June 2004

Downrange: 06/04

This issue was just so packed with gun and other equipment reviews, I ran out of space for Short Shots. Herewith, then, is an abridged version for this month:

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GUN COMPANIES WELCOME. The legislature in Oklahoma has passed an invitation for gun makers to open manufacturing facilities in what The Daily Oklahoman calls “this gun friendly state.” An editorial describes the joint resolution from the Senate this way: “The resolution notes that firearm manufacturers have plants in places that are ‘hostile’ to gun ownership. Why not move here? Lawmakers have asked the Commerce Department to develop incentives to attract weapons makers. Murray State College, the resolution says, already offers a gunsmith curriculum.”

Our Take: California, notorious for being increasingly anti-gun, better watch out. San Diego just lost the biggest gun in the NFL draft, Eli Manning, to New York City. What if the state lost Weatherby to Tulsa?

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FAST FOOD LAWSUIT BANS. The fast-food industry’s effort to shield itself from junk lawsuits similar to those filed against the firearms industry is moving along a very similar path, with several state legislatures banning such suits and a bill moving through Congress to do the same. The House passed the legislation by a vote reminiscent of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act’s success, but observers say it may face the same dismal future in the Senate.

Arizona recently became the sixth state to enact a version of Congress’ “cheeseburger bill,” while 13 other states are trying to pass similar bills before their session deadlines this spring. So far, 24 states, including Virginia, have introduced bills in the 2004 session that would shield the food industry from personal-injury lawsuits that blame restaurants and food manufacturers for consumer weight gain.

Our Take: If this food legislation doesn’t pass, there will soon be three-day waiting periods for Big Macs.

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K-NRA HAS A NICE RING TO IT. Refusing to be stopped under the new campaign finance law from exercising rights under the First Amendment, the National Rifle Association announced formation of its own news media unit, with radio talk shows regarding firearms issues and a hefty collection of Internet news stories at www.nranews.com/nra.html. Creation of a media entity allows the NRA to continue voicing its members opinions right up until election day, avoiding new restrictions on advocacy groups airing positions on candidates within 30 days of the election.

Our Take: It’s arguable that the NRA already qualified for the “media” exemption under the campaign-finance laws, but when your enemies can sic the government on you for expressing your opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry.