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· Beartooth Regular
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Vol. 8, No. 7


The most recent salvo in the war against our Right to Keep and Bear Arms
was fired by one of the newer groups to enter the fray—the fledgling
anti-gun organization, "Americans for Gun Safety" (AGS). The organization,
which refers to itself as a "centrist, non-partisan group," was launched
last year with heavy funding from billionaire Andrew J. McKelvey of, and has begun running ads that renew the attack on gun shows.
And while the ads claim the group recognizes "the right to own a gun," the
truth is, AGS is nothing more than a rehash of many of the existing
anti-gun organizations.

So what is the true agenda of AGS? Although it clearly wants to create the
illusion that it is somehow different from the extremists at HCI, the
truth is, the roots of AGS are firmly embedded in HCI. McKelvey, a former
board member of HCI, formed AGS after apparently becoming disillusioned
with the ineffectiveness of HCI. And materials distributed at a recent AGS
meeting clearly highlighted its real "top national priority"—"passage of
licensing and/or registration in the next Congress." This goal, of course,
is a mirror image of one of HCI's publicly stated top goals. Furthermore,
AGS has thus far worked to expand its base by affiliating not with
"centrist" groups, but with radical anti-gun groups at the state and local
levels. In fact, the majority of the groups that have affiliated with AGS
are longtime HCI affiliates. These affiliated groups have yet to adopt the
softer facade of AGS, as they promote extremely anti-gun messages such as:

"Remove any guns from your home" -- Women Against Gun Violence
"The second amendment of the United States Constitution has nothing to do
whatsoever with personal use of firearms"--Citizens of Arizona to Prevent
Gun Violence
"The best way to protect your family is not to keep a gun in the
home"--Iowans for the Prevention of Gun Violence

But AGS is misleading in more than just its stated agenda. A visit to the
AGS website ( will show a "softer"
image than you normally see from most of the other anti-gun organization.
However, further investigation of the AGS site reveals it is nothing more
than just another anti-gun extremist organization. In a press release from
October 3, 2000, McKelvey himself claimed he wanted to "present...unbiased
facts," but the AGS website exudes anti-gun bias. The website includes
sections on gun laws, gun deaths, and the frequency of firearm-related
fatalities, which are either extremely misleading, downright inaccurate,
and sometimes both. Furthermore, nowhere does the site discuss our Right
to Keep and Bear Arms (other than casual comments such as "we have the
right to own a gun"), nor does it mention the benefits of safe,
responsible firearms ownership—especially the estimated 2.5 million
defensive uses of firearms that take place every year. And while the site
is riddled with claims that it wishes to "promote gun safety," nowhere can
one find a section that refers to an actual safety program, like the ones
developed by NRA that reach nearly three-quarters of a million responsible
gun owners every year.

The ad campaign AGS launched this week targets gun shows, spouting the
myth that there is a "Gun Show Loophole." This, of course, is the same lie
that other anti-gun extremists have been spouting for some time. The fact
is that the same federal, state, and local laws that regulate firearm
sales at gun shops remain in effect and are fully enforceable at any gun
show. The AGS ad claims that background checks are not required at gun
shows. In fact, federal law requires any Federal Firearms License (FFL)
holder to run the same National Instant Check System (NICS) check on the
transfer of a firearm that takes place at a gun show that he is required
to run at his place of business. The AGS ad also claims that "convicted
felons are buying guns at gun shows." In fact, a Bureau of Justice
Statistics (BJS) report found that only 1.7% of federal inmates who
possessed a firearm during their offense reported the gun was purchased or
traded at a gun show. Another study, by the National Institute of Justice
(NIJ), supports the BJS report, indicating that less than 2% of guns used
by criminals came from gun shows. And while the AGS website claims that it
has not endorsed any of the proposals discussed under its section called
"Possible Solutions," it is obvious that it publicly supports an effort to
impose additional regulations on gun shows—while privately endorsing the
national licensing and registration of all law-abiding gun owners and
their firearms in internal documents.

Be sure to contact your federal lawmakers and tell them that the AGS is
nothing more than a wolf in sheep's clothing. Tell them that it neither
respects nor truly believes in our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and its
true agenda is nothing more than a full-scale attack on the Second
Amendment. Remind your lawmakers to oppose any legislation that would end
gun shows as we know them today. And, of course, convey your adamant
opposition to licensing and registration. You can call your U.S. Senators
at (202) 224-3121, and your U.S. Representatives at (202) 225-3121. For
those on the Internet, you can find additional contact information for
your federal lawmakers by using the "Write Your Reps" tool at


In a related story, the February 8 issue of Roll Call reported that U.S.
Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) are working on
legislation seeking to increase regulations on gun shows. The article
refers to the pair "working together to draft an alternative compromise
that both parties can support." If any gun show-related legislation comes
out of this collaboration, we will be sure to report the details.


The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), working in concert with
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), will replace free of
charge any gun locks that were distributed as part of the NSSF's Project
HomeSafe. Project HomeSafe is a program developed by NSSF that works with
localities to distribute gun locks. When the CPSC found the lock
distributed through Project HomeSafe was among a number of devices used to
secure firearms that had the potential to be opened without the use of a
key, NSSF responded quickly by offering to exchange the locks for a model
cleared for production after testing by an independent laboratory and
review by CPSC. NRA, of course, supports the use of locking devices for
securing firearms as one option responsible gun owners can use to safely
store their firearms based on their own personal circumstances, but this
recall highlights the fact that there is no substitute for gun owners
becoming thoroughly educated in firearms safety. Doug Painter, NSSF's
executive director, echoed this sentiment, stating, "In the considerable
media coverage that accompanied the CPSC announcement of the replacement
lock program, NSSF continued to stress that no locking device can be a
substitute for safe, careful gun handling and safe storage." Anyone who
received an original Project HomeSafe lock can call 800-726-6444 to
request a free replacement lock.



Thanks to the grassroots efforts of NRA members, the Senate Judiciary
Committee defeated two NRA-opposed bills: SB 1549, a mandatory storage
bill; and SB 1566, an attack on gun shows.


SB 52 (Perata/Scott) and AB 35 (Shelley), two nearly identical measures
that would require licensing of all handgun purchasers, are on the move.
AB 35 is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly's Public Safety Committee
on Tuesday, February 27. Contact your Assemblyman and urge him to vote
"NO" on AB 35 should it come up for a vote. Additional information on
these bills will be published in the April edition of your NRA magazine or
log onto for California updates.


Early next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to consider
two NRA-supported bills: SB 116, a reckless lawsuit preemption bill; and
SB 117, a range protection bill. Contact committee members at (785)
296-2456 and urge them to support these bills. For a list of committee
members, please contact NRA-ILA Grassroots at (800) 392-8683. For those on
the Internet, you can find additional contact information for your
lawmakers by using the "Write Your Reps" tool at


Members of the Second Amendment Coalition of Missouri (SACMO), Western
Missouri Shooters Alliance (WMSA), Missourians for Personal Safety (MPS),
and hundreds of law-abiding Missouri firearm owners will gather in the
State Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City, Mo., on Wednesday, February 28,
2001, from 9<!--emo&:0--><img src="" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':0'><!--endemo-->0 a.m. - 11<!--emo&:0--><img src="" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':0'><!--endemo-->0 a.m. Several national Second Amendment
advocates will address the attendees, and this will be an opportunity for
pro-gun activists to meet and network with allies from all corners of the
state. Those attending will also be able to express their thanks to our
many pro-freedom friends in the Missouri State Legislature for their
dedication to preserving the our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Please don't
miss this chance to prepare for the challenges and opportunities we will
face in the near future! For more info on this event, please contact: Mark
Gentle at (314) 831-8587 (after 6<!--emo&:0--><img src="" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':0'><!--endemo-->0 p.m.) or by e-mail at
[email protected]; SACMO at (636) 230-2399 or by e-mail at
[email protected]; or Gil Pyles at (314) 346-8629 or by e-mail at
[email protected] You can also visit for up-to-the-minute


LB 496, NRA-backed Right to Carry legislation, is currently pending before
the Judiciary Committee, and a vote is expected soon. Contact your Senator
at (402) 471-2271, and urge him to support LB-496.


HB 505, a reckless lawsuit preemption bill, is set to be considered by the
House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, February 21. Contact members of
the committee and urge them to support HB 505. For a list of members'
names and phone numbers, please call NRA-ILA Grassroots.


Next week, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to consider HB 277,
NRA-backed Right to Carry legislation. Call members of the House Judiciary
Committee at (505) 986-4410 and urge them to support HB 277. For a list of
committee members, please call NRA-ILA Grassroots.


Last week, State Representative David Cicilline (D-50) introduced H5580, a
sweeping, twenty-one page anti-gun bill that could be considered by the
House Judiciary Committee as early as Tuesday, February 27. H 5580 would
give local law enforcement the authority to arbitrarily deny you your
right to purchase a firearm, require ballistics testing on all firearms
before they can be sold in the state, and reduce the duration of concealed
carry permits from four years to one year. H 5580 would also set up
central registration of all firearms, and require every firearm sold in
Rhode Island to be fitted with a trigger lock. Contact members of the
House Judiciary Committee and urge them to vote "NO" on H 5580. For a list
of members' names and phone numbers, please call NRA-ILA Grassroots.


HB 1239, the NRA-backed reciprocity bill, passed the House State Affairs
Committee this week. Leave a phone message at (605) 773-3851 urging your
Representative to support HB 1239.


On Wednesday, February 21, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee will
consider SB 494, which seeks to end the practice of destroying confiscated
firearms by requiring the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to auction the
guns off to FFL holders. Funds generated by the auctions will be used to
purchase law enforcement safety equipment. Contact committee members and
urge them to support SB 494. For a list of committee members and their
phone numbers, contact NRA-ILA Grassroots.


HB 1969, which seeks to reinforce the state's firearms preemption law
against a patchwork of local firearms restrictions, will be heard before
the full Senate early next week. In recent years, some of Virginia's more
anti-gun localities have been crafting gun-control laws in ways to get
around the existing law. HB 1969 would put an end to this practice and
restore the much-needed state uniformity. Contact your State Senator at
(804) 698-7410 and urge him to support HB 1969.

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