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June 11, 2024

NSSF Government Relations Team Profile: Diane Cihota Cashour

NSSF’s Government Relations Team is working hard on behalf of the entire firearm and ammunition industry, both at the federal level and at state capitals across the country. To give our members a better understanding of who is fighting for their businesses and Second Amendment rights every day, NSSF will periodically publish a Government Relations Team member profile. June’s NSSF GR Team profile is for Diane Cihota Cashour, NSSF Senior Director for Government Relations, Federal Affairs.


1) What is your favorite hunting or recreational shooting sports activity?

Any day I’m out breaking clays is a great day. We’re fortunate to have facilities right outside the Capital Beltway that we frequent with Members of Congress and their staff, to introduce them to the shooting sports. I enjoy witnessing the joy they experience being at the range for the first time, and it’s a reminder of how critical it is to continue pushing for increased access and opportunity (e.g., the NSSF-supported P.L. 116–17 and pending legislation to establish new public target shooting ranges throughout the U.S.) and to introduce new shooters to the sport because I’ve learned in many cases, including my own, it only takes one outing to get hooked.

2) How did you become interested in professionally advocating for pro-firearm industry policies and Second Amendment rights?

Before joining NSSF in 2016, I had the opportunity to work for U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, my hometown congressman and former NSSF Legislator of the Year and Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus co-chairman. I handled his legislative portfolio for the caucus. Some of the best times I had on the Hill as legislative director were meeting those in the sportsmen’s and 2A communities and working with them to address the challenges through the legislative process. It is where I first gained my appreciation for the industry and where I developed my love for shooting sports.

3) Describe your role within NSSF to the firearm industry community.

As Senior Director of Government Relations-Federal Affairs, I work alongside our small but talented and effective federal affairs team advocating for the industry’s priorities to Congress, and policy makers in the Executive Branch. NSSF is the voice of the industry on Capitol Hill, as well as in state capitals across all 50 states. We are a resource to lawmakers and their staff, assisting them with drafting legislation, preparing for congressional hearings, or helping advance industry-supported bills through the legislative process.

4) What is your favorite aspect of your role with NSSF while interacting with industry partners?

It can be difficult for lawmakers and their staff to fully comprehend the consequences legislative efforts could have on their constituents. Getting to know each of our member companies and connecting them directly with their Congressional representatives makes it more personal and helps us to be better advocates for policies that affect the industry. It has also helped me gain a better understanding of the diverse cross section of companies in our industry, and the products they manufacture, distribute, sell and use.

5) Describe your favorite “win” from your role/advocacy on behalf of the firearm industry.

Two “wins” first come to mind—one before I started with NSSF and one since. First, with the support from NSSF, my former boss led the effort in Congress to prohibit the EPA from using the Toxic Substances Control Act to ban traditional ammunition. Fielding calls from committee staff and calls with NSSF staff late into the night to be sure we had it right is something I will never forget. There are uncanny similarities to what is going on now with the Biden Administration attempting to restrict the use of traditional ammunition despite not having any scientific data to support their actions. The second is completion of Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative, or what became known as the U.S. Munitions List to Commerce Control List (USML to CCL) transition. This was the first issue I assisted with when I started at NSSF. While much of the groundwork had already been laid, we had to shift the focus on congressional pressure when it was evident the Obama administration was not going to publish a proposal. We supported the introduction of the Export Control Reform Act (S. 3405, H.R. 6176), and built the support of over 100 Members of Congress. In 2019, ECR, which took the better part of a decade to complete, finally crossed the finish line. Unfortunately, that work is not done, and the gains made are currently being rolled back. We will continue to press on to restore the policy to what it was in 2019.

6) What’s a favorite hobby/recreational activity outside of hunting or shooting sports?

Growing up with family scattered here and abroad, I’ve always had the travel itch and enjoy visiting family, friends, and the beach any opportunity I can get. When not traveling, I enjoy exploring Virginia’s wine country, listening to live music and chasing around my toddler.

You may also be interested in:

NSSF Government Relations Team Profile: Jake McGuigan

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