NRA’s 2012 Year In Review

National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association

FAIRFAX, Va. –-( Here are some of the top stories we brought you in the NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert in 2012.

With what will be a critically important 2013, we must increase our efforts to ensure we’re prepared to meet the great challenges we will face next year. We will continue to provide you with information in future Alerts to ensure our mutual success.

• Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder would testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about his role in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ now-infamous “Operation Fast and Furious.”

• A federal district court in Washington, D.C. issued a ruling upholding an Obama administration policy that requires federally licensed firearm retailers in states bordering Mexico to report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles.

• NRA vowed to appeal a decision by a federal court in Texas, which held that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect any right to keep or bear arms outside the home. The decision, handed down by U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings of the Northern District of Texas, came in the case of Jennings v. McCraw, in which a group of law-abiding 18- to 20-year old adults challenged the state law prohibiting issuance of concealed handgun licenses to persons under 21, who are treated as adults for virtually every other purpose under the law.

• In a move that stunned members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, Patrick J. Cunningham, cited his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refused to testify.

• U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding his role in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ gun running operation known as “Fast and Furious.” During the hearing, Holder continued to deny any foreknowledge of the botched operation. Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House committee, led the charge in questioning Holder on his involvement and knowledge. When Issa asked Holder if he had been briefed on the wiretaps presented in this case, Holder responded, “These wiretaps are very voluminous, read well kinds of things. I have not read them.” The U.S. Attorney General has an obligation to the American people to know what is going on under his watch, but throughout the hearing Holder continuously tried to distance himself from the activities of his staff. NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox wrote an op-ed for the Daily Caller regarding U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s appearance.

• NRA attended a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty meeting in New York City. The so- called “Arms Trade Treaty Preparatory Committee” was attended by almost 500 U.N. delegates and non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives. NRA was the leading pro-firearm NGO at the U.N. and continued its strong and clear position that any Arms Trade Treaty must in no way impact gun owners’ rights.

• An NRA-supported case ended in victory for residents of the District of Columbia’s public housing system, as the D.C. Housing Authority finally changed its lease provisions to allow lawful gun possession in its properties. The D.C. Council’s Committee on the Judiciary began work on a bill to roll back a few of the most extreme provisions of the District’s post-Heller anti-gun laws. The version of the bill passed by the committee would eliminate the District’s mandatory five-hour training requirement (including one hour of live fire). Instead, would-be gun owners would only have to watch a video presentation on gun safety—an easier alternative that even the District’s police department had favored all along. Among other changes, the bill would also end the requirement that handguns registered in the District be test-fired for ballistic identification, a requirement that has proved useless in the handful of states that have imposed it, and postpone the implementation of a California-style “microstamping” requirement.

• The Washington state Supreme Court declined to review an October decision by the state Court of Appeals, reaffirming that the gun ban in Seattle’s parks is illegal. This order marks a final victory for Seattle-area gun owners, the National Rifle Association, and the Second Amendment Foundation, who had joined together to block enforcement of the ban.

• A federal judge ruled a key portion of Maryland’s gun laws unconstitutional. Judge Benson Everett Legg declared that Maryland’s requirement for a “good and substantial reason” to obtain a concealed-carry permit violates the Second Amendment protection of the right to keep and bear arms.

• U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced Senate Bill 2213, the “Respecting States’ Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.” NRA strongly supports this measure. Under this self-defense bill, an individual who has met the requirements for a carry permit, or who is otherwise allowed by state law to carry a handgun, would be authorized to carry a handgun in any other state that issues such permits or does not prohibit concealed carry, subject to the laws of the state in which it is carried.

• A video from 1995 surfaced featuring U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder–who was then the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia–saying that he supported using Hollywood, the media and government officials in order to “really brainwash people” into opposing firearm ownership. NRA has been saying for years that Attorney General Eric Holder, our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, is an antigun extremist. He’s been toeing the Obama antigun ideological line for his entire life, and now the video provides more evidence.

• A federal district court in Illinois wrongly ruled that the Second Amendment does not protect a right to carry firearms for self-protection outside the home. The NRA funded this challenge to Illinois’ ban on citizens’ ability to carry firearms legally outside their homes and businesses for self-defense, and will also be supporting an immediate appeal to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals–and to the Supreme Court if necessary. The decision in the case of Shepard v. Madigan misread the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment decisions and will continue to deprive law-abiding Illinoisans of the right to protect themselves effectively against crime on the streets.

• The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously denied an attempt by Cook County, Ill., to dismiss a challenge to the county’s California-style ban on countless types of common semi-automatic firearms. The National Rifle Association supported the case brought by the NRA’s state affiliate, the Illinois State Rifle Association.

