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April 12, 2011

Congressional Fly-In Brings Industry and Lawmakers Together

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) — the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry — hosted its annual Congressional “Fly-In” for executives from industry companies this week. The nearly 40-member delegation heard from Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Rep. Don Young (R-At Large-AK), Martin Heinrich (D-1-NM) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-4-Ark.), a co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Second Amendment Task Force, among other congressional leaders.

Private meetings with more than 30 legislators also took place, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and senior staff from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. Other meetings took place with Representatives Steve King (R-5-IA), Martin Heinrich (D-1-NM), John Carter (R-31-TX), Mike Coffman (R-6-CO), Steve Scalise (R-1-LA), Bill Young (R-10-FL), Bill Shuster (R-9-PA), Ben Quayle (R-3-AZ) and Paul Broun (R-10-GA), among others, and Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Richard Burr (R-NC), among others.

During the Fly-In many issues affecting industry were discussed, including safeguarding the rights of sportsmen to continue to use traditional ammunition, which anti-hunting groups are trying to ban; improving the ability of U.S. manufacturers and distributors to compete in an increasingly global economy while maintaining national security by modernizing the U.S. export control system that currently impedes business; and seeking a comprehensive federal study of firearms microstamping — a flawed and unreliable concept being promoted by gun-control groups. Participants also sought additional funding for the NSSF’s ongoing Don’t Lie for the Other Guy dealer and consumer education program, which has helped deter criminals from illegally obtaining firearms from retailers via ostensibly legitimate “straw purchasers.”

Commenting on the success of the Fourth Annual NSSF Congressional Fly-In, NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti said, “This was a tremendous opportunity for industry leaders to express their concerns and extend their thanks to lawmakers. Demonstrating a deft command of the issues, participants clearly identified those actions that needed to happen in order to keep America’s firearms and ammunition industry financially sound in an ever-changing global marketplace.”

As part of the Fly-In, NSSF ran ads in D.C. area publications reminding legislators of the firearm industry’s economic impact on the nation’s economy and the pivotal role excise taxes collected from the industry play in funding wildlife conservation throughout the United States — a message clearly received by members on the Hill.

“These face-to-face meetings play an integral role in policy decisions that impact the everyday business of the entire firearms and ammunition industry,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “Engaging legislators directly is a must, and industry leaders could not have done a better job representing their companies, employees and this industry.”

The 2012 NSSF Congressional Fly-In has been scheduled for April 18 – 20.

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