LOCAL AND STATE
Dutch Volk is reported to have had a stroke. Gov. Pataki VETOES The FIREARM ACCIDENT PREVENTION INSTRUCTION PROGRAM, A2045 . Gov. Pataki's State of the State Speech.
Gore and Bradley debate. New report from the MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER: Outgunned: How The Network News Media Are Spinning the Gun Control Debate Congress to come back on Jan. 27th. Citizens Of America starts national pro-gun campain. Group sues Cities that sue the Gun Makers. National Shooting Sports Foundation forms PAC. Swiss Gun Maker SIG Plans to Sell Handgun Unit, Leaving U.S. Market. Gun makers halt settlement talks with cities.
1/19/00 Dutch Volk is reported to have had a stroke.
It has been reported to me that Dutch Volk has had a stroke resulting in paralysis of his left side. For those of you who do not know, Dutch Volk has been one of the main leaders in the fight to keep our rights. Please take the time to send him a card.
Dutch is in hospital in Johnson City.
You may write/call/fax/email Marion and Dutch, as follows:
600 Oakdale Road, Johnson City, NY 13790-4702
VETO MESSAGE - NO. 66
The following is the reason that Gov. Pataki gave
for his veto. I have left out the first section that describes the
law and only included his reason why he vetoed the bill..
...CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE INFORMATION FROM LAST MONTHS NEWSLETTER
I wholeheartedly endorse the legislative goal to promote firearm accident prevention. I also commend the many educators and local police agencies for their continuing hard work in teaching gun safety to adults and children alike. Through these programs, and others yet to be developed, it is my hope that we will eliminate the senseless and tragic accidents that injure or take the lives of our children and loved ones.
However, this bill is fundamentally flawed because it would assign to DEC the responsibility to develop and implement the new program. While DEC has an excellent hunting and rapping safety program for adults and young adults, DEC's existing program is taught by volunteer hunters and trappers. Neither DEC nor its volunteers are currently trained or equipped to provide gun safety or gun avoidance education to children. DEC is not the appropriate agency to implement a gun safety program for elementary school children. It is for this reason that DEC and the Division of the Budget recommend disapproval of the bill. Manifestly, the responsibility that would be imposed upon DEC by the bill should should instead be imposed upon the Education Department. Furthermore, the bill fails to provide the resources necessary for the agency to develop a new program, and also for the agency to respond to the requests for assistance from any pre-kindergarten, elementary school, youth program, summer camp or day-care center, as required in the bill.
Moreover, the bill is not necessary to effect gun safety education in our schools, Education Law section 809-a already authorizes school officials to include in the curriculum instruction in firearm safety. Because of this existing authority, and the strong commitment on the part of our schools and law enforcement agencies, local police officers currently are teaching personal safety and gun safety in schools throughout this state.
The bill is disapproved. (signed) GEORGE E. PATAKI
(NOTE: Please let me know if these links do not work.
They can be changed at any time and I would have no way of knowing.)
CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT BRADLEY WILL TRY TO DO.
CLICK HERE TO SEE BRADLEY'S ANTI GUN SPEECH.
CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT GORE WANTS TO DO. (skip down to #3)
By MICHAEL JANOFSKY
AS VEGAS, Jan. 18 -- Feeling pressure from a succession of lawsuits against gun makers, the trade organization that represents them is collecting millions of dollars from its members for legal defense and this week announced plans to support candidates and to lobby at all levels of government to fight greater gun restrictions.
Until recently, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, representing companies that make all manner of outdoor products as well as firearms, had steered clear of political entanglements over gun laws and elections, leaving the fight to the National Rifle Association, an organization of gun owners that has long taken the lead on such matters.
At the foundation's 22nd annual trade show here, Robert T. Delfay, the foundation president, said on Monday that his group would join the rifle association in opposing forces that favor more laws and regulations as a way to curb violent crime.
"Historically, we have not been politically active as an industry,"
Mr. Delfay said in a state-of-the industry address on Monday night. "That
must change and will change. This upcoming election will impact our industry,
and we must have an impact on this election."
(This is a long article so highlight the text, copy and paste it to another text program and change the font size.)
More than symbolic, Mr. Delfay's remarks reflected a major shift in strategy for the 39-year-old foundation, which represents more than 1,700 manufactures and distributors of things like camouflage outfits, telescopic sites and the most elaborate of handguns and rifles.
To this point, the foundation has concerned itself almost exclusively with issues focusing on how its members do business, like regulations governing sales, marketing and distribution. By comparison, the major thrust of the rifle association has always been the rights of gun ownership, most recently supporting the enforcement of existing gun laws rather than the passage of new ones.
While the two organizations have many interests in common, they diverge on some issues, with the manufacturers backing help to the federal government in tracking guns and exploring new technologies like so-called smart guns.
And now, recent lawsuits filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and more than two dozen municipalities, the first major assault on gun makers, have forced the foundation to assert its own political agenda rather than to rely on the rifle group.
As part of an initiative, many members are contributing 1 percent of their gross sales to help the gun makers defend themselves in the lawsuits, which are trying to force the companies to make safer guns. The money has been coming in since the program was announced at last year's trade show, and in an interview, Mr. Delfay predicted that the donations could reach as much as $10 million a year.