• Mexican president Felipe Calderon continued Mexico’s tradition of blaming America for its self-induced problems, and continued his personal habit of blaming America’s gun laws for the fact that his policies have failed to dismantle Mexico’s drug cartels and, regrettably, that his failure has contributed to a severe increase in murders in Mexico. At a White House news conference held in conjunction with his meeting with President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, Calderon essentially repeated the claim he made during a speech to Congress in 2010, that Mexico’s murder rate increased when the U.S. “assault weapon” ban expired. Through a translator, Calderon said that “The expiring of the assault weapons ban in the year 2004 coincided almost exactly with the beginning of the harshest — the harshest — period of violence we’ve ever seen.”

• The Canadian Senate voted 50-27 to abolish their useless long-gun registry. The passage of Bill C-19 means that registration records for seven million ordinary long guns are to be destroyed.

• The Environmental Protection Agency denied for the second time a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and other anti-hunting groups asking the EPA to impose a nationwide ban on the use of ammunition containing lead. The petition was essentially a repetition of a similar petition submitted by the CBD in 2010. The EPA found that the new petition was “almost identical” to the earlier petition, had no “substantive difference,” and “contains no new information” as compared to the earlier petition.

• H.R. 4089, the “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012”, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 274 to 146. This bill will protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting. H.R. 4089 is a compilation of four different bills.

• Anti-gun Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) put a “hold” on the “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012”, and the “Respecting States’ Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2012”. In keeping with her anti-gun record, Feinstein took action in an effort to oppose the quick passage of the bills. The “hold” does not prevent passage of the bills; it just prevents the legislation from passing by an already unlikely “unanimous consent” vote. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Judiciary Committee Chair Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) Feinstein called the bills “dangerous” and said that they would “create potentially life threatening situations for law enforcement officers.”

• The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations approved, by a vote of 30-19, an amendment offered by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), to prohibit the use of federal funds to carry out the BATFE’s requirement that firearm dealers in the four southwestern border states file “multiple sales” reports on individuals who buy more than one detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifle of greater than .22 caliber in a five-day period.

• Rep. Darrell Issa–chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee–sent out a draft Contempt Order against Holder to members of the committee. The document makes a case for holding the beleaguered U.S. Attorney General in contempt of Congress due to his ongoing refusal to cooperate with the “Fast and Furious” investigation. While not actually citing Holder with contempt, the document does establish grounds for the charge. According to a release by the committee, the documents explain what happened in “Fast and Furious,” the hardships faced by the family of murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in getting truthful answers about his death, how whistle-blowers have faced retaliation for their actions, and the violent crime and narco-terrorism in Mexico that “Fast and Furious” has enabled.

• The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5326–the appropriations bill for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies fiscal year 2013–by a vote of 247-163. One of the most important ways that Congress has protected the Second Amendment is through a number of general provisions included in various appropriations bills, and 11 provisions to protect the Second Amendment were included in the bill.

• Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) announced that he will nullify the traditional ammunition ban in Iowa. In July 2011, the Iowa Natural Resources Commission (NRC) imposed the ban–after the topic was debated and resoundingly rejected by the legislature–following the enactment of the first dove-hunting season since 1918. The NRC slipped in the ban on the use of all traditional ammunition while setting bag limits and other regulations with regard to the reenacted Iowa dove-hunting season.

• U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), joined House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in sending a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder demanding full cooperation with the ongoing Congressional investigation into the infamous “Fast and Furious” operation, and the tragic death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. According to a press release by Rep. Boehner, the letter asserted that the Department of Justice has not sufficiently complied with a Congressional subpoena seeking answers on the operation, and questioned whether false information that was provided– and later withdrawn–“was part of a broader effort by your Department to obstruct a Congressional investigation.”

• The Bureau of Land Management announced that it was abandoning the effort to ban recreational shooting on the Sonoran Desert National Monument in Arizona. BLM released a new proposed management plan that protects “monument objects and values” through best management practices, but does not close the monument to shooters. This announcement is a major victory for gun owners, as it reversed BLM’s intent to close the half million-acre SDNM to recreational shooting. The original SDNM plan mirrored BLM’s decision last year to drive shooters out of the Ironwood Forest National Monument, also in Arizona.

• During consideration of the Fiscal Year 2013 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, Senator Moran (R-Kan.) took additional steps to safeguard our rights and joined Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) in offering an amendment to protect the rights of American gun owners from being undermined by the proposed Arms Trade Treaty. The amendment passed by a voice vote. The amendment will block any taxpayer dollars from being used to advocate or agree to any provision that would restrict in any way the rights of United States citizens under the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or that would otherwise regulate the domestic manufacture, importation, assembly, possession, use, transfer or purchase of firearms, ammunition or related items.

