August 2004

Short Shots: 08/04

Legal Opinion: NRA Qualifies As Media Under Election Laws
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association of America has announced that a formal legal opinion asserts that NRAnews can legally and lawfully perform as a news media company and, thus, qualifies for the media exemption from campaign finance-law restrictions.

In part, the opinion says:

“We are of the opinion that NRAnews should be deemed a media company and therefore is entitled to distribute news stories, commentaries and editorials that both mention federal candidates and advocate the election or defeat of a federal candidate. Under the relevant campaign finance laws, media companies are permitted to engage in such speech without limitation. Although neither the federal statutes nor the regulations of the Federal Election Commission (‘FEC’ or ‘Commission’) define the specific characteristics of a media company, there can be no doubt that the National Rifle Association (‘NRA’) engages in extensive media activities. For over a century, the NRA has published magazines that cover a variety of subjects related to the Second Amendment and gun ownership. These magazines now enjoy a circulation that is greater than Newsweek magazine. For millions of Americans, these publications constitute an invaluable source of information and commentary about issues relating to the mission of the NRA. In the First Amendment context, the Supreme Court has emphasized the hallmarks of a press entity are ‘informing and educating the public, offering criticism, and providing a forum for discussion and debate.’ First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765,781 (1978). NRAnews engages in precisely such activity.”

NRAnews is currently broadcast live on NRAnews.com and SIRIUS Satellite Radio Network Channel 126, from 2 to 5 p.m. ET. The show is rebroadcast the following morning from 6 to 9 a.m. ET on SIRIUS Right Channel 142. Future plans will enable NRAnews to be distributed through a growing number of media vehicles.

Our Take: NRA likely qualified as a media outlet before it initiated its radio program. But despite this legal opinion, there’s no guarantee the FEC won’t challenge NRA’s “media” classification — mainly because anti-gun groups will insist on it.

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Discount Guns
The Rossi/BrazTech Youth Hunter Education Program is designed to allow certified Hunter Education Trainers to obtain firearms for training at a special price.

To apply, a shooter has to download a form and mail it to the company at the address shown on the form. You must also include a signed-in-ink original of the FFL to be used for the firearms transaction and a copy of your certification as a trainer.

Qualifying organizations are: IHEA, 4H, NRA and the Boy Scouts of America.

Upon acceptance, shooters may buy up to five Rossi long guns (including Matched Sets and Matched Pairs) and one Rossi revolver per year. All orders must be prepaid either by check, MasterCard or Visa.

To get a copy of the application form, log on to www.rossiusa.com and click on the blue hunter-education bar.

Our Take: Any time a company wants to promote youth shooting, we’ll give ‘em a plug.

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Bullet Production At Peak Levels
Dan Murphy, chief executive at bullet supplier Alliant Techsystems Inc., the U.S. military’s largest supplier of ammunition, says the company’s Army ammunition plant in Missouri has gone through its fastest increase in production since the Vietnam War. It has hired 1,000 workers in the past three years, and some production lines are running around the clock. Alliant said small-caliber ammunition was a major part of the company’s 37 percent increase in orders during the first quarter.

“Alliant is churning out 1.2 billion bullets a year at the Army-owned plant it runs in Independence, Missouri, but it already is working 24 hours a day. So the Army has given contracts for 70 million rounds each to Israel Military Industries Ltd. and the Winchester unit of Olin Corp.,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Butler, who buys bullets for all branches of the armed forces through the Army.

He said the first deliveries on the new contracts are expected next month. Col. Butler said he is trying to line up other bullet manufacturers for a total of 2 billion rounds a year of capacity, in case demand surges even more. For much of the 1990s, the military was able to rely on stockpiles built up during the Cold War, Col. Butler said. As recently as 2000, the Army bought 300 million to 400 million small-caliber bullets, he said.

Our Take: Increasing production is tricky because of the tight specifications for military ammunition. Alliant is looking into adding military production to a plant in Minnesota that makes hunting ammunition, and if other factories get involved in military ammo-making, it could restrict domestic bullet supply and drive up prices. But lives depend on military ammunition, so if we have to spend another 15 percent to buy a box of .223 Remington, then so be it.

Right To Hunt Initiative
Overwhelming numbers of hunters recognize the value of having gun rights enshrined in bullet-proof language in state constitutions — and that’s what’s happening in Louisiana.

The state moved one step closer to amending the state’s Constitution to preserve its citizens’ rights to hunt, fish and trap when Governor Kathleen Blanco signed legislation on June 9 placing the issue on the November 2 ballot. This legislation was introduced by Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-chair Senator Joe McPherson. Fellow Caucus member Representative Jack Smith spearheaded the effort in the House and the initiative passed both chambers without a nay vote.

McPherson said, “The language is consistent with the authority and responsibility of the Legislature and the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to protect, conserve and manage the fish and wildlife resources of the state.”

The proposed constitutional amendment is based on the premise that hunting, fishing and trapping are fundamental to citizenship in Louisiana — so much so that “Sportsman’s Paradise” is the slogan emblazoned on Louisiana vehicle license plates.

Our Take: Guaranteeing hunting rights helps fend off threats to that heritage by anti-hunting and anti-gun factions. Perhaps this is an idea that could spread to other states.

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Need 40X Parts?
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is selling Remington Model 40X Target Rifle rimfire barreled actions for only $275. These are .22 LR single-shot 28-inch heavy-barrel actions, no stocks. Each action has a bolt, front and rear sight blocks and functioning trigger group. All have been headspaced. The program code number is NLU R026HBBR.

Our Take: If you’ve ever wanted to build a prone gun for smallbore rifle competition, this is a cheap way to get started. Or use the action to make a heckuva squirrel/rabbit/plinking gun. Downside: At the time of this writing, there were only 79 in inventory. And once GT staffers saw this item, they wanted one, so make that 78, no 77, 76, 75...

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Holster Maker Fobus Announces Recall
Fobus USA is recalling two holsters made for Glock 17 and 19 handguns. The Fobus GLT series 17 and Series 19 holsters may cause accidental discharges when the pistols are inserted. The holster strap in early versions of those products could slip into the trigger guard rather than over the trigger guard.

To arrange for a free new holster, call Fobus toll-free between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST at (866) 508-3997 or log on to www.fobusholster.com.

Our Take: This is a no-brainer — if you own these products, get them exchanged ASAP.