Sunday Hunting Signed Into Law in Virginia
$120 MILLION ECONOMIC IMPACT . . . Gov. Terry McAuliffe last week signed into law legislation to allow Sunday hunting in Virginia. It's been a long road to repeal of the old blue law preventing hunting on Sunday, and an official ceremony is expected soon to note this accomplishment. The successful, bipartisan effort was achieved by the NSSF-led Sunday Hunting Coalition, which includes National Rifle Association, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops and Safari Club International, among other hunting, sportsmen's and wildlife management organizations. The legislation allows Sunday hunting on private land during designated hunting seasons by hunters who have the written permission of landowners. Virginia will see a more than $120 million annual direct economic benefit as the result of hunters going afield on Sundays.
- NSSF CONGRESSIONAL FLY-IN FAST APPROACHING . . . Industry leaders have the opportunity to make their priorities and concerns known during the NSSF Annual Congressional Fly-In, April 2-3, less than a month away. The Obama administration's Fiscal Year 2015 budget outlines priorities heading into the November midterm elections – and gun control is back. Rep. Nancy Pelosi claims to have the votes to pass gun-control measures that were defeated in the Senate on the very day of our Fly-In last year. Participation in the NSSF Congressional Fly-In is limited to presidents/CEOs (or a senior staff member of their choosing) of voting members and supporting manufacturer and distributor members. The NSSF Congressional Fly-In is a great opportunity to meet directly with senators and representatives to explain legislative priorities and outline the significant economic impact our industry has on their districts, states and the nation. For more information: 2014 National Shooting Sports Foundation Congressional Fly-In.
- NEW TERMS FOR NSSF BOARD MEMBERS; FOUR OFFICERS RE-ELECTED . . . NSSF has announced that six board members were re-elected to new three-year terms on the NSSF Board of Governors and that at the Board's annual meeting four officers were re-elected to new one-year terms.Read the press release.
- SIX COMPANIES APPROVED AS NSSF VOTING MEMBERS . . . At the recent meeting of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Board of Governors, six companies were accepted as voting members. The new voting members are Walls Brands, Advanced Technology International, AirForce Airguns, Zenith Quest International, Condor Outdoor Products Inc. and First Samco Inc. (doing business as Fobus Holster). "The financial commitment of these businesses, which contribute dues at the highest level, is welcome and much appreciated," said Steve Sanetti, NSSF President.
EARLY REGISTRATION DEADLINE APPROACHING FOR INDUSTRY SUMMIT . . . Spring is coming and so is the March 31 deadline for discounted registration for the NSSF Industry Summit. Fees will rise after that date, so we encourage you to register today to participate in the process of building a positive future for target shooting, hunting and the industry. The NSSF Industry Summit is slated for June 9-11 in Springfield, Mass., and registration is open to individuals representing hunting and shooting sports organizations, conservation groups, wildlife agencies and the firearms and ammunition industry. Register and learn more about featured speakers at the Summit website.
SMITH & WESSON AGAIN TOPS WALL ST. EXPECTATIONS, 3RD-QUARTER SALES UP 7% . . . Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (NASDAQ:SWHC) reported that third-quarter sales were up 7.1 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Profit for the quarter jumped 43 percent. "We maintained our focus on increasing market share of our Smith & Wesson M&P polymer pistol family of products and thereby delivered handgun revenue growth of nearly 30 percent, a solid result when we consider that the year-ago quarter reflected a surge in consumer demand," said Smith & Wesson President and CEO James Debney. The results beat Wall Street expectations for the fifth-straight quarter.
ATF ISSUES ADVISORY LETTER ON ONLINE SCAMS USING FRAUDULENT FFLS . . . The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) , concerned about the instances of individuals using fraudulently altered Federal Firearms Licenses to sell but never deliver firearms online, has issued an advisory letter. "To help you avoid this scam, licensees are reminded that only transactions between licensees require the furnishing of a certified copy of the licenses," the ATF reminds FFLs in its communication. Read the entire letter.
- FIXNICS UPDATE FROM SEVERAL STATE CAPITALS . . .
