Vol. 17, No. 50 12/17/10
BATFE Requests “Emergency” Authority To Track Semi-Automatic Rifle Sales
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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has proposed that it be given emergency authority for six months, beginning January 5, to require about 8,500 firearms dealers along the border with Mexico “to alert authorities when they sell within five consecutive business days two or more semiautomatic rifles greater than .22 caliber with detachable magazines.” A Washington Post story reporting on the BATFE proposal described that definition as being applicable to “so-called assault weapons,” but it would also apply to many rifles that have never been labeled with that term.
The reporting requirement will apparently be imposed under the “authority” the BATFE has used in the past to demand reporting of other types of transactions from certain limited groups of dealers over the past 10 years, but the new proposal is far broader than any previous use of this authority. Of course, there's no law today that prevents dealers from reporting suspicious transactions (or attempted transactions) to the BATFE, and dealers often do so. The BATFE is also free to inspect dealers' sales records—either for annual compliance inspections or during a criminal investigation.
Breyer Fires Warning Shot Across Second Amendment’s Bow: On Sunday, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer reminded Americans why it is important to vote for a president whose nominees to the court will likely be faithful to the Constitution, to vote for U.S. senators who will reject nominees who likely will not be faithful, and to vote for federal and state legislators who can check and balance justices like Stephen Breyer who don't believe the Second Amendment protects any meaningful right.
School Board Rules In Favor Of Student: As we reported in last week’s Grassroots Alert, Demari DeRue, a 16-year-old junior at Columbia Falls High School in Columbia Falls, Mont., was facing expulsion from school because, after a recent weekend family hunting trip, she inadvertently left her unloaded hunting rifle locked in her trunk, and then drove to school Monday morning and parked on school property.
Another Way To Get Involved--Join NRA’s Facebook And Twitter Groups: Internet social networking has exploded in recent years, and websites such as Facebook and Twitter attract millions of users. This on-line community fosters a connection between its users, and allows distribution of user-generated content (like pictures, profiles, music, video, and text).
Grassroots News Minute Video: To view this week’s “Grassroots News Minute” video, please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVpWMgVDk0w
STATE ROUNDUP (Please note the only items listed below are those that have had recent action. For other updates on state legislation, please go to the state legislation section at www.NRAILA.org, and check each week’s issue of the Grassroots Alert.)
ARIZONA: Lake Havasu Travel Management Plan Will Affect Motorized Access for Hunters: The Bureau of Land Management is developing a Travel Management Plan (TMP) to designate, which routes will remain open and which will be closed to the use of motorized vehicles by the public. The Federal lands involved in the TMP are located below I-40 in Arizona and California, north, east, and south of Lake Havasu City, including parts of the California shoreline and south within 5-7 miles of the Bill Williams River. The public comment period on the TMP closes February 28th. Comments may be emailed to Lake_Havasu@blm.gov, or by filling out the comment form on BLM’s Arizona State website at www.blm.gov/az (click on Lake Havasu). For further information you may call Myron McCoy at 928-505-1216 or write to Myron_mccoy@blm.gov.
The TMP lays out four alternatives for motorized access and the BLM describes the alternatives as follows:
Alternative A: No Action. Alternative A describes the current management of BLM-administered public lands in the planning area. The current management would continue to occur if no new decisions are made to alter them.
Alternative B: Protection. Alternative B emphasizes minimal human use and influence, and enhanced protection of remoteness and primitive recreation.
Alternative C: Proposed. Alternative C would provide an optimal balance between authorized resource use and the protection and long-term sustainability of sensitive resources within the planning area.
Alternative D: Access. Alternative D places an emphasis on maximum resource use and a more flexible, permissive resource management approach.
The BLM does not intend to allow the use of vehicles for game retrieval off designated routes. If you hunt or enjoy other recreational activities on these lands, it is important that you review the maps and comment on how the alternatives will affect your access and enjoyment of these lands.
IOWA:NRA to Pursue Aggressive Agenda During Iowa’s 2011 Legislative Session!
Thanks to your support in the November 2010 elections, over 80 percent of NRA-PVF’s endorsed candidates were elected to the Iowa legislature. The gain in pro-gun legislators will greatly improve Iowans’ ability to continue to support a pro-gun agenda and build on the momentum from last session when Iowa joined the vast majority of the states with passage of its shall-issue Right-to-Carry law in 2010. On Monday, January 10, 2011, Iowa’s 84th General Assembly will convene and NRA, with support from Iowa Firearms Coalition, Iowa Sportsman’s Federation, and other pro-gun activists, will pursue an aggressive agenda to make Iowa a leading pro-Second Amendment state. Please click here to see the issues your NRA plans to address this year in the Hawkeye State.
MICHIGAN:“Eddie Eagle” Legislation Awaiting Action by Governor Granholm: On Wednesday, December 15, the Michigan House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 1402 by a 72-24 vote. This legislation has also been adopted by the Senate and is currently awaiting consideration by Governor Jennifer Granholm (D). Authored by State Senator John Gleason (D-27), SB 1402 would make gun safety programs available to school districts for inclusion in curriculums in Michigan. The purpose of NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program isn’t to teach whether guns are good or bad, but to promote the protection and safety of children if they come across firearms in unsupervised situations. Please contact Governor Granholm and urge her to sign SB 1402. She can be reached by phone at (517) 335-7858.
