By Jade Moldae
In early April, executives representing firearms and ammunition manufacturers, distributors, importers and leading retailers attended the 10th Annual NSSF Congressional Fly-In in Washington, D.C. Attendees held a record number of meetings with members of both houses of Congress and discussed such matters as the $51.3 billion national economic impact of the firearms industry and presented firsthand accounts on how proposed legislative bills would affect business.
“This year’s NSSF Congressional Fly-In, our 10th, was important for us because with a friendly administration and a new Congress, we have the opportunity to make real progress in advancing our industry’s legislative priorities that will also benefit our member companies and their customers,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior VP and general counsel. “We were able to make the case to our lawmakers that our legislative priorities would help to grow business, create jobs and open up opportunities for sportsmen and women to participate in hunting and the shooting sports.”
Key Talking Points
The NSSF Congressional Fly-In served to inform members of Congress on several legislative priorities. Three of these priorities would provide immediate benefits to the industry:
• The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act (H.R.788, S.593), would give states more flexibility to allow for Pittman-Robertson funds to be used for the development and maintenance of public shooting ranges.
• The Hearing Protection Act (H.R.367, S.59) would remove suppressors from the National Firearms Act (NFA) and the purchase of a suppressor would be regulated the same as firearm purchase, including an FBI background check.
• Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R.38, S.446) would allow handgun owners who are legally permitted and authorized in and by their home state to carry a concealed firearm in other states.
Other important agenda items included support for the Sportsmen’s Act recently introduced in the Senate and advancing export control reform.
In addition, attendees urged senators to confirm Judge Neil M. Gorsuch as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. On April 7 the Senate confirmed Gorsuch as the 113th justice of the Supreme Court by a 54-45 vote, which was achieved after Republicans lowered the threshold on Supreme Court nominations to a simple majority vote.
NSSF Honors Legislators
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, was presented a 2016 Legislator of the Year Award during the Congressional Fly-In. Senator Murkowski worked tirelessly to advance the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act (S.405) in the 114th Congress. With a group of bipartisan senators, Senator Murkowski reintroduced the Sportsmen’s Act of 2017 (S.733) — which was approved out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee less than a week after introduction.
“Ensuring access to our public lands and keeping them open for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting now and for generations to come is one of my top legislative priorities,” said Senator Murkowski.
NSSF also recognized Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, as a 2016 Legislator of the Year. Chairman Bishop shepherded the House passage of the SHARE Act (H.R.2406), which would have included a number of legislative provisions to benefit sportsmen and women. Both bills went to a House-Senate conference committee where lawmakers were unable to come to final agreement.
“It is for Congress and the states to ensure hunters, anglers and shooters are able to count on reliable access to the lands they enjoy,” Chairman Bishop said.
Save The Date
NSSF has already announced the dates for the 2018 Congressional Fly-In, which will take place April 10–11.