House Bill 1229, which will allow the State of South Dakota to submit mental-health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), passed the State Senate last week by an overwhelming 26-9 vote and is now awaiting Gov. Dennis Daugaard's signature. South Dakota is one of the priority target states in NSSF's nationwide FixNICS initiative.
NSSF-sponsored FixNICS legislation, LB 1035, has advanced from committee on a unanimous vote. LB 1035 will mandate biannual reporting of mental-health records by the Nebraska State Patrol to ensure the state continues to send the records into NICS. Earlier this year, NSSF was able to identify and thereby correct administrative problems affecting the submission of records to NICS. NSSF wanted to ensure the records continue to be transmitted to NICS and thus the need for this reporting bill.
HB 2246, the NSSF-sponsored FixNICS legislation, passed the House with no dissenters and has been transmitted to the State Senate. Last month, the Committee on Judiciary voted (10-0) in favor of the bill. Hawaii is another top priority state for the FixNICS initiative.
The Judiciary Committee and Management Council agreed to address FixNICS as an interim committee topic. The interim committee, while out of session, will develop a plan to address the lack of mental-health records being submitted to NICS. This development is a direct result of the FixNICS initiative. NSSF will be working over the summer to help with the discussion and public-policy concerns of the committee.
- MASS. GUN LEGISLATION EXPECTED BY MID-MARCH . . . After many months of hearings and analysis by a Joint Committee, the long-awaited legislation in the Massachusetts House of Representatives may be unveiled soon. Rep. Harold Naughton, the lawmaker tasked with the legislation, said he hopes to finalize a bill by mid-March, giving the House time to take it up before the annual budget debate. Chairman Naughton had waited until a task force appointed by Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo completed a study of the state's gun laws. The task force's report contained 44 recommendations to reduce "gun violence" to be incorporated into the legislation.
- ALABAMA LAWMAKER INTRODUCES SALES TAX-FREE WEEKEND BILL . . . House Bill 559, a measure to create a tax-free weekend for guns, ammunition and firearm accessories, would waive the state's 4 percent sales tax from Friday through Sunday prior to July Fourth each year. NSSF is in full support of this bill and will keep you posted on its progress.
URGE YOUR SENATOR TO CO-SPONSOR THE BIPARTISAN SPORTSMEN'S ACT . . . NSSF and a coalition of organizations representing millions of hunters, anglers, recreational shooters and other conservationists are at work on Capitol Hill seeking out senators to co-sponsor the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014 (S. 1996), introduced on Feb 4. The bill is sponsored by Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and CSC member Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Current co-sponsors include CSC Vice-Chair Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and CSC members, Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), John Tester (D-Mont.) and David Vitter (R-La). You can help by contacting your senator and urging him or her to become a co-sponsor of this important, legislation intended to preserve, promote and protect America's greatest outdoor traditions. Read the letter NSSF and others are circulating in the U.S. Senate.
- 'DON'T LIE' PROGRAM GETS NOD FROM MICHIGAN LAW ENFORCEMENT . . . NSSF's "Don't Lie for the Other Guy" anti-straw purchase public awareness campaign now under way in Chicago, as well as in Detroit and Flint, Mich., has been drawing interest from radio stations and newspapers in the region. The Flint Journal captured this favorable assessment of the program from Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton. "This educational campaign will assist law enforcement in stopping the illegal sale and illegal possession of guns by those who are banned by law from possession."
- SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS 'ORDINARY CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ' . . . Significant Constitutional scholarship followed by the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago have affirmed the individual citizen's right to arms mean, in the opinion of University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, "...we've reached the point where the Second Amendment can be characterized as ordinary constitutional law." While "ordinary constitutional law" doesn't mean that everything is settled, it does mean that questions regarding gun ownership, right to carry and similar matters are now dealt with in the same way that federal courts deal with other questions of constitutional rights. Read Prof. Reynolds' essay.
MT2 BECOMES FIRST RANGE COMPLIANCE WORKSHOP SPONSOR, MORE SLOTS AVAILABLE . . . MT2, provider of "firing range services, environmental remediation and construction services," has stepped up as the first official sponsor of the NSSF Lead Management and OSHA Compliance Workshop, scheduled for Dallas, Texas, May 18-20. MT2’s sponsorship brings with it a long list of benefits, of which your company can also avail itself. Learn more about the workshop and then sign up as a sponsor. Questions on sponsorships can be answered by Chris Tatulli, NSSF Director, Exhibit & Sponsorship Sales, telephone 203-426-1320 ext. 214.
