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NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert Vol. 11, No. 2

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NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert Vol. 11, No. 2


As reported in the November 21, 2003, issue of the Grassroots Alert, despite the support of the majority of the legislature, rank and file police officers, and the people of Wisconsin, on November 18, Governor Jim Doyle (D) vetoed legislation that would allow law-abiding Wisconsin citizens the Right-to-Carry firearms for protection of themselves and their loved ones.

It is regrettable that Governor Doyle does not trust his law-abiding constituents with the right of self-defense. This is common sense legislation that requires mandatory training, a permit from the sheriff, and a criminal background check. Even polls by Right-to-Carry opponents reveal that a majority of Wisconsinites support this law.

Fortunately, the citizens of Wisconsin have one more opportunity to let their voices be heard on this vitally important issue. On January 21, the State Assembly and State Senate are scheduled to vote on the override of Governor Doyle`s veto of the 2003 Personal Protection Act. Wisconsin residents are asked to please contact your Senators and Representatives and respectfully urge them to vote to override the Governor`s veto. You can find contact information for your Legislators by using the "Write your Representatives" feature at


In the December 5, 2003, edition of the Grassroots Alert, we reported on the case of NRA member Alan Newsom, a seventh grade student in Virginia`s Albemarle County Public School system. A lawsuit filed by the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund on behalf of Newsom charged that the student`s First Amendment rights were violated when his school banned him from wearing an NRA Youth Sports Shooting Camp T-shirt that he had received after attending an NRA-sponsored firearm safety camp.

On December 1, 2003, a unanimous decision by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a previous opinion by the U.S. District Court, and barred the Albemarle County school district from enforcing the dress code, which prohibits its students from wearing clothing portraying images of firearms. The Fourth Circuit found the Albemarle school dress code to be overly broad and likely unconstitutional under the First Amendment`s protection of freedom of expression. It applied Supreme Court precedent in the landmark decision of Tinker v. Des Moines School District holding that "the dress code can be understood as reaching lawful, non-violent, and non-threatening symbols of not only popular, but important organizations and ideals."

To punctuate its findings, the Appeals Court noted that the code, as written, would prohibit clothing displaying the Virginia state seal, the musket-toting mascot of one of the counties own high schools, images showing support for our military troops abroad, and the crossed-sabers logo of the University of Virginia. The court stated, "Banning support for or affiliation with the myriad of organizations and institutions that include weapons (displayed in a nonviolent and non-threatening manner) in their insignia can hardly be deemed reasonably related to the maintenance of a safe or distraction-free school." The court concluded by stating "it is evident that the . . . Dress Code disfavors weapons, displayed in any manner and in any context, and potentially any messages about weapons. It excludes a broad range and scope of symbols, images, and political messages that are entirely legitimate and even laudatory."

Trying to regroup and recover from this defeat, the school system subsequently filed a petition for an en banc rehearing of the case before the Fourth Circuit. On January 6, that petition was denied, sustaining the Fourth Circuit`s ruling that a Preliminary Injunction is warranted in the case.

This ruling bars the school district from enforcing its dress code as it relates to "non-violent, non-threatening and lawful images and messages related to weapons" pending a full trial on the merits.


The gun-ban group Americans for Gun Safety (AGS) last week announced that they had reached an agreement with Sports Authority retail sporting goods outlets to distribute AGS materials in company stores.

AGS may be desperate to attract publicity to their failing cause, but their announcement was met with surprise by the officials at Sports Authority responsible for the sale of firearms and ammunition. These officials later reported to industry contacts that any agreement reached with AGS was made by the previous management of Sports Authority and is no longer operative. However, at this time, NRA-ILA has not received a specific disavowal of the AGS announcement.

Rest assured that NRA-ILA will keep you apprised of any developments in this evolving story.


In preparation for the 2004 elections, NRA-ILA is hosting FREE Grassroots-Election Workshops across the country. These Workshops provide NRA members with training on what they can do locally to ensure pro-gun candidates are elected to office in 2004. The meetings also provide a venue for lawmakers, candidates, and their staffs to reach out to NRA members and explain their positions on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

The next Workshop is slated for:

Frederick, Md.? 1/24/04

NRA members who are interested in attending should contact the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-VOTE (8683) for details and to reserve their spots. NRA members who have access to the Internet can also go to to reserve their spots on-line.


Two of NRA`s State Youth Education Summits (Y.E.S.) will be held this April, the first in Harrisburg, Penn. (April 1-4), and the second in Richmond, Va. (April 22-25).

State Y.E.S. events consist of a four-day scholastic leadership program in the host state`s capital, where students have the opportunity to learn about their state`s history, tour the Capitol building, meet with state legislators, receive an introduction to public speaking and debating, and spend some time at a local range, among other activities.

One student will be selected from each state Y.E.S. program for an all-expenses-paid trip to the national Y.E.S. program in Washington D.C., this June, where he will tour the Nation`s capital, meet other students from across the country who share a common background in the shooting sports, make friendships that last a lifetime, and have the opportunity to compete for $20,000 in college scholarships!

We are currently looking for 20 high school sophomores and juniors from Pennsylvania and Virginia, with a minimum GPA of 3.0, to participate. If you know of students who would be qualified for this exciting program, please help us by telling them about this great opportunity. For more details and an application packet, please contact Lauren Eden at NRA Headquarters at (800) NRA-3888, ext. 1342, or via email, at [email protected].

Please call or e-mail today! Applications MUST be received by February 6 for the Pennsylvania Summit, and by February 27 for the Virginia Summit!


If you have an e-mail address, but you still receive the NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert every Friday via fax, we encourage you to switch over to our e-mail system. We can send e-mail at virtually no cost, while each fax incurs the cost of a long distance call, not to mention your cost in paper. E-mail also allows you more flexibility in relaying our information to others. If you would like to switch to e-mail delivery, just go to, then follow the instructions through the link called "Sign Up For Email." Once you start receiving our alerts via e-mail, please call the Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683, and let us know so we can take you off the fax system.



House Bill 1012, sponsored by Representative Ray Rose (R-58), was passed out of the House State Affairs Committee yesterday on a 6-4 vote. HB 1012 clarifies legal language contained in Amendment 22, the gun show law passed by Colorado voters in 1999. By changing this language, HB 1012 will help ensure that law-abiding gun owners and dealers can conduct business without inadvertently violating the law. HB 1012 will now be considered by the full House, so please call your Representative at (303) 866-2904 or (800) 811-7647 and urge him to support this bill. A special thanks to Representatives Rob Fairbank (R-22), Kevin Lundberg (R-49), Mike May (R-44), Shawn Mitchell (R-33), David Schulteis (R-14), Bill Sinclair (R-16), and Bill Cadman (R-15) for supporting HB 1012 in the State Affairs Committee.


The Hawaii Rifle Association (HRA), in conjunction with your NRA-ILA, hopes to once again push a Right-to-Carry Bill in 2004 requiring law enforcement to issue concealed carry permits to law-abiding citizens. In anticipation of this effort, HRA will host a one hour seminar on Saturday, January 17, at Fort Shafter, Oahu, to provide information to people, especially women, who are interested in testifying at Hawaii`s State Legislature this spring in favor of such a bill. There needs to be significant support for this legislation in order for us to ask our friends at the legislature to introduce such a bill in 2004. Without solid backing, we will not be able to get a hearing on the bill, let alone create a reasonable chance of passage. Your attendance at this seminar is critical in order to show that there is adequate support to warrant introduction of this bill. This one-hour seminar will be held on January 17, from 2:30-3:30 p.m., at Fort Shafter, Oahu. Please contact Max Cooper, HRA legislative chair, at (808) 261-8988 or [email protected] to register and receive detailed location information.
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