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Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Undersecretary John Magaw -- who headed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (BATF) during the Clinton/Gore Administration -- proclaimed on Tuesday that he would not allow properly trained commercial airline pilots or any other flight deck crew to have access to firearms as a last line of defense against terrorist hijackers.  Magaw, who has been supported in his stance against arming pilots by Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Norman Mineta (a former California Congressman who received an "F" from NRA when he last sought re-election), told the Senate Aviation Subcommittee, "Pilots need to concentrate on flying the plane," then made it clear his position was that only federal air marshals could be trusted with firearms aboard commercial aircraft.  While the general public overwhelmingly supports the idea of armed pilots, and the vast majority of pilots support the idea, it seems the major airlines are opposed to the concept.  The airlines have exerted the necessary pressure on the DOT to oppose arming pilots, despite the more than 5,000 favorable comments reportedly received by the FAA in evaluating the issue.

    Contact Secretary Mineta and Undersecretary Magaw and remind them that, just as we trust pilots to be able to fly complicated aircraft, we can trust them to be able to use a firearm as a last line of defense against terrorist hijackers.  Also remind them that poll after poll shows the general public also trusts airline pilots with firearms in the cockpit.  You can contact both the DOT and TSA using the same mailing address: 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington, DC, 20590.  E-mail can be sent to the DOT at [email protected], and to the TSA at [email protected]

    In addition, there are two bills in Congress that would provide for the arming of properly trained flight deck crew.  H.R. 4635 introduced by U.S. Representatives John Mica (R-Fla.) and Don Young (R-Alas.) has 31 co-sponsors, and is gaining support.  S. 2554 was introduced yesterday by U.S. Senator Bob Smith (R-N.H.), and already has five co-sponsors.  The Senate bill would also provide self defense training for flight attendants, and is likely to gain their support.   Please contact your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge them to co-sponsor these bills.  Those on the Internet can find additional contact information by using our "Write Your Reps" tool at  


Last week, U.S. Representatives John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 4757.  And while a bill with Carolyn McCarthy`s name on it is usually bad news for gun owners, this one would actually take positive, corrective steps to improve the ailing National Instant Check System (NICS).  H.R. 4757 seeks to improve the operation of NICS by pressuring all 50 states to ensure NICS has instant access to the records of individuals who are prohibited from possessing a firearm.

    Unfortunately, some within the anti-gun community, including members of the media, are misclassifying this legislation as an expansion of gun control.  However, as Rep. McCarthy told the Los Angeles Times, "Basically, we`re just going to enforce the current gun laws."  The agenda of those who misidentify this legislation as "something of an expansion," such as Kristen Rand of the extremist Violence Policy Center, is unclear, but some may be doing so in an attempt to harm Representative Dingell`s reelection campaign by trying to weaken support for him among gun owners.  In fact, it is because of Rep. Dingell`s involvement with the shaping of this legislation that it became a positive, productive measure.

    Regardless of how the anti-gun community wishes to try to spin H.R. 4757, the bill should help to improve NICS performance.  By making sure the system has instant access to any relevant and legally permissible records necessary to determine if an individual is prohibited from possessing a firearm, law-abiding gun purchasers should experience fewer delays, while firearms can be successfully denied to violent criminals and those adjudicated mentally incompetent.


On Tuesday, voters in Arkansas`s Republican primary chose U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson as the Republican Party`s candidate for the U.S. Senate in the November election.  Senator Hutchinson, who received the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) endorsement in this primary race, defeated his opponent by a margin greater than 3-to-1.  In Pennsylvania, U.S. Representative John Murtha easily defeated fellow Representative Frank Mascara in Tuesday`s Democratic primary for Pennsylvania`s 12th Congressional District.  Mascara chose to run against Murtha -- who received the NRA-PVF endorsement in this primary -- after redistricting effectively eliminated Pennsylvania`s 20th Congressional District, which Mascara currently serves as Congressman.

    Also in Pennsylvania, former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell defeated Pennsylvania`s Auditor General Bob Casey, Jr., in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.  Although no official endorsement was made in this race, NRA opposed Rendell because of his history of supporting the anti-gun agenda.  In 1998, Rendell became one of the pioneers of the reckless lawsuit campaign when he began publicly exploring the idea of launching a baseless lawsuit against law-abiding members of the firearms industry.  This strategy soon became extremely popular among Rendell`s fellow anti-gun big city mayors.  And while HCI has hailed Rendell`s successful campaign as "a victory for gun control, and a defeat for the National Rifle Association," it is more accurately described as an example of an extremely deceptive campaign.

