ATF Move to Ban 5.56 'Green Tip' Ammo Draws Fire
Reaction is strong and growing to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) maneuvering on behalf of the Obama administration to ban widely held 5.56 M855 "Green Tip" ball ammunition. The issue has caught political fire on Capitol Hill and is drawing the attention of the mainstream news media. This has occurred as tens of thousands of Americans emailed both ATF and their Members of Congress to halt this unwarranted action. Here is a summary of the activity:
- U.S. SENATE, HOUSE LETTERS SEEK ANSWERS . . . U.S. Senators late last week began signing on to a strongly worded letter to ATF Director Jones questioning the bureau's authority to end the exemption for 5.56 M855 ammunition under the sporting purposes test that has been in effect since 1986. The Senate letter, originated by Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), parallels an effort in the U.S. House of Representatives now signed by more than 200 members. The House letter calls into question the reasoning, manner and fast-track timing behind the bureau's recent announcement.
- NSSF SEEKS 60-DAY COMMENT EXTENSION . . . NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane has written ATF Director B. Todd Jones requesting that the agency's announced deadline be extended an additional 60 days for comments on the bureau's proposal. "Given the breadth of the impact this new framework will have on the industry and the number of calibers in question, we believe the 30 days allotted by the ATF is not sufficient for companies in the industry and the general public to provide meaningful comments and suggestions," he wrote. The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute also requested an extension.
- MAINSTREAM MEDIA ATTENTION PICKS UP . . . While the ATF action was covered heavily for several days by the industry trade and gun websites, as well as generating substantial traffic in social media, the mainstream news media awakened to the issue only late last week. NSSF's Larry Keane explains the industry's perspective in Friday's New York Times and appeared on the Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File" that night.
- KEEP THOSE EMAILS COMING . . . Industry employees, target shooters and gun owners should contact their Member of Congress and the ATF to oppose this unnecessary ban, which is truly a solution in search of a problem and raises serious questions about executive agency attitude and overreach. Stopped in their attempts to pass more gun control laws on Capitol Hill, this action appears to be the Obama administration's attempt to pursue gun control by other means. See the NSSF Action Alert and email ATF today. You should also email or Tweet your Member of Congress.
Setting the Record Straight
GUN CONTROL IS NOT A 'PUBLIC HEALTH' ISSUE . . . "Putting the emphasis on guns and not their criminal misuse remains the wrong approach, even if it is appealing to medical professionals and mainstream media reporters who have little experience with firearms or respect for the tens of millions of law-abiding, responsible American gun owners. Doctors should concentrate on genuine public health issues and there are plenty of those," NSSF Director, Public Affairs Mike Bazinet told Guns.com last week.
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- 47 ORGANIZATIONS ADVOCATE SENATORS CO-SPONSOR SPORTSMEN'S ACT . . . A coalition of 47 organizations, including NSSF and representing millions of American hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts, is urging U.S. Senators to sign on as co-sponsors of the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 (S.405). Recently introduced by Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) members Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Martin Heinrich (D.-N.M.) along with CSC Co-Chairs Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Vice Chairs Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), S.405 is a bipartisan package of pro-sportsmen's legislation that will expand, enhance and protect America's hunting, fishing and conservation heritage. NSSF is urging passage in the first half of the 114th Congress. A strong demonstration of bipartisan support for this legislation will aid expeditious committee and floor consideration of S.405.
- HSUS GETS THE BOOT FROM CPAC . . . The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), held last week in Washington, D.C., is the go-to gathering for those interested in conservative causes. The presence there of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) with its anti-hunting agenda made little sense — except that HSUS works to hide its true political nature under the guise of being a funder of animal shelters. In fact, this group sends next to nothing to local shelters. So when the watchdog group Humane Watch pointed this out to CPAC management, supported by NSSF, action was taken and HSUS was shown the door. NSSF frequently faces off against HSUS on issues from traditional ammunition bans to bear hunting practices. Separately, we are quite happy to have provided sponsorship support to CPAC.
- REGISTER FOR APR. 22-23 CONGRESSIONAL FLY-IN . . . Registration is open for the annual NSSF Congressional Fly-in, April 22-23 in Washington, D.C. This is a great opportunity for leaders from NSSF Voting Member companies and supporting distributor and manufacturing member companies, as well as leading retailers, to meet with members of Congress. At stake is passage of the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act, the industry's top priority, as well as defeating President Obama's regulatory gun control agenda. To learn more about the importance of claiming a seat at the table, watch this short video. For security purposes, a full agenda including locations and information on how to book a room in the NSSF hotel block will be sent to you via email after you register. Register today to attend this crucial Fly-In.