• An en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling in Nordyke v. King. The Court ruled that it would hold the County to its concession that the gun show promoter plaintiffs could hold a gun show on the Alameda County fairgrounds property, so long as the guns were secured to the exhibit tables with a wire cable.

• The Louisiana Senate passed Senate Bill 303, a constitutional amendment protecting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, by a 34 to 4 vote. This bill previously passed in the state House by a 77 to 22, and will now be placed on the ballot in November for voters to ratify.

• Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) won the recall election for Governor in Wisconsin defeating rabidly anti-gun Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Scott Walker has proven his dedication to the Second Amendment by signing into law Right-to-Carry legislation, castle doctrine legislation, and the Hunting Heritage Act during his short tenure as Wisconsin’s chief executive. Scott Walker also supported statewide preemption of firearm laws and an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution guaranteeing the individual right to keep and bear arms. NRA was fully vested in this race with a comprehensive campaign that included tens of millions of online ads and hundreds of thousands of television, radio and print ads. The media campaign was also supplemented by a concentrated advocacy and Get-Out-The-Vote phone and mail program. All-in-all, almost two million pieces of advocacy mail were sent and phone calls made in this remarkable victory for freedom. NRA’s media campaign was complemented with a strong grassroots effort, utilizing Campaign Field Representatives to conduct literature drops, canvassing and volunteer efforts across the state in the months before the election.

• The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that it is unconstitutional for Chicago to treat people with non-violent misdemeanor convictions the same as convicted felons. The NRA-supported case, Gowder v. Chicago, involves plaintiff Shawn Gowder, who was convicted as a first-time offender for mere possession of a firearm in violation of Illinois law in 1995. His misdemeanor record did not block him from getting a state Firearm Owner’s Identification card, so he could still legally possess a gun in Illinois.

• The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution holding Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents about his department’s response to the “Fast and Furious” operation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The resolution passed by a bipartisan vote of 255 to 67.

• As called for in a resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2009, a conference began in New York City to draft the treaty’s language. The United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty is one of the most serious threats to American gun owners in decades. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre addressed the conference and made the position of the NRA and American gun owners crystal clear: No treaty that includes civilian arms is acceptable. This speech is the culmination of nearly 20 years of NRA involvement in U.N. gun control issues in general, and the push for an Arms Trade Treaty in particular. The Conference on the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (U.N. ATT) breaks down and will not report a draft treaty to the member nations. This is a big victory for American gun owners, and the NRA is being widely credited for killing the U.N. ATT.

• The U.S. Government Accountability Office confirms that the number of Americans exercising the right to carry firearms for personal protection is skyrocketing. GAO investigators gathered information from state authorities nationwide about the number of permits issued, eligibility requirements for those permits, and the extent to which states recognize permits issued by other states. The researchers also conducted a more in-depth review of nine selected states. While information on eligibility requirements and reciprocity is easily available online (for example, on NRA-ILA’s “Gun Laws” page), some of the statistical information in the report is remarkable. With hard numbers or estimates from all but three of the 49 states that have laws allowing for issuance of carry permits, the GAO reports that there were about 8 million active permits in the United States as of December 31, 2011. That’s about a million more than previous estimates by scholars.

• In their latest attempt to protect whistleblowers from BATFE reprisal, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent a letter to BATFE Acting Director B. Todd Jones, asking him to clarify the comments he made in a video message sent to agency employees. In the video, entitled “Choices and Consequences,” Jones states, “Choices and consequences mean, simply, that if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences.” In their letter, the lawmakers told Jones that his message “could be interpreted as a threat” to whistleblowers, and reminded him that BATFE employees have the “right to talk to Congress and provide Congress with information free and clear of agency interference or retaliation”–a right expressly protected by federal law.

• U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation that would impose sweeping new–and not so new–restrictions on ammunition sales. The bills, S. 3458 and H.R. 6241, are known as the “Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act.” The bill itself has four elements: (1) A federal licensing requirement for ammunition sellers; (2) Recordkeeping on all ammunition sales; (3) Reporting of all sales of more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition to anyone without a federal firearms license within five consecutive business days; and (4) A photo identification requirement for all non-licensees buying ammunition, “effectively banning the online or mail order purchase of ammo by regular civilians.”