    Michael Barnes, president of the gun-ban lobby, claimed on Wednesday, "Ed Rendell is to be commended for having the  courage of his convictions,`" and proclaimed, "Ed never wavered in his support...."  But during his campaign, Rendell repeatedly claimed, "I support the Second Amendment and the rights of hunters, and I will not take away the guns owned by law-abiding citizens."  Whether or not Rendell will actually stand by this statement is doubtful, but he clearly chose to distance himself from the anti-gun agenda of HCI.

    Furthermore, the Rendell campaign did everything it could to create the false impression that NRA supports his efforts, while saying little about the gun-ban agenda.  After Rendell`s anti-gun views began to become a major topic of discussion late in the campaign, the former Philadelphia Mayor sent out a statewide mailing intended to create the false impression he is not anti-gun.  He even went so far as to include in his mailing a reprint of a full-page ad NRA placed in The Washington Post in January of 1999.

    But the three-year-old ad merely thanked Rendell for finally taking up our challenge "to make Philadelphia a model city for Project Exile," the proven crime-fighting prosecution model that targets violent gun crimes rather than law-abiding gun owners.  Moreover, it took Rendell nearly a year to accept our challenge, and then only after it became clear the general public widely embraced such programs over the gun-ban lobby`s anti-freedom agenda.  Rendell`s seemingly reluctant adoption of this NRA-promoted crime fighting tool also came after a number of other anti-gun big city mayors followed his lead by filing their own reckless lawsuits designed to cripple law-abiding gun makers.

    Rendell`s claim to support the rights of hunters rings rather hollow when one looks over "The Rendell Plan to Conserve and Protect Pennsylvania`s Environment."  While a conservation plan would seem to be an appropriate place to promote hunting -- as hunters are, of course, the first real conservationists -- nowhere in the document is hunting even vaguely mentioned.

    Ultimately, Rendell was able to deceive the voters in Pennsylvania`s Democratic primary into believing he supports law-abiding gun owners and hunters, and now HCI ironically wishes to deceive people into believing his victory was some sort of validation of the lobby`s gun-ban agenda.


Idaho and Kentucky will hold primary elections this Tuesday, May 28.   NRA members in these states should have already received information on candidates endorsed by the NRA-Political Victory Fund for the primary election, so please be sure to go to the polls and support pro-gun candidates for office, and encourage your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners to do the same.  NRA members in these states who have not received this information can call the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683.


In preparation for the upcoming campaign season, NRA-ILA is hosting FREE Grassroots-Election Workshops in several areas across the country.  The next upcoming event will be in Charleston, West Virginia, on June 1, followed by three Workshops in Arkansas -- in Fayetteville on June 4, Jonesboro on June 6, and Little Rock on June 8.  Then, there will be two held on June 15 -- one in Orlando, Florida, and one in Dearborn, Michigan.  At these Workshops, you will learn what you can do in your own community to ensure pro-gun candidates are elected to office this election season.  NRA members who are interested in attending should contact the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683 for details and to reserve their spots.  NRA members who have access to the Internet can also reserve their spots on-line by going to



SB 1008, Arizona`s Range Protection bill, was signed into law by Governor Jane Dee Hull ®.  The bill provides shooting ranges with a defense against civil liability relating to noise disturbances if they operate in compliance with the bill`s established standards.  Contact Governor Hull at (602) 542-4331 and thank her for recognizing the value of protecting community shooting ranges.


Mark Your Calendars!  The New Jersey Chapter of the Second Amendment Sisters will host its Rally and Funfest on Sunday, July 28, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Nomehegan Park in Cranford (near Kenilworth, off the Garden State Parkway).  Be sure to join fellow gun owners and sportsmen for a day of music, speakers, paintball, frisbee, a picnic, and trap and skeet shooting!  Let`s show our support for this family fun day!  Be sure to tell your friends and family about this pro-Second Amendment event!  For more information, please contact Marilyn Lapidus at (908) 879-9089 or at [email protected]


HB 493, a measure to allow Sunday hunting, has been signed into law by Governor Bob Taft ®.  Contact Governor Taft at (614) 466-3555 and thank him for signing this bill enabling hunters to participate in the hunting tradition on Sundays.
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