It has begun, a full counterattack to turn back the all-out assault against gun owners and the industry. While dealing with anti-gun/anti-industry attacks is an expected, everyday part of doing business, the assaults have grown to historical levels since December.
Encouraged by President Obama’s demand for greater restrictions on gun owners and firearms, the anti-gun movement rolled out long-held, highly volatile agendas. While Congress contemplated new laws, numerous states moved forward at a reckless pace. A number of other states are in the midst of enacting highly restrictive gun laws. Yet, the counterattack had begun.
The most significant victory occurred on April 17, when the Senate failed to pass several anti-gun bills. President Obama was furious and made it clear the setback “was just the first round,” but it’s evident the anti-gun/anti-industry movement has lost some of its momentum.
In Colorado, 54 county sheriffs have filed a federal lawsuit to challenge new gun-control laws. The sheriffs are joined by Magpul Industries, the Colorado Outfitters Association, firearms retailers, disabled individuals and other parties. The NSSF has joined the lawsuit and more lawsuits will be filed, likely beginning in Connecticut.
While these are encouraging developments, this is not the time to start a high-five party. The industry has done that too many times, underestimating the tenaciously rabid nature of those who do not believe in the Second Amendment and have great disdain for the industry.
If you are in the industry, or profit in any way from the industry, you need to be involved. If you’re in a state that hasn’t enacted restrictive laws, don’t assume it won’t happen. Regardless of where you live, contact your congressional representatives. Make it clear you expect them to support gun ownership and the industry — do not get caught up in passing “feel-good” laws that do nothing to protect Americans, but will criminalize lawful gun owners and hurt your business.
NSSF’s Fly-In Team Three includes (from left) Russ Thurman, Shooting Industry publisher and editor; Joyce Rubino, Colt’s Manufacturing vice president and CFO; Steve Hornady, Hornady Manufacturing president; Justin Moon, Khar Arms president, Guy Cornwell, St. Mark’s Powder vice president and general manager; and Thomas Loper, FNH USA vice president of military operations.
Letters, telephone calls and emails to lawmakers at all levels of government are important, but face-to-face meetings are significantly more effective. Visiting government representatives sends the message, “This is so important, I’ve taken time out of my life — and business — to meet with you personally.” Yes, visiting government offices takes most of us out of our comfort zone, but be assured anti-gun/anti-industry organizations have taskforces that regularly visit your government representatives.
In April, 43 executives from throughout the industry converged on Capitol Hill to take part in NSSF’s Sixth Annual Congressional Fly-In. I was honored to be part of the taskforce. In all, company executives representing 30 companies and backed by the NSSF’s staff, presented the industry’s position on numerous issues and countered gun-control measures that would be detrimental to business and gun ownership.
While the Fly-In was the largest in NSSF’s history, it should have been significantly larger. Thirty companies represented the entire industry, yet there were 1,600 exhibitors at this year’s SHOT Show. At next year’s NSSF Fly-In, hundreds of companies should be represented, including yours. Congress needs to hear from all of us — in person.
It’s the same in your community, county and state. We must mobilize all our forces in an all-out counterattack.
To stay up-to-date on legislative issues, visit www.nssf.org/ govrel.
By Russ Thurman
>> Click Here << To Read The Shooting Industry June 2013 Issue Now