- CHARGES DISMISSED FOR NJ MAN WITH FLINTLOCK PISTOL . . . Cumberland County, New Jersey, Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae last week dropped charges against Gordon Van Gilder, the 72-year old retired teacher and military academy graduate whose arrest by Cumberland County's sheriff for possession of an 18th century flintlock pistol made international news. Under the state's gun laws, possession of the antique pistol was a "crime" carrying up to 10 years in prison. According to a news article, a state lawmaker will introduce a bill that would exempt firearms made before 1898, aligning state law with a federal statute.
For more Government Relations news, read NSSF's latest Government Relations Update.
- COURT DENIES REHEARING IN EPA AMMO BAN SUIT . . . Anti-hunting groups suffered another defeat last week when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Center for Biological Diversity's request for rehearing of the court's decision not to ban traditional lead ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The court issued a one-sentence order rejecting the lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency. NSSF defended the interests of the firearms and ammunition industry in the suit, which if allowed to move forward, would have had far-reaching consequences for sportsmen, gun owners, law enforcement, the military and conservation funding.
- FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES CALIF. GUN LAW CHALLENGE . . . A California federal district court last week dismissed a challenge that California's Unsafe Handgun Act (UHA) is unconstitutional. The court upheld the UHA as not infringing on California residents' Second Amendment rights and rebuffed the "equal protection challenge" brought by the Second Amendment and Calguns Foundations. The UHA prohibits the manufacture, sale, gifting or lending of any handgun in California that does not meet four requirements — including the microstamping requirement NSSF is separately challenging in state court. The court ignored plaintiffs' argument that inherent in the right to keep and bear arms there must also be a corresponding ability to acquire them, concluding that more than 1,000 firearms currently are available. Plaintiffs immediately appealed this order to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and NSSF will be closely following their appeal.
2015 Industry Summit
- POLYCASE AMMUNITION SPONSORS INDUSTRY SUMMIT . . . NSSF is pleased to announce that Savannah, Georgia-based company PolyCase Ammunition has signed on as a custom sponsor of NSSF's 2015 Industry Summit. Specializing in polymer-cased ammunition and injected-molded projectiles designed for extreme accuracy, high velocities and low recoil, PolyCase Ammunition products are 100-percent made in the U.S.A. The Summit will work to share dynamic models of success that contribute toward the common industry goals of promoting hunting and target shooting, discuss threats to our industry's success and explore new avenues of opportunities for recruitment and growth. Many sponsorship opportunities are still available. Registration is open for those wishing to attend the event.
Industry Compliance Conference
NSSF, ORCHID ADVISORS CO-SPONSOR COMPLIANCE CONFERENCE . . . NSSF is joining Orchid Advisors in sponsoring the annual Firearms Industry Compliance Conference, May 11-13 at the Marriott's Orlando World Center Resort. The 2015 conference brings together firearm manufacturers, importers, exporters, distributors, dealers and regulators such as the DOJ and ATF to answer the question, "How can I optimize compliance?" Larry Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel, explains, "NSSF is pleased to join with Orchid Advisors to co-sponsor this important and timely conference because it will offer the practical, operations-oriented solutions to our member base that we strive to provide." Register to attend. Discounted registration is available to all NSSF members. Highlights from last year's event can be found on the Orchid Advisors website.
- NSSF-ADJUSTED NICS BACKGROUND CHECKS . . . The February 2015 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,280,825 is the second highest February on record for the 16-year-old system, with an increase of 1.3 percent compared to the February 2014 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,264,010. For comparison, the unadjusted February 2015 NICS figure of 1,848,308 reflects a 10.9 percent decrease from the unadjusted NICS figure of 2,073,978 in February 2014. To learn more about last month's NICS report, log in to the member side of nssf.org.
- NEWEST NSSF SURVEY TRACKER AVAILABLE . . . The NSSF Survey Tracker is a monitoring service using an online panel of active hunters and target shooters. Sourced by Southwick Associates' online panel at HunterSurvey.com, each report features Market Snapshot, purchases made in the past two months, and Market Leaders, the top brands purchased in different retail categories. This edition posts Market Leaders for Propellant/Powder and Presses as well as responses to consumer questions on hunting and shooting participation. NSSF members may view, in addition to this latest edition (need Member login), historical survey trackers by logging on to nssf.org and clicking on "NSSF Industry Research" and then on "Survey Tracker."
