, keep contacting representatives and urge them to support HB 4529, sponsored by Representative John E. Bradley (D-117), which would allow FOID card applicants to sue the Illinois State Police if that agency fails to act on applications within the 30-day time period mandated by state law. While there are other anti-gun and pro-gun bills that have been introduced¾including SB 2963, Senator Bill Brady's (R-44) pro-gun reform that seeks to repeal the FOID card system¾most remain bogged down and relatively inactive.
INDIANA: House Bill 1176, sponsored by Representative Troy Woodruff (R-64), a bill that allows for an option of a 4-year carry permit, or a lifetime carry permit for a higher fee, has passed the House. This bill will now be heard by the Senate Committee for Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters, on Tuesday, February 14, at 9:00 a.m. Please contact your State Senator at (317) 232-9400 and ask him or her to support HB 1176.
KANSAS: Senate Bill 418, "The Personal and Family Protection Act," sponsored by Senator Phil Journey (R-26), passed through the Senate by a vote of 29-11. SB 418 will now advance to the House of Representatives. House Bill 2577, the "Stand and Defend Act" sponsored by Representative Richard Carlson (R-61) will be voted on by the House Federal & State Affairs Committee this coming week. This important legislation allows a person to use justifiable force when the fear of bodily harm is present. Please continue contacting your State Representative at (785) 296-1153 and ask him or her to support SB 418 and HB 2577.
KENTUCKY: Sponsored by Representative Carolyn Belcher (D-72), HB 290, the "Gun Owner Protection Act," passed the House Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote and is now headed to the full House for a floor vote. This critical legislation ensures the names of concealed firearm license holders are not released to the public. It prohibits employers from enacting or enforcing policies that keep employees from storing lawfully-owned firearms in their vehicles while at work. HB 290 also prohibits government officials from regulating lawful firearms ownership during a state of emergency. An amendment will be proposed allowing concealed firearm license holders to use their license to satisfy the NICS requirement when purchasing firearms from a licensed dealer. Please contact your Representative and ask that he or she support HB 290. Sponsored by Senator Katie Kratz Stine (R-24), SB 12 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with an 8-2 vote. It is now headed to the full Senate. This bill prohibits the prosecution of gun owners who unknowingly wander onto property owned by a public or private school if it is not properly posted pursuant to current law. Current law requires the posting of school property. However, if a school ignores this legal requirement, gun owners may still be prosecuted for a felony offense when possessing a firearm on the property. This is unacceptable and must be rectified. Please contact your Senator and ask that he or she support SB 12. All members of the Kentucky General Assembly can be reached at (502) 564-8100. Also, when contacting your legislators, please ask that they actively support the passage of the "Castle Doctrine Legislation" that significantly bolster's the right to self-defense in Kentucky. It is HB 236 in the House (Representative J.R. Gray (D-6)), and SB 38 (Senator Dick Roeding (R-11)) and SB 52 (Senator Ed Worley (D-34)), in the Senate.
MISSISSIPPI: On Monday, February 6, the Mississippi House of Representatives approved House Bill 1141, an NRA-backed measure sponsored by Representative Warner McBride (D-10). HB 1141 will allow the owner of a property that has been annexed by a county or municipality to continue hunting on certain-sized tracts of land even if the city has a ban on the discharge of firearms. HB 1141 also contains a provision, which would prohibit New Orleans-style gun confiscations from law-abiding citizens during a future state of emergency or natural disaster. The House also approved a floor amendment, which contains language from HB 1059, a bill that died in committee the previous week. This amendment will allow employees to transport and store firearms in locked personal vehicles while parked on property owned by their employers. HB 1141 now moves to the Senate for consideration. Please contact your State Senators at (601) 359-3770 and ask him or her to support the NRA-backed HB 1141 with the employee parking lot amendment. For additional contact information, please visit www.mississippi.gov.
NEBRASKA: On Thursday, February 9, Legislation Bill 454A (the appropriations bill to LB454, also known as the "Concealed Handgun Permit Act") sponsored by Representative Jeanne Combs (I-32), advanced from General File to Select File. These two bills will now be rejoined and will advance to the second round of debate in the coming weeks. Please continue with phone calls to your State Senator requesting his or her further support of LB 454 and your Second Amendment Rights! The contact number for the Nebraska legislature is (402) 471-2271.