The recent threat of a federal lawsuit by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to force the companies into an omnibus settlement with the N.A.A.C.P. and municipalities has spurred further action by the industry group.
For the first time, Mr. Delfay said, the foundation has formed a political action committee to influence elections in November. He said efforts were under way to gather the names of customers from member companies to establish an initial list of 500,000 people who would be encouraged to support gun-friendly candidates for Congress and president, including any Republican who opposed Vice President Al Gore or the former Senator Bill Bradley.
In delivering the keynote address on Monday, former Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, an avid gun enthusiast, encouraged industry officials to get involved in the political process. He was especially critical of the housing department lawsuit and said: "You can do something about HUD. Get yourself a new president, and you get yourself a new HUD."
He slipped in words of support for two candidates, saying that nothing would be heard about gun control from George Bush and Senator John McCain, "so remember that when you waddle off to the polls."
It was an easy sell to gun makers in the audience, for whom the gun wars have become a growing concern since New Orleans became the first city to sue in October 1998.
Since then, 27 more jurisdictions have sued the gun makers, but some have combined efforts, leaving 19 actual lawsuits.
Of the four that have come before judges, three -- in Cincinnati, Miami and Bridgeport, Conn. -- have been dismissed. In a fourth, by Atlanta, the product liability claim was dismissed but a negligence claim was allowed to proceed. The other suits are still pending.
"My advice is stay the course," Douglas Kliever, the foundation's general counsel, told members, whose resources are far less than those of tobacco companies, which faced similar legal action from states. "Above all, do not panic in the face of this litigation."
>From the rifle association's perspective, the new efforts by the shooting group to exert political pressure can only enhance the power and influence of gun-rights proponents in months ahead.
"Any time an organization with the potential of the firearms industry can participate in elections, it is a great assist to everybody who believes in less gun control and more crime control," said James Jay Baker, the association's chief lobbyist.
He conceded that the two groups might disagree on some objectives, but he said the lawsuits "have certainly activated, invigorated and expanded the industry to look at the political and legislative landscape."
Besides threatening their business operations, gun makers here said the lawsuits have also made them a growing target of public disdain. Many blamed organizations like Handgun Control Inc., a nonprofit organization that fights for tighter gun-control laws, for orchestrating a campaign against them and distorting messages that stress gun safety and crime prevention.
"'We're a security company for cities, states and homes," said Ed Shultz, president of Smith & Wesson, one of the country's largest gun makers. "But we've been demonized."
As the lawsuits have been filed in recent months, individual gun makers have taken some steps like telling distributors not to sell guns at gun shows, as Sturm, Ruger & Company did this year, or abandoning the retail gun business, as the Colt Manufacturing Company has done.
Still, Mr. Shultz and executives at other gun companies said business had never been better. They said their opponents' efforts to pass new laws and file lawsuits had rallied their customers to buy more guns to show support.
"It's fair to say people are apprehensive about the future of our industry," said Jeffrey K. Reh, general counsel to Beretta U.S.A. "Having said that, many times in the past when the firearms industry has come under attack, we have not only survived but flourished."
Just how and when an agreement might arise between the litigants is unclear. Many company executives here said they did not even know what a settlement might include. Mr. Delfay and other foundation officials have already held informal meetings with officials from the housing department and cities that are suing to discuss a possible resolution.
In time, some companies might grow more anxious to settle than others -- at least that was the impression conveyed by Housing Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo, who has monitored the meetings.
"Keep in mind," Mr. Cuomo said in an interview from Iowa,
"there is no one group. There is a spectrum. Some are more responsible
than others. Some are more political than others. All we want is for them
to design and distribute safer guns. Nobody wants to outlaw guns. That
is not the question."
Switzerland's SIG Swiss Industrial Co. Holding Ltd. said at the industry's annual trade show here that as part of a larger restructuring, it will seek to sell its firearms businesses in Europe and the U.S.
Asked if the costs and risks related to pending municipal litigation against the gun industry in the U.S. played a role in the decision to exit from the American firearms market, SIG executive Dieter Strich said "a lot of factors" were considered. SIG's American unit has been named as a defendant in some of the municipal lawsuits.
Gun executives at the trade show said if the Swiss company can find a buyer, it would probably be another firearms company and the sale would add momentum to the consolidation of the U.S. handgun market. SIG, which says it has an 11% share of the U.S. commercial pistol market, declined to discuss potential buyers.
In a separate development, gun manufacturer H&R 1871 Inc. said it
would cease to produce handguns because of the litigation-driven increases
in the cost of product-liability insurance and shipping. H&R, Gardner,
Mass., had made a relatively small number of handguns and is primarily
known for shotguns and rifles.
Settlement talks between gun makers and municipalities
that are suing them have broken off because the gun makers objected to
White House intervention in negotiations that had been scheduled for tomorrow
in Las Vegas.
Gun manufacturers are blaming White House meddling for the cancellation of tomorrow's talks, saying President Clinton injected politics into the negotiations.
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