- NSSF FIVE STAR RANGE HIGHLIGHTED . . . A Chicago Sun-Times story focuses on Maxon Shooter's Supplies and Indoor Range in Des Plaines, Illinois, receiving NSSF's coveted Five Star Range designation and notes that the next closest range to boast that title is 300 miles away and in Ohio. To meet the high bar established by NSSF for Five Star ranges, a facility must demonstrate excellence in all aspects of management and operations, achieving high ratings in appearance, management, customer service, amenities, customer development and community relations. The story includes a nice photo of Maxon's staff posing in front of its new NSSF Five Star Range banner.
- DID YOU KNOW? . . . Think your range is among the best? Here's your chance to show how good your range really is. NSSF developed its Four and Five Star Range Rating program for member ranges and only the very best facilities that demonstrate excellence in all aspects of management and operations qualify for this top honor. Learn more.
- ATF Q&A . . . As part of NSSF's mission to help promote, protect and preserve the shooting industry, we offer a 24/7 compliance hotline to our retailer members. Here are two questions asked during the numerous calls we received last week, both regarding proper forms of identification when selling firearms. The first question asks about the use of a customer's social security card without government-issued photo identification, and the second question asks about the use of a passport during a firearm transaction. Click on the links to get answers to these and many other great questions.
- PREVENTING EMPLOYEE THEFT . . . Theft of your store's goods (and sometimes its resources and funds) can happen many ways. Sometimes those thefts are sporadic, maybe even happening only once and with something that takes you a while to notice is gone. Other times it's a string of smaller, harder-to-detect thefts that, in time, sometimes months or even years, add up to a substantial loss for your enterprise. Bottom line, unless your in-house burglar makes an obvious mistake in his cover-up or alibi, employee theft is not always easy to detect. This NSSF Retailer blog post looks at some common theft schemes that have occurred at other retail business and provides a list of theft indications.
News of Note
- FEDEX REASSURES INDUSTRY IT WILL SHIP PRODUCTS . . . Following recent news accounts that FedEx had refused to ship one company's CNC machine, NSSF reached out to the headquarters of the shipping organization and received assurances that no member of the industry should have any concern regarding routine shipments of firearms, components or machines. A FedEx representative explained that the company in question's marketing language or claims concerning the capabilities of the machine had "raised red flags" and because FedEx was "uncertain" with regard to the legality of the claims decided not to make the shipment. NSSF was told that FedEx remains committed to providing services to the industry and no inferences should be drawn from this case.
- MARVAL HORNADY, CO-FOUNDER OF AMMUNITION FIRM . . . Marval Hornady of Grand Island, Nebraska, died Feb. 20 at age 102. With her husband, Joyce, Marval co-founded Hornady Ammunition in 1949. After raising a family, she was encouraged by her husband to become more involved at the company and did so in the early 1970s. When Joyce was killed in a plane crash in 1981, she took over as chairman of the board and secretary of the corporation, and with her son, Steve, and daughter, Margaret, helped the company not only survive but thrive to become the success story it is today. Marval had a zeal for community volunteer work and philanthropy, serving on the boards of many local and area non-profit groups and receiving many awards for her service. "I share because I have enough to share" was her clarion call. Read her obituary.
- KEN WAITE PASSES AT 71 . . . Kenneth Noel Waite Jr. died Feb. 27 after a long battle with Parkinson's and cancer, according to his obituary. A Connecticut native, Ken's career spanned more than 40 years with Remington Arms, where he worked his way up to become the Northeast Regional Manager. When he retired, Ken founded Stonewood LLC, which represented Remington and other sporting goods company products. A proud veteran, Ken was an outdoorsman, an avid collector of sporting firearms and memorabilia and served on the NSSF Board of Governors.
- ONLINE AUCTION TO BENEFIT HONORED AMERICAN VETERANS AFIELD . . . The North American Virtual Sportshow is holding an online auction for the benefit of Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA). The auction fundraiser, hosted by GunBroker.com, opened on Feb. 23 with three stages of auction items open to bidding for two-week periods. All auction proceeds will support HAVA.
- NSSF WEBSITE NOW AVAILABLE IN SPANISH . . . Responding to the growing interest in target shooting and firearms ownership by those who speak Spanish, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has made its website, nssf.org, available in a Spanish translation for the first time. Read the press release.
- FIREARMS INDUSTRY JOBS . . . Visit nssf.org/jobs for current employment opportunities in the shooting, hunting and outdoor industry. Employers: Log in to post a job opening.
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