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BATF`s FORM 4473 BUNGLE

When the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) decided that it
needed to change the forms individuals must fill out when they purchase
a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), nobody anticipated
that nearly five months would not be enough time to ensure the new forms
would be ready and made available to FFLs.  But that seems to be exactly
what happened this week.  And because of BATF`s failure to ensure
licensed dealers were supplied with the mandated new forms, countless
law-abiding citizens have been unable to exercise their
constitutionally-protected right to arms this week, and countless
law-abiding FFLs have lost immeasurable numbers of sales due to an
inability to conduct their business.  By virtue of a bureaucratic bungle
that might be laughable if its ramifications did not carry such serious
consequences, prospective gun purchasers experienced a virtual national
ban on firearm transfers this week.

The problem with the forms-referred to as Form 4473-began in October
2001, when BATF decided some relatively minor changes were required.
The changes dealt predominantly with being able to better determine
whether or not a non-citizen who wished to purchase a firearm is
prohibited from doing so.  This, along with Attorney General Ashcroft`s
decision last week to utilize Immigration and Naturalization Service`s
(INS) records for firearm transfers subject to a National Instant Check
System (NICS) check (see last week`s FAX Alert), would help to correct a
glaring flaw in the design and implementation of NICS that was ignored
by the Clinton-Gore-Reno Department of Justice (DOJ).  These changes
were intended to ensure anyone in the U.S. illegally would be rejected
if he attempted to purchase a firearm from an FFL.  But when BATF failed
to deliver the forms by February 19, 2002-a deadline the agency set for
itself-what resulted was confusion, frustration, and a near total
cessation in the legal, retail transfer of firearms across the country.
The forms FFLs had prior to February 19 became useless that day, and
firearm dealers suddenly discovered they could not transfer firearms to
law-abiding purchasers.  And while it is still unclear exactly why BATF
was unable to supply FFLs with the proper new forms in time, even more
unsettling is why BATF was unable to identify the fact that it would not
meet its own deadline, and then implement measures to ensure the
problems gun purchasers and gun dealers experienced this week did not
occur.  BATF officials even went so far as to assure NRA staff during
the SHOT Show earlier this month that it would meet the deadline to
deliver the new forms.

But the failure to deliver the forms, and the failure to identify this
problem as the deadline approached, aren`t the
only problems.  Once dealers discovered they could not use the old
forms, and new forms were not available, BATF`s "solutions" created even
greater confusion.  FFLs have been told for years that they may not use
photocopies of a Form 4473.  But these same dealers were told this week
that they would either be faxed a "temporary" copy of the new form, or
they could print one off the BATF`s website, and then photocopy as many
as they needed until BATF could deliver the actual forms.  And to make
matters worse, the "temporary" forms are identified by a number that has
confused many dealers into thinking they can use their old forms.

Rest assured that NRA has weighed in at the appropriate levels of the
Bush Administration and with members of the U.S. House Treasury, Postal,
and General Government Subcommittee, which has scheduled a hearing for
BATF.  Be sure to contact your federal lawmakers to express your outrage
over the problems created by BATF`s inability to meet its own deadlines.
You can reach your U.S. Senators by calling (202) 224-3121, and your
U.S. Representative by calling (202) 225-3121.  For additional contact
information, use the "Write Your Reps" tool at www.NRAILA.org.

In the meantime, BATF states that retailers can now download the new
Form 4473 from the BATF`s website, and they have temporary approval to
use photocopies of the form-identified as the "10/2001 version of the
original ATF Form 4473 Part I, including instructions,"-until such time
as a supply of original forms is received, or until April 20, 2002,
whichever occurs first.  When using a photocopy of the new 4473, dealers
must provide their nonlicensed firearms customers with both the form and
its instructions while they complete the form. The completed forms and
instruction sheets must be retained in dealers` records for the time
period specified in 27 CFR 178.129.
To download the new form go to
http://www.atf.treas.gov/forms/4473instruction.htm.

NEXT STEP IN ATTACK ON PRIVATE TRANSFERS

It has always been clear to the pro-Second Amendment community that the
attacks on gun shows are merely the first step in an orchestrated effort
to outlaw all private transfers of firearms-including those between
close friends, neighbors, or even relatives-and impose a national
firearm licensing and registration scheme.  A small group of state-level
anti-gun organizations held a press conference on Thursday to publicly
announce the next phase in this campaign.  The group calls itself the
"National Campaign to Close the Newspaper Gun Ad Loophole," and seeks to
bring an end to law-abiding citizens using newspaper ads to legally sell
their lawful property-firearms.

This coalition masquerades as a "grassroots" movement, although it is
actually a handful of affiliates of the gun-ban lobby formerly known as
HCI, and is little more than a collection of anti-gun extremists that
receives funding from, and aligns themselves with, national anti-gun
organizations.  NRA will closely monitor the development of this
campaign, and we will be sure to report any significant developments.
The coalition`s timing is certainly interesting, as their effort to
curtail the private transfer of firearms occured at the same time BATF
was curtailing transfers through FFLs.