PENNSYLVANIA: A legislative study released Wednesday, February 8, indicated Pennsylvania's system of instant background checks for gun buyers could go into the red in about a year without funding changes. Firearm dealers and county sheriffs lodged 529,000 calls in 2004 to Pennsylvania's Instant Check System, which is run by the state police. Those calls concerned the sale or transfer of 393,000 firearms and 107,000 license-to-carry permits. Fewer than 2 percent of background checks result in a denial. The "Legislative Budget and Finance Committee" report said a decision by the governor's budget office to stop funding the checks with a general fund line-item means the system may run out of money in about a year. Historically, about two-thirds of the system's funding has come from the general fund. The system also collects a $2 instant-check fee, and a $3 surcharge from the sale of firearms. It costs about $4.2 million annually to fund the program, and the "Firearms Record Check Fund" had a $4.4 million reserve as of June 2005. The report said that without general fund money, the $2 instant-check fee would have to be increased to at least $8.75. In addition, an $8.75 fee would not pay for proposed computer upgrades. Please write Governor Rendell and insist that the fee be kept reasonable so that persons of limited means are not effectively deprived of the constitutional right to "Keep and Bear Arms." Since the Commonwealth requires persons to obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm, the general fund should bear the majority of the financial cost of supporting the licensing system. You can send correspondence to: Governor Edward Rendell, RM. 225 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120.
SOUTH CAROLINA: This week, the House of Representatives passed H 4301, introduced by Representative G. Murrell Smith, Jr. (R-67), with overwhelming bi-partisan support, and virtually no opposition. This bill, modeled after Florida's "Castle Doctrine" law, would remove the "duty to retreat" if a law-abiding citizen is attacked anywhere that person may lawfully be. Please contact your senator at (803) 212-6200 and urge him or her to support H 4301.
SOUTH DAKOTA: House Bill 1134 ("A Citizens Right to Self-Defense"), which is modeled after Florida's "Castle Doctrine," passed through the Senate, 31 to 1. This important legislation will head back to the House for concurrence as early as next week. Please contact your State Representative at (605) 773-3851, and ask him or her to support HB 1134 with NRA-backed amendments.
WASHINGTON: Your phone calls and emails are urgently needed to stop a bill prohibiting the discharge of firearms in Island County from becoming law. Sponsored by Senator Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10), Senate Bill 6598 would effectively ban shooting on all county-owned land in Island County. SB 6598 is now before the State Legislature because there is not enough support in Island County to restrict shooting. Only a few residents are against shooting in Island County. Meetings and hearings have been held in the county and discussions are still taking place to determine an appropriate local action, if any is necessary. Existing law already gives authority to cities and counties to restrict the discharge of firearms. Representing Island County, Senator Haugen is apparently frustrated by the lack of support for her anti-shooting agenda within her own district. Her asking the State Legislature to weigh in on a local issue is an attempt to make an end-run around the Island County government process. Even if you do not live in Island County, SB 6598 directly affects you because it is unnecessary, inappropriate and would create a horrible precedent! It is an abuse of the state legislative process and your county could be next! SB 6598 is currently pending a vote in the Senate Rules Committee. It is vital that you immediately call the members of the Senate Rules Committee. Please respectfully ask them to oppose SB 6598! Be sure to contact your State Senator as well! To reach members of the State Senate please call (800) 562-6000. It is especially important if you live in Island County to communicate with your State Senator, Mary Margaret Haugen, and politely, but firmly, express your displeasure with her introduction of this legislation! For more information please visit www.leg.wa.gov/Senate.
WISCONSIN: A recent study has found the future of hunting in Wisconsin is in serious jeopardy. Assembly Bill 586 has been introduced to provide parents more discretion with regard to deciding when their children are mature enough to hunt as long as they are within arm's reach of an adult mentor who meets the hunter education requirement and there is only one firearm between the two. This is known as "mentored hunting." Experience in other states shows that mentored hunting is the safest form of hunting. Thirty states trust parents to decide when their children are mature enough to hunt, including most of Wisconsin's neighbors, and their hunter recruitment rates are far higher. Please call your State Senator at (800) 362-9472 and respectfully ask him or her to support AB 586, the Hunter Mentoring Bill.
WYOMING: The Wyoming Legislative Session begins Monday, February 13. Several NRA-backed bills have been introduced in the State House and Senate. HB 46, sponsored by Representative Steve Watt (R-17), is known as the "No Duty to Retreat Act/Castle Doctrine." This bill specifies that Wyoming citizens have no duty to try to escape before using deadly force against an assailant, either in their home or in their vehicle. HB 78, sponsored by Representative Becket Hinckley (R-41), would allow law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. SB 79, sponsored by Senator Cale Case (R-25), would allow law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm for self-protection during bow hunting season. Please visit www.NRAILA.org for updates on these important pieces of legislation.
And of course IBNRAWGAOMMUTMGBIGC (in before the NRA won't get any of my money until the machine gun ban is gone crowd)