In Washington, D.C., most political attention has turned to a scramble of year-end legislation centered around passing government funding and President Joe Biden’s major social spending legislative package. One hurdle to clear is the U.S. Senate passing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Several amendments have been offered to the annual defense authorizaton bill that are being considered and relate to Second Amendment issues, the firearm and ammunition industries, funding for national parks and wildlife management and others. NSSF will continue monitoring these important policy proposals and keep industry partners aware as the year’s end approaches.
Federal legislation has mostly stalled out otherwise, signaling no significant movement on several gun control-related bills that had previously been introduced in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives or Senate.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen and that decision will come by the end of the current term, likely next summer. Early signs suggest the court is wary of New York’s law..
In the states, pro-Second Amendment legislation has been passed in a handful of legislatures that await further action either by the states’ upper chambers or even by the governors’ signatures. Also, as in Louisiana, Texas and others, officials are beginning to use financial nondiscrimination policies to assert influence against banking institutions seeking to enact gun control through their lending and banking policies. Dick Heller counted another victory by forcing the Washington, D.C., city council to update the District’s definition of so-called “ghost guns.” Several other key state developments are highlighted in detail below.
Here’s the November round-up of what NASGW members should keep on their radar:
Around the States
Los Angeles residents are living through a nightmare scenario. The local district attorney announced he released a 24-year-old convicted murderer after serving only six years of a 50-year sentence. Police are, at the same time, telling everyone, including would-be criminals, that they’re unable to quickly respond to calls for help and that crime victims should just “cooperate and comply” with the perpetrators, resulting to public safety by press release. That’s on top of the fact that California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation, all obstacles to law-abiding citizens wanting to buy a firearm for protection. California can’t have it both ways. The easy-on-crime, tough-on-rights message is no longer in the shadows – it’s literally being spread on social media by law enforcement.
Colorado's second-highest court ruled that two Republican legislators may proceed with their challenge to a gun control “red flag” law after being denied their Constitutional right to have the legislation read at length, according to Colorado Politics. A three-judge panel overturned Denver District Court Judge Eric M. Johnson’s decision that the legal challenge was a “political question.” While the appeal was pending, Colorado’s Supreme Court decided in a separate case that that the judicial branch may review alleged violations of the state Constitution's bill-reading clause. Republican state Reps. Dave Williams and Lori Saine, now a Weld County commissioner, can now litigate whether Colorado’s presiding officer of the House of Representatives infringed on their state Constitutional right to have a bill be read at length in the absence of unanimous consent otherwise. Colorado’s 2019 “red flag” law established extreme risk protection orders and was enacted in January 2020. NSSF contends that so-called “red flag” laws must contain adequate Due Process protections to protect the Constitutional rights of gun owners
Two Democratic members of the Florida legislature introduced bills to prohibit the sale of home-built firearms, or so-called “undetectable” and “untraceable” “ghost guns” as they’re commonly referred to by gun control advocates. Florida Democratic state Sen. Tina Polsky and Democratic state Rep. Christine Hunchofsky sponsored SB 872 and HB 527, respectively, and the bills face uphill battles as both chambers have pro-Second Amendment majorities, as well as the governor’s mansion. Sen. Polsky attempted to describe why the new laws are needed, saying, “Ten, 20 years ago, there was no such thing as ghost guns that were assembled…These guns weren’t contemplated in the current laws.” That statement defies historical fact that home-built firearms have been around since before the country was founded.
Democratic Florida state Sen. Tina Polsky introduced another gun control bill, this time seeking to impose an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification for purchasing or transferring ammunition. Sen. Polsky called the legislation “commonsense” and that it “simply closes a loophole” in Florida state law that requires buyers to pass a background check to purchase a firearm, but not ammunition. At the introduction of her bill, S. 334, Sen. Polsky was joined by Democratic Florida state Rep. Dan Daley, who introduced companion legislation in the Florida House of Representatives, Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and gun control advocate Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered during the 2018 tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Lastly in Florida, NSSF sent a team to the National Conference of State Legislators’ (NCSL) annual legislative conference in Tampa. Throughout the event, several members of NSSF’s state government relations team, including Trevor Santos and Chris Lee, had the opportunity to speak with state legislators and staff members from across the country. NSSF used the conference as an opportunity to educate lawmakers and staff on issues ranging from the industry’s positive economic impact in states throughout the country, to bans on commonly semiautomatic firearms and standard capacity magazines, and the unfortunate discriminatory practices being