I don't know if we have any members from Illinois or not but this is something all of us should be supporting. <TABLE style="WIDTH: 100%; mso-cellspacing: 1.5pt" cellSpacing=3 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #e0dfe3; PADDING-RIGHT: 0.75pt; BORDER-TOP: #e0dfe3; PADDING-LEFT: 0.75pt; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0.75pt; BORDER-LEFT: #e0dfe3; PADDING-TOP: 0.75pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #e0dfe3; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent">Fifty Caliber Institute Newsletter<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /> </TD><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #e0dfe3; PADDING-RIGHT: 0.75pt; BORDER-TOP: #e0dfe3; PADDING-LEFT: 0.75pt; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0.75pt; BORDER-LEFT: #e0dfe3; PADDING-TOP: 0.75pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #e0dfe3; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent" vAlign=bottom>Issue 2; Vol. 2</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>The Fight to Protect the .50 BMG has Started: In early March the battle to protect our rights as law abiding gun owners began again in earnest in the state of New Jersey with the introduction of a 50 caliber ban in the form of adding a new definition of a "Destructive Device" to an existing law. Senate bill 1498 and Assembly bill 3998 both add to existing law a new definition of what a destructive device is: ...(3) any weapon capable of firing a projectile of a caliber of 50 caliber or greater or, in the case of an antique firearm, antique handgun or traditional muzzleloader rifle, of a caliber greater than 60 caliber... and; ...This bill amends N.J.S.2C:39- to revise the definition of "destructive device" so that it includes weapons of 50 caliber or greater. Although it centers primarily on devices or instruments designed to explode or produce uncontrolled combustion, the current statutory definition of "destructive device" also includes weapons which fire projectiles of greater than 60 caliber. Under this bill, it would be unlawful to possess a firearm having a caliber of 50 caliber or greater. A person violating this provision would be guilty of a crime of the third degree. A crime of the third degree is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000, imprisonment for three to five years, or both... Illinois Follows Suit: At the same time the state of Illinois introduced two anti-50 caliber bills of their own. HB 873 was initially introduced as an expansion of their existing Assault Weapons Bill and it added the fifty caliber rifle (and many others) to that existing law. After a short period of time SB 1471 was introduced which is a stand alone bill just banning the 50 caliber rifle. SB 1471 Amends the Criminal Code of 1961. Provides that 90 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act, it is unlawful for any person within this State to knowingly manufacture, deliver, sell, purchase, or possess or cause to be manufactured, delivered, sold, purchased, or possessed any .50 caliber rifle or .50 caliber cartridge. Provides that these provisions do not apply to a person who possessed a prohibited weapon before the effective date of the amendatory Act if the person has provided proof of ownership to the Department of State Police within 90 days after the effective date of the amendatory Act. Provides that on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act, such person may transfer such weapon only to an heir, an individual residing in another state maintaining that weapon in another state, or a dealer licensed as a federal firearms dealer. FCI Joins Forces With Other Groups: Since before this battle began FCI has been working in conjunction with several other gun rights organizations to do everything we can to educate the legislators of both Illinois and New Jersey to the rights of law abiding gun owners. In both states we are facing tremendous odds simply because of the changes that resulted from the elections last November. Each state has Democratic majorities in both houses and are known for their anti-gun political posture. In IL SB 1471 has been voted out of committee already and can be brought up onto the Senate floor for a vote at any time. The identical bill HB 873 on the House side of the legislature has also been voted out of committee and can be voted on any time. During the week of March 19th both of these bills were intensely lobbied by many people within the fifty caliber community. Ronnie Barrett, owner of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing and Mark Westrom, owner of Armalite Inc. led a delegation of representatives from the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA); the ILA Office of NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to educate legislators on the real facts relating to the fifty caliber target rifle. On Tuesday March 20th they spent the entire day meeting with state senators in an effort to garner the support to kill this devastating piece of legislation. Each member of this delegation was present to provide information at the hearings on HB 873 on Wednesday morning. Regardless of the information presented, HB 873 and two other very serious anti-gun bills passed out of committee when voted on that day. Both of these bills now present a serious threat to the law abiding owners of fifty caliber target rifles in IL. These bills can be called to the floor of either legislative body at any time for a vote. Right now is the time for all gun owners in IL to get involved and call their legislative representatives and voice your opposition to these bills. We are asking everyone who is a member of a shooting sports organization to forward this email to as many email addresses as you can and to share this message on as many gun rights forums as you can. We need to send a crystal clear message to the legislature in IL that we will not tolerate another debacle like what happened in CA four years ago. Law abiding gun owners need to stand together on this issue and fight to keep our right to enjoy our sport. If we don't, the next rifle they come for will be your scoped deer rifle. New Jersey Bills: SB 1498 and AB 3998 in New Jersey have not been voted out of the Law & Public Safety Committees of their respective houses. FCI is working closely with Scott Bach who is the President of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) to monitor progress on these two bills also. These bills are written in such a way as to ban not only the 50 BMG but several muzzle loading rifles and the musket that won the American Revolution. The language in each bill is different but the goal is the same, it's to steal our rights to own firearms. The bills in NJ & IL are just the tip of a big iceberg that could seriously damage the integrity of our 2nd Amendment rights in those states. FCI Supports ISRA: If you are a gun owner in IL you need to join and support the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA). You can join simply by going to their website at: www.isra.org ISRA is the leading edge of the gun rights fight in Illinois and unless you support them they won't be able to get the job done. IL is under fire from some of the most vicious anti-gun groups in America right now and as law abiding gun owners every firearms owner needs to get involved to protect your 2nd Amendment rights. Join the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA): Like joining ISRA, if you are a fifty caliber owner you need to be a member of the Fifty Caliber Shooter's Association (FCSA). FCSA is not just for bench rest shooters. During the past four years the leadership of FCSA has opened one of the most interesting classes of shooting I've ever been involved in and that is the Hunter Class. The Hunter Class of shooting is shot from a bipod off the ground at extreme long distance and it has turned out to be one of the most challenging as well as fun events I've ever participated in. In addition to Hunter Class FCSA is already looking at the possibility of shooting at static targets in some kind of match format and I expect this class of shooting to be a very big hit also. They are making every effort to open our club up to every kind of shooting that people might be interested in. In addition to just being able to go out and join others for a good time shooting, if you are a fifty caliber owner and expect to keep the right to own and shoot your rifles the FCSA needs your help and support to protect our 2nd Amendment rights. If you are not a member of FCSA, just go to the FCSA website at: www.fcsa.org and print out an application and join today. You'll never regret it.