News

Back to News

September 19, 2014

“Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” is a Tool Box for Retailers, Not a Hammer to be Used Against Them


“Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” was formed as a cooperative program between the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) more than a dozen years years ago to help ATF educate federal firearms licensees to be better able to identify and prevent illegal straw purchases of firearms and to raise public awareness about the seriousness of the crime of purchasing a firearm for someone who cannot legally do so.

Retailers use program materials to help educate and inform their employees.  The public sees Don’t Lie for the Other Guy materials in stores.  Each year, NSSF buys outdoor and transit advertising and radio time for public awareness campaign to bring Don’t Lie messaging to one or more regions of the nation.  Early this year, NSSF conducted our biggest such buy to date in Chicago, Detroit and Flint, Mich. ATF agents on the ground there told us they appreciated the effort.  Michigan law enforcement echoed the sentiment.

Federally licensed firearms retailers are on the front lines every day working to prevent illegal purchases.  This is the goal of everyone in the firearms industry. No one in it wants to make sales to prohibited individuals.  We never stop talking about the topic in our ongoing educational efforts with industry.  Former ATF officials help us in those efforts.

So, we will not be silent if we see the efforts of an anti-gun organization to make the “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” appear to be something it could never be. To be brief, that would be some kind of a guarantee program that someone with felonious intent to violate federal firearms law who later uses the illegally purchased firearm in a crime would have been prevented from doing so were it not for a retailer or an employee  not having deduced exactly the right learning from the educational program.

How would this even be possible? There is no way to teach clairvoyance or mind-reading. Fortune-telling crystal balls do not exist.  We cannot know what evil lurks in the hearts of some men and women. People are, in the end, responsible for their own actions, are they not?

The firearms industry is proud of our longstanding cooperative relationship with the ATF and the entire law enforcement community.  In our role at the sales counter and as otherwise called upon, we will assist their ongoing efforts to combat the criminal acquisition and misuse of firearms.

What we will not do is to allow the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy program to be misrepresented and then used against any licensed retailer.  We view such efforts as being part and parcel of a continuing broad anti-gun political agenda that will likely never end and that is certainly not above turning a positive program into a negative if it serves their special interest in doing so.

The Don’t Lie for the Other Guy program is a tool box for retailers.  It is not a hammer to be used against them.