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March 8, 2010

Firearms Retailer Deserves to Sponsor Youth Baseball Team


NSSF has sent the following letter-to-the-editor in response to a New Jersey Star-Ledger story about a a youth baseball league that rejected an offer from a community firearms retailer to sponsor a team.

To the Editor:

To the youth baseball league board that refused to accept a team sponsorship from a local firearms retailer, we say, "Bad call!"

It's entirely appropriate for a federally licensed firearms retailer, who sells legal products used by participants of all ages for sporting purposes, to have the good name of his business proudly worn by youth baseball players.

As much as baseball is part of the history and fabric of American culture, so to is the Second Amendment, hunting and target shooting. The latter are activities that millions of youth participate in across America. Our organization, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, supports target shooting programs up to grade 12 and in college, and has provided over a million Junior USA Shooting Team patches to youth through Boy Scouts and 4-H marksmanship programs. Safe storage of firearms is promoted through our Project ChildSafe program, an effort complemented by all licensed firearms retailers who are required to provide safety locks to purchasers.

There should be no stigma attached to the responsible sale and use of firearms. The shooting sports are safe and fun for all, and a day at the range is an activity the entire family can enjoy. The lessons that organized youth sports teach involving sportsmanship, respect for teammates and authority, and winning and losing also apply to the shooting sports.

Since this was a policy call and not an "on the field" judgement call, we urge a review of the decision before the umpires yell "play ball!"

Sincerely,

Steve Sanetti

National Shooting Sports Foundation

11 Mile Hill Road

Newtown, CT 06470

(The writer is president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, trade association for the firearms, hunting and shooting sports industry.)