• NRA offers its sincere congratulations to shotgunner Kimberly Rhode, who, on July 29, won a gold medal in women’s skeet shooting, becoming the first American to win individual medals in five straight Olympics. In her dominating win on Sunday, Rhode tied a world record with 99 points out of a possible 100. Rhode’s Olympic journey began in 1996 at the Atlanta Summer Games, where she won in double trap. She went on to medal in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, and, now, London.

• A U.S. government report disclosed that Mexican drug cartel operatives used a firearm from the infamous scheme in a failed attempt to assassinate a high-ranking Mexican law enforcement official.

• The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform filed a civil lawsuit seeking to circumvent President Obama’s executive privilege claim and force the Department of Justice to hand over subpoenaed documents.

• BATFE’s William McMahon, who, as the agency’s Assistant Deputy Director for Field Operations approved its catastrophic and deadly “Fast and Furious” operation, is being allowed to receive his six-figure federal paycheck for nearly half a year, while working full-time as investment bank J. P. Morgan’s executive director for global security and investments in the Philippines. As the Washington Post reports, “McMahon was one of five ATF officials recently singled out in a congressional report on the botched gun operation. The report alleged that McMahon knew that no safeguards were in place to prevent a large number of guns from getting into Mexico, but he made no effort to stop them.” Fox News says “The [double-dipping, two-paycheck] arrangement allows McMahon to retire [from the BATFE] in December with a full government pension.”

• The Springfield, Illinois, State Journal-Register reported that the state’s attorney in McLean County (Bloomington area) announced that he would not enforce certain Illinois gun control laws that violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In particular, the county’s top prosecutor, Ronald Dozier, singled out the Illinois law that requires a person to possess a Firearm Owners Identification Card to be able to buy a gun.

• Included in the 2012 Republican platform is a strong statement of support for the individual right to keep and bear arms, which goes beyond a generic statement of support for the Second Amendment and includes specific statements on key issues of concern to gun owners. The inclusion of specific issues, such as the right to self-defense, opposition to the semi-auto ban, and support for interstate Right-to-Carry reciprocity makes this the most pro-Second Amendment position ever included in a major party platform. The NRA commends the GOP for taking a strong and unambiguous stance in support of our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms.

• Democrats release their platform language on firearms: “We recognize that the individual right to bear arms is an important part of the American tradition, and we will preserve Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. We believe that the right to own firearms is subject to reasonable regulation. We understand the terrible consequences of gun violence; it serves as a reminder that life is fragile, and our time here is limited and precious. We believe in an honest, open national conversation about firearms. We can focus on effective enforcement of existing laws, especially strengthening our background check system, and we can work together to enact commonsense improvements–like reinstating the assault weapons ban and closing the gun show loophole–so that guns do not fall into the hands of those irresponsible, law-breaking few.” As if to signal that the Democratic Party is ready to follow Obama’s lead on the issue, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.) announced in her keynote speech to the convention’s California delegation that she intends to reintroduce an “updated” version of the 1994-2004 “assault weapons” and “large” magazines ban.

• The Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the “Fast and Furious” scandal was released, and while it found 14 officials from the department and its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives responsible for the reckless program, it failed, unfortunately, to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. responsible for the actions of those under his supervision. The report provides a valuable account of the operation and the department’s response, concluding that the operation “quickly grew into an investigation that lacked realistic objectives, did not have appropriate supervision within ATF or the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and failed to adequately assess the public safety consequences” of letting guns flow freely into Mexico.

• To take a closer look at where Obama stands on issues related to the Second Amendment, NRA-PVF unveiled– The website is loaded with features and information that helps educate Second Amendment advocates.

• The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund announced its endorsement of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for President and Vice President. NRA’s Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, and NRA-ILA Executive Director, Chris W. Cox, made the announcement in Fishersville, Virginia, during a rally with both Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) in attendance. Also attending, and performing at the press conference, was country music superstar and NRA Life Member Trace Adkins.

• Cook County, Illinois Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced plans to penalize, through taxation, the sale of guns and ammunition sold in the City of Chicago and its suburbs. The intent and consequence of this measure will be to drive up the price of guns and ammunition, thereby burdening law-abiding gun owners and impeding their fundamental right to self-defense.

• A ruling by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the federal law that bans dealer sales of handguns to law-abiding adults between the ages of 18 and 20. The decision, in the case of National Rifle Association v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, involved a challenge to the law by several young adults, joined by the NRA on behalf of its members in the same age group. In our briefs, we pointed out that the age limit is inconsistent with the laws America’s founders passed, and with court decisions interpreting other constitutional rights such as the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. Most important, though, is that the age limit is inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which found that the Second Amendment protects the right of “all Americans” to keep and bear arms—handguns in particular—for self-defense. But under the Fifth Circuit’s ruling, lawful young adults can only exercise the right to possess handguns by obtaining them through gifts or other transfers that are, ironically, far less regulated at the federal level than dealer sales.