H&R BLOCK UNDER ATTACK FOR DOING BUSINESS WITH LAW-ABIDING GUN OWNERS

NRA, the nation`s largest pro-Second Amendment organization, and H&R
Block, the nation`s largest tax preparation service, recently announced
a program that will benefit both-and this has led to a small anti-gun
organization to call on its supporters to protest this union.  NRA will
receive a royalty for endorsing the H&R Block program and promoting it
among its members.  This agreement has upset the anti-gun extremists at
the group that calls itself Gun Industry Watch, a small "student
network" that is opposed to firearm manufacturers and their lawful
products.  Now the group is urging its supporters to threaten to boycott
H&R Block, and has even asked some to conduct a protest at one H&R Block
office in Washington, D.C.  If you wish to tell H&R Block you support
its decision to work with NRA, or if you need to locate the nearest H&R
Block office so that they can do your taxes, please call 1-800-HRBLOCK
(472-5625).  You can also send a message of support via the Internet,
using H&R Block`s online comment form at
http://www.hrblock.com/customer_support/submit _a_question.jsp.

A LOOK AT THE STATES

ARIZONA

On Tuesday, February 26, at 1:30 p.m. in HHR 4, the Committee
on Public Institutions and Rural Affairs will hold a hearing on HB 2346,
"Taxing Background Checks on Firearms Purchasers."  This bill authorizes
an unspecified tax to be imposed on all firearm purchases.  Call
Representatives Jim Kraft (R-18), Jim Carruthers (R-5), Mark Clark
(D-7), Sylvia Laughter (D-3), and Al Tom (D-3) at (800) 352-8404 and ask
them to vote "NO" on HB 2346.  In addition, the NRA-backed Range
Protection bill, SB 1008, is expected to be brought up for a floor vote
in the Senate.  Call your Senator at (800) 352-8404 and urge him to vote
for SB 1008.  

GEORGIA

Attorney General Thurbert Baker (D) announced last week that
the state will now recognize Right to Carry permits issued by Alabama
and Wyoming.  In exchange, these two states will also recognize Georgia
permits.  

MISSOURI

HB 1729, the NRA-backed Right to Carry bill, has moved out of
committee and will now go before the full House for a vote.  Call your
Representative at (573) 751-3659 and urge him to support HB 1729.  

OHIO

The House Civil and Commercial Law Committee will hear opponent
testimony (last week was proponent testimony) on HB 303, firearms
preemption legislation, on Wednesday, February 27, at 9:30 a.m., in Room
114 of the Statehouse.  Call your Representative at (614) 466-3357 and
urge him to support HB 303.  

RHODE ISLAND

A hearing on H 6866 has been scheduled in the House
Judiciary Committee for Thursday, February 27.  The measure, introduced
by Rep. David Cicilline (D-Providence), seeks to set up a "Gun Injuries
Task Force," run by the R.I. Dept. of Health.  Language in H 6866 states
that "the ongoing and systematic collection, analysis, and
implementation of outcome-specific firearms injury data is essential to
the planning, implementing and evaluation of sound public policy."  This
would give anti-gunners the ability to manipulate stacked
statistics-rest assured no statistics regarding defensive uses of
firearms are planned-to promote their gun-ban agenda.  Contact committee
members immediately and urge them to oppose H 6866.  For a list of
committee members and their numbers, please call the Grassroots Division
at (800) 392-8683.  

SOUTH DAKOTA

HB 1129, a bill establishing reciprocal agreements to
allow Right to Carry permit holders from other states to lawfully carry
firearms concealed in South Dakota, and vice versa, is on the governor`s
desk.  Please contact Governor Bill Janklow ® at (605) 773-3212 and
urge him to sign HB 1129.  

TEXAS

Early voting for primary elections in Texas begins on Monday,
February 25.  NRA members who would like information on NRA-PVF-endorsed
candidates in the primaries can call NRA-ILA`s Grassroots Division at
(800) 392-VOTE.  You can find information on early voting locations by
calling your county clerk`s office.

WISCONSIN

In an unprecedented advancement for the right of Wisconsin`s
citizens to carry concealed firearms for self-defense, the Assembly
Committee on Criminal Justice passed AB 675, the "Personal Protection
Act," on a vote of 10-4.  AB 675 now moves to the full House for
consideration.  Call (800) 362-9472 to thank the following Assembly
members for their votes in support of AB 675:  Scott Suder (R-69), Mark
Gundrum (R-84), Garey Bies (R-1), Jeff Fitzgerald (R-39), Suzanne
Jeskewitz (R-24), Frank Lasee (R-2), Gabe Loeffelholz (R-49), Carol
Owens (R-53), Wayne Wood (D-44), and Gary Sherman (D-74).  A special
thanks goes out to Committee Chairman Scott Suder, who sponsored the
bill and ensured it to came to a vote, and Assemblyman Scott Gunderson
(R-83), who co-sponsored the legislation and testified in favor of the
bill.  Senator Dave Zien (R-23) also deserves kudos for being a tireless
advocate of our right to self-defense.


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