NEVADA: Plan for Ruby Lake NWR of Importance to Waterfowl Hunters The public is being asked to share its ideas with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on what should be included in the new management plan for Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Ruby Lake is a 40,000 acre refuge established in 1938, supports the largest population of nesting canvasback ducks west of the Mississippi River outside Alaska, and is a vital waterfowl nesting area. The refuge offers waterfowl hunting and recreational fishing. The plan will guide management of this refuge for the next 15 years. The deadline for public comments is December 28th, and comments can be emailed to email@example.com. Please include “Ruby Lake CCP” in the subject line of the message. Further information may be found at http://www.fws.gov/rubylake/ or you may call 775-779-2237. It is important that waterfowl hunters engage in the planning process in order to ensure that hunting opportunities are secured for the future at Ruby Lake.
NEW JERSEY:Flawed “Handgun Purchaser ID Card” Legislation Passes Committee, Referred to Another Senate Committee On December 6, the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee favorably reported S2190 from Committee and referred the bill to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Sponsored by State Senator Fred Madden (D-4), S2190 directs the State Police to establish a “handgun purchaser identification card” which would permit the sale, transfer and delivery of handguns between cardholders and retail dealers only. S2190 would not eliminate the current paper form of “permit to purchase,” but would create a bifurcated system run by the State Police in which paper permits would still be issued for some transactions, including private transfers, which could not be made with the new card. The legislation has other troubling aspects, including use of an undefined, subjective standard to qualify for the new card (applicants would somehow have to prove themselves to be persons “of good character and good repute in the community in which they live,” a vague standard found elsewhere in NJ gun law that is in need of reform). Please encourage the members of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee to either amend S2190 or hold it until the issues and concerns of gun owners can be properly addressed. Contact information can be found here.
PENNSYLVANIA: Philadelphia Trying To Restrict the Second Amendment Again!
Philadelphia is at it again – trying to restrict a law-abiding resident’s right to keep and bear arms. Philadelphia’s City Council Committee on Public Safety passed a measure to close the so-called “Florida Gun Loophole.” The proposed measure states that Philadelphia will not recognize out-of-state carry licenses held by Pennsylvania residents, unless an individual also holds a Pennsylvania concealed carry license. Contrary to what is being suggested, there is no “Florida Gun Loophole.” This fictional term makes it sound like anyone who applies for an out-of-state concealed carry permit is committing a crime. This is not the case. Florida and states that allow non-residents to apply for a concealed carry permit must follow the state’s concealed carry law. For example, Florida requires applicants to submit fingerprints, provide proof of competency with firearms, pass a criminal and mental health background check and pay the appropriate fee. The Pennsylvania Legislature already introduced such a measure, House Bill 2536, sponsored by State Representative Brian Lentz (D-161), which would prohibit a resident of the Commonwealth from carrying a concealed firearm with a license issued from another state. To date this measure has not moved. It is crucial that you call your city council members TODAY and urge them to uphold the Second Amendment rights of its residents and vote against the so-called “Florida gun loophole” measure. City Council Information can be found here.
UTAH: Management Plan Being Prepared for Public Land in Southwest Utah The Bureau of Land Management is preparing a new Resource Management Plan for 2.1 million acres of public land located in the Great Basin region of southwest Utah in Beaver, Iron, and a small portion of Washington County. The public is invited to comment on issues of interest and concern regarding land and resource allocations and levels of resource use. Recreational opportunities, like hunting and shooting, will be an important topic of consideration in the planning process. For sportsmen who depend on access to these public lands for hunting, shooting, or other kinds of recreation, it is important for you to become involved in the planning process. Comments on the first phase of planning are being accepted until December 27th, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information can be found at http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/cedar_city.html or by calling 435-865-3011.
WISCONSIN: NRA to Push Aggressive Legislative Agenda During Wisconsin's 2011 Legislative Session Last November’s landmark elections are creating historic opportunities for the cause of freedom in the Badger State. With the combined efforts of gun owners and hunters, anti-freedom majorities in the Assembly and Senate were removed from power, and replaced by pro-freedom lawmakers. It is now time for these newly-elected officials to convert their words into action. Past legislative efforts to secure the Right-to-Carry always assumed that a veto override would be necessary. Attempting to secure the two-thirds majorities required the NRA and other proponents to accept amendments during the legislative process that sought to place additional restrictions on the good citizens of Wisconsin and that would have impeded their ability to protect themselves. With the makeup of the incoming legislature, these unnecessary concessions should no longer be necessary. To see the full alert, please click here.
NRA will be closing at noon on Thursday, December 23rd, and will remain closed on Friday, December 24th. Additionally, NRA will be closing at noon on Thursday, December 30th, and will remain closed on Friday, January 31st.
Because of this abbreviated schedule, we will not transmit the Grassroots Alert next week. We will transmit our annual “Year In Review” wrap-up Alert on Wednesday, December 29th.
We will re-open on Monday, January 3rd, at 8:30 a.m., EST.
Please have a safe and happy Holiday season!