• A key “Fast and Furious” whistleblower, John Dodson, called on Fortune Magazine to retract a story on the scandal that the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report showed to be full of inaccuracies. Agent Dodson took the additional step of suing Time, Inc, the owner of Fortune, for libel. The suit claims that the article is “fictitious in the sense that it contains facts that Defendant knew to be false prior to publication.”

• The second of three parts of the joint staff report on the “Fast and Furious” scandal was released by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. While the first report looked at the actions of those who actually implemented the disastrous program, this report focused on the management and oversight of the operation by senior Department of Justice officials–or, to put it more accurately, the lack of management and oversight by those officials. The report outlined how the administration’s policy decisions set the stage for “Fast and Furious”.

• The FBI released its Crime in the United States report for 2011. For the 18th time in the last 20 years, the nation’s violent crime rate has gone down. In 2011, as compared to 2010, the total violent crime rate decreased 4.3 percent, to a 41-year low, down 49 percent since the all-time high in 1991. The murder rate decreased 2.1 percent, to a 48-year low, down 52 percent since 1991. Meanwhile during the last 20 years, the number of privately-owned guns has risen by about 130 million, including several million “assault weapons,” about 60 million handguns, and countless millions of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

• Despite Obama winning a second term, congressional make-up as it pertains to the gun issue, remains relatively unchanged, and NRA achieves a number of victories on Election Day. Approved by 74% of voters, Louisiana now has the strongest state constitutional protection of the right to keep and bear arms in the country. Voters in Idaho, Kentucky, and Nebraska passed meaningful right to hunt constitutional amendments. We hired 25 Campaign Field Representatives (CFRs) in 13 battleground states, who in turn marshaled thousands of volunteers, who participated in precinct walks, volunteer phone banks, and marshaled support at gun shows. Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard, singled out the NRA’s work in a coalition of organizations as having “put together a massive GOTV effort focused on swing voters in key states” which “averaged 1.8 million phone calls per day in recent days.” In the races in which CFRs were deployed, we were victorious in 70% of those races.

• Almost immediately upon his reelection, the Obama administration moved forward with its plans to support a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. On Wednesday November 7, the U.S. Mission to the U.N. made clear its support for renewed ATT negotiations, casting a vote in favor of resolution A/C.1/67/L.11. The resolution calls for a “Final United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty” to be held in New York City from March 18-28.

• Anti-gun Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) staff met with the legal staff of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to discuss a new and very comprehensive “assault weapons” ban. According to a article, Feinstein’s rumored “assault weapons” bill “would ban pistol grips and ‘highcapacity’ magazines, eliminate any grandfathering, and would ban sales of ‘weapons in possession.'”

• The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that Illinois’ total ban on carrying firearms for self-defense outside the home or business is unconstitutional. The case involves lead plaintiff Mary Shepard, an Illinois resident and a trained gun owner, who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun in both Utah and Florida. The National Rifle Association is funding this case. The Illinois State Rifle Association is a co-plaintiff in this case.

• NBC sportscaster Bob Costas deservedly came under fire for a “sports commentary”, where he blamed the tragic murder-suicide committed by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher on America’s “gun culture.” Costas shamefully exploited the tragedy in order to espouse his views on gun control. The inspiration for Costas’ rant was the work of columnist Jason Whitlock, who said, “I believe the NRA is the new KKK.” NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox wrote an op-ed for the Daily Caller regarding Costas’s ill-conceived rant.

• The nation mourns the horrific tragedy in Newtown, CT. While the gun-ban machine ramps up its calls for additional gun control laws, NRA calls for improved security at our nation’s schools and a renewed emphasis on the strengthening the nation’s mental health system and examining violence in our pop culture.

• Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)—author of the federal “assault weapon” and “large” ammunition magazine ban of 1994-2004—has announced that on the first day of the new Congress—January 3rd— she will introduce a bill to which her 1994 ban will pale by comparison. On Dec. 17th, Feinstein said, “I have been working with my staff for over a year on this legislation” and “It will be carefully focused.” Indicating the depth of her research on the issue, she said on Dec. 21st that she had personally looked at pictures of guns in 1993, and again in 2012. According to a Dec. 27th posting on Sen. Feinstein’s website and a draft of the bill obtained by NRA-ILA, the new ban would, among other things, adopt new definitions of “assault weapon” that would affect a much larger variety of firearms, require current owners of such firearms to register them with the federal government under the National Firearms Act, and require forfeiture of the firearms upon the deaths of their current owners. For more info, please visit

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military. Visit: