The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has taken out a full-page ad in The Washington Post Wednesday directed to President Obama.
While most people are familiar with the National Rifle Association, it is the NSSF that is the trade organization for the firearms industry with a mission to, “promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.”
Currently the NSSF is hosting the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT) in Las Vegas, NV. The SHOT show will have upwards of 60,000 attendees this year and over 1,800 vendors. It is not open to the general public and attendance is restricted to industry professionals. Attendance is expected to set an all time record.
The letter comes after President Obama held a “town hall” on gun violence in America as a follow up to his executive actions on firearms.
“There’s a reason why the NRA’s not here. They’re just down the street,” Obama declared to CNN’s Anderson Cooper at the recent town hall on guns in America. When Cooper asked Obama if he would meet with the NRA Obama responded, “Anderson, I’ve said this repeatedly, I’m happy to meet with them, happy to talk to them, but the conversation has to be based on facts and truth.”
It is doubtful that the president would be happy to speak to any organization that supports gun rights. If he was interested in reducing gun violence he would enlist the help of pro-gun organizations that understand the problem and actively engage to find solutions without the heavy hand of executive orders.
The Open Letter to President Obama illustrates some of the initiatives the “gun lobby” has taken to improve background checks, enforce current laws, eliminate straw-man purchases and provide gun safety locks — over 100,000,000 safety locks provided to date as the letter notes, “without any taxpayer assistance for seven years.”
If President Obama is interested in meeting with the representatives of the shooting sports industry they are easy enough to find.
Here is the letter in full as it appeared in The Washington Post:
Dear Mr. President:
The men and women of America’s firearms and ammunition industry are profoundly disappointed by your statements that we stand in the way of improving public safety.
We are America’s gun safety experts, in the true meaning of that phrase. We provide the firearms to our nation’s military, law enforcement agencies and the civilian market for hunting, target shooting and self-defense.
Mr. President, we share the goal of reducing the intentional misuse of guns and enhancing the safety of our communities. We work toward that goal every day.
- We launched our FixNICSSM initiative in 2013 to encourage the states to report all appropriate adjudicated mental health and criminal records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. We have succeeded in getting legislation passed in 16 states to help enable this outcome. We welcome your administration’s attention to this issue.
- We are Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs). Most firearm sales at gun shows and over the Internet are made by licensed retailers and currently receive background checks. We support further resources for staffing and increasing operational hours for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to make the system more responsive.
- We have long called for effective enforcement of the many laws already on the books covering the criminal misuse of firearms and would encourage the administration to carry through on this directive. Our industry’s “Don’t Lie for the Other GuyTM” anti-straw purchasing program, 100 percent funded by the industry and run in cooperation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, would gain resonance through vigorous prosecutions of offenders.
- Through “Project ChildSafe” and our manufacturers’ new-gun sales, the industry has distributed 100 million free gun locks. Run without any taxpayer assistance for seven years, Project ChildSafe’s effectiveness is recognized by its adoption by 15,000 law enforcement departments nationwide.
- Our industry has never opposed development of “Smart Gun Technology.” We have serious concerns about the safety and advisability of the concepts involved. Accordingly, law enforcement agencies and consumers themselves will have to determine whether firearms with this technology “would be consistent with operational needs,” as your team points out. We oppose legal mandates for this technology, particularly since there are well-proven methods to secure firearms, and firearms accidents are at 100-year low levels.
Our traditions are strongly held, underpinned by the constitutionally-protected lawful commerce in firearms. Our hundreds of thousands of employees, and the families that depend on them, are not your enemies, and we deeply resent being cast in that light.