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May 8, 2024

NSSF Government Relations Team Profile: Jake McGuigan

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. May’s NSSF GR Team profile is for Jake McGuigan, NSSF Managing Director for Government Relations, State Affairs.

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

My favorite shooting sports activity is target shooting. While it’s fun to take aim at pumpkins in the backyard at home with my stepson, organized shoots are a powerful government relations tool. There is nothing more compelling for lawmakers and their staff than getting time on the range. Whether it is introducing them to firearms for the first time or spending time with experienced shooters enjoying the sport together, participating in shoots with lawmakers is the best way to influence firearm policies across the country.

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

I grew up in Massachusetts, where the Second Amendment is an afterthought at best. But living in Florida for grad school brought firearm freedoms to the front of my mind. Becoming a gun owner myself and witnessing the obstacles to what is a Constitutionally-protected right was the first step toward my current role. I am not one to stand back while the government erodes our freedoms. That’s why seventeen years ago I took the opportunity to leverage my professional background to represent the firearm industry at the state level. I’m proud to work for NSSF and represent the industry in state capitals.

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

As managing director of government relations for state affairs (along with the northeast region), I manage the state government relations team at NSSF, which over the years has grown to a team of seven regionally-based, hardworking, passionate team members. I am fortunate to work with an amazing team of on-the-ground experts in the states to influence firearm policy around the country. The state team is the front-line defense against bad ideas like banning certain types of firearms based on their appearance or limiting how law-abiding citizens can exercise their rights. Our team also works to proactively educate lawmakers on ways they can help protect their constituents’ rights by pushing back on anti-gun activists and ensuring industry members are not discriminated against.

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

Interacting with industry partners is one of the best parts of my role at NSSF. My job is to be an effective voice for our industry, and that means working with partners to learn what they need and how policy changes will impact their ability to keep their doors open. I believe in the work that our industry partners do every day. Without our manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and others, our right to bear arms would have no meaning. When I interact with firearm businesses, I walk away better equipped to represent the industry in state houses and to help protect all of our rights.

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

Personally, there are two areas where I am most proud of NSSF’s success and that is with the passage of FixNICS legislation and repealing antiquated Sunday Hunting prohibitions. Both issues are ones that no one ever thought would be possible to accomplish. Fast forward to today and we passed FixNICS legislation in 16 states allowing our retailers to be more confident in the background checks they conduct. Sunday Hunting prohibitions were in place in Virginia, South Carolina and West Virginia, to name a few. While it took many years to accomplish outright repeals of these prohibitions, today our members and sportsmen and women are in a much better position.

Most recently, though, the state team has had tremendous success in combating anti-gun activists who have shifted strategy over the past few years. Instead of focusing solely on passing new gun bans through the legislative process, they have found ways to attack law-abiding companies and citizens through corporate Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG efforts. In our current “woke” culture, it is crucial to ensure industry members are allowed to stay in business. That’s why we have worked with state legislators to pass laws like the Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination (FIND) Act to prevent these back room deals from punishing compliant companies selling to law-abiding citizens.

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

If we cannot count purchasing firearms, ammunition and accessories as a hobby, I would have to say either working on any one of my fleet of pickup trucks or following college sports are both passions of mine. Since I walked on as a Notre Dame football player back in college, I have spent some of my favorite days attending and following Notre Dame with friends and family.

You may also be interested in:

NSSF President Backs Law-Abiding Gun Owners, Retailers Against “Extremely Expansive” Connecticut Gun Control

State House Successes, FIND Act, Credit Card Tracking | Bullet Points #2

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