NSSF-ADJUSTED NICS BACKGROUND CHECKS THIRD HIGHEST FEBRUARY EVER . . . The February 2014 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,264,010 is the third highest February on record for the system, even with a decrease of 22.7 percent compared to the February 2013 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,634,309 (February 2014 figures are a virtual tie with 2012 for the second highest on record for the month). For comparison, the unadjusted February 2014 NICS figure of 2,073,978 reflects a 9.8 percent decrease from the unadjusted NICS figure of 2,298,561 in February 2013.
NSSF SPONSORS AND PRESENTS AT QDMA WHITETAIL SUMMIT . . . QDMA's first ever North America Whitetail Summit March 3-6 addressed key issues impacting whitetail hunting and management. NSSF was proud to be a Platinum sponsor for this inaugural event and presented data on hunter recruitment and retention. This topic was ranked as the most important out of more than a dozen key issues voted on by the Summit attendees. NSSF reminds all those interested in hunter recruitment and retention that a wide variety of data on Best Practices for Hunting and Shooting Recruitment and Retention is available, free of charge, on NSSF's Best Practices webpage.
News of Note
- WORLD FORUM ON SHOOTING ACTIVITIES MEETS IN GERMANY, PRESENTS MISS KANSAS WITH AWARD . . . At the gathering of the World Forum on Shooting Activities, Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas and a Miss America finalist in 2013, was presented with the WFSA Vito Genco Shooting Ambassador Award. The presentation of WFSA’s most prestigious award preceded a panel discussion on Breaking Gender Barriers. Vail has been an ambassador for hunting and the shooting sports in the United States; she even opted to demonstrate her archery skills in the talent completion of the Miss America competition before she was denied that opportunity. NSSF videoed an interview with Vail, conducted by Rick Patterson, Managing Director of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute.
- GUN SHOP FIRST TO ACCEPT BITCOIN . . . A few months ago, Michael Cargill's firearms shop in Austin, Texas, became the first firearm retailer in the country to accept Bitcoin, the digital currency system, according to an article on Forbes.com. Cargill's even boasts a Bitcoin machine—only the second in the U.S.—that allows customers to trade dollars for Bitcoin, or the reverse. Offering Bitcoin has caused a surge in business both in-store and online, said Cargill. Read story and view video.
- NSSF ISSUES STATEMENT ON FACEBOOK POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT . . . Facebook last week announced a series of "educational and enforcement" measures covering discussion of firearms and other "regulated items" on its social platforms. Not surprisingly in our increasing social media focused world, considerable media interest ensued. Although the gun-control activists who challenged Facebook to take steps "to prevent illegal gun sales to children and dangerous people" touted these steps as a major victory, NSSF sees the social media giant as having acted mostly to clarify its existing policy with no effect on the legal commerce in firearms. Read the NSSF statement.
U.S. SPORTSMEN’S ALLIANCE OPENS WESTERN HEADQUARTERS . . . The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, a national organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers, has opened an office in Sacramento, Calif., which will serve as a Western U.S. headquarters for USSA and intends to play a significant role in protecting the outdoor heritage of California. The Western U.S. office will be led by Michael Flores, who, USSA says, has a long and productive history of serving California on outdoor-related issues. Read the USSA press release on its new Western headquarters.
- CRAIG MORGAN TO SERVE AS HONORARY CHAIR OF NHF DAY . . . Country music star, award-winning outdoor TV host and former soldier Craig Morgan will serve as the honorary chairman for National Hunting and Fishing Day. "NHF Day is excited to have such a diverse talent lead NHF Day as the honorary Chair," said Misty Mitchell, Director of Conservation Programs for Wonders of Wildlife. With the National Shooting Sports Foundation championing the concept, National Hunting and Fishing Day was established by Congress in 1971 to recognize hunters and anglers for their leadership in wildlife and fish conservation. Wonders of Wildlife now administers the celebration, which in 2014 will occur on Saturday, Sept. 27.
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