Industry Meets With Lawmakers On Capitol Hill
Fifty-five executives from throughout the industry converged on Capitol Hill in April to meet with lawmakers as part of NSSF’s eighth annual Congressional Fly-In. The executives, representing 39 companies, met with members of both sides of Congress to discuss key issues. These included the industry’s $42.9 billion economic impact, supporting Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, ending Operation Choke Point, advancing Export Control Reform and supporting a number of appropriations Priorities.
“The Fly-In brought to the nation’s capitol a record number of leaders from NSSF Voting Member companies, supporting manufacturing and distributing member companies and leading retailers. Participants described their meetings with members of both houses of Congress as highly productive with great interest expressed in the positive economic impact of the industry on the nation’s economy, as well as in the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, which is the industry’s top priority,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior VP and general counsel.
The NSSF Fly-In is increasingly important, according to industry executives visiting lawmakers.
“The Fly-In is significant for this industry. We are the voice of the industry, so all of the feedback we give and receive is vital to making sure the policies are sensible and unbiased,” said Wayne Weber, Heckler & Koch president.
Industry executives pause on the steps of the U.S. Capitol during the eighth annual
NSSF Congressional Fly-In, April 23. Comprising Fly-In Team Three (from left) are
Russ Thurman, FMG Publications; Kenny Barlow, North American Arms; Kevin Reid Sr.,
Ruger; former Congressman Max Sandlin; and Robert Cicero, Smith & Wesson.
“It’s important to show Congress a unified voice from the industry. We spend every day competing for customers but there are a lot of issues that are really key for all of us together to keep a vibrant industry. So, coming together and sitting side-by-side with our competitors and talking about those issues with Congress is critical to get our message through,” said Ryan Bronson, Vista Outdoor director of conservation and public policy.
“It’s important for us as a manufacturer to work with NSSF to further our cause and push for the political support we need to make sure our end customer can enjoy the shooting sports as they have in the past and hopefully in the future,” said Tom DeBolt, Benelli USA general manager.
DeBolt said “disruptive policies” was one of the key reasons he took part in the Fly-In.
“I think people who don’t understand our sport and what our consumers are all about make very broad assumptions, and assumptions are high risk. If you follow the rules of the Second Amendment and listen to the constituents out there who are hunters and enjoy the shooting sports then I think most politicians on either side of the aisle would be able to make the right decisions to support the end consumer,” DeBolt said.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) (left) accepts the NSSF 2014 Legislator
of the Year award from Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior VP and general counsel.
Luetkemeyer was honored for his fight against Operation Choke Point.
Bronson said it’s vital to preserve traditional ammunition.
“That’s an important part of our industry and it’s the lowest cost alternative for our customers, we want to protect that. Maintaining the ability to purchase the most effective, most affordable alternative in the ammunition industry is vital. Keep the EPA and ATF from over-regulating us so we can keep making those high-quality products available to consumers,” Bronson said.
For those who create laws, it’s important they know the impact such decisions have on arming the U.S. military, according to Weber.
“The commercial side of the business that many of these issues are regarding has a direct impact on the defense side of their business. Many of these companies, if not all of them, do business with the government, as well,” Weber said.
During the Fly-In, NSSF honored U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) as its 2014 Legislator of the Year for his efforts to halt Operation Choke Point.
Smith & Wesson’s Dinner Funds Charities
More than 60 volunteers braved New England’s wintry weather conditions on Jan. 24 to help generate $35,000 for local charities at Smith & Wesson’s annual game dinner.
This year’s sold-out event provided meals to over 500 guests, who dined on appetizers and entrees made from donated wild game. The Pioneer Valley USO in Chicopee, Mass., received $25,000, while $10,000 went to the Chicopee Comprehensive High School culinary scholarship fund.
Guests were treated to menu items that incorporated over 1,600 pounds of game ranging from elk to catfish, boar and antelope. The food preparation teams were comprised of local chefs and educators from the Chicopee Comprehensive High School, the Pathfinder Regional Technical High School and Westfield Vocational Technical High School.
“Each year our employee volunteers and the talented culinary educators from local technical high schools collaborate to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience,” said James Debney, Smith & Wesson president and CEO. “Thanks to the dedication of all these individuals and the generous contributions from our co-sponsors, vendors and sportsmen, this event continues to be a great success.”
Ruger Repurchases Stock Shares
Ruger announces it has repurchased 82,100 shares of its common stock in open market transactions at an aggregate cost of $2.8 million during the first quarter of 2015. The average price per share repurchased was $34.57. Ruger funded the repurchases, which accounted for 0.4 percent of the company’s outstanding stock at the beginning of the first quarter, with cash on hand.
At the end of the first quarter, $73.2 million remained authorized and available for share repurchases and 18.7 million shares of common stock remained outstanding.
CCI Packaging Wins Award
The Troy Landry, Swamp People Special Edition Rimfire packaging from CCI Ammunition has received a 2014 Award of Excellence from the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC). CCI’s custom packaging was produced by Sonderen Packaging, based in Spokane, Wash.
The PPC competition recognizes excellence in concept, design, print, performance and shelf appeal of paperboard packaging. Entries range from small, family-owned shops to major corporations, all weighted evenly, with the names of manufacturers unknown to the judges.
“Our Troy Landry Signature Series includes CCI’s proven .22 Long Rifle Mini-Mag, and .22 WMR Maxi-Mag, loads that Troy Landry, from the History Channel series ‘Swamp People,’ has trusted his livelihood to for decades. The packaging features gator-hide texture and eye-popping graphics that give the product genuine shelf appeal to entice consumers,” said Marty Zacha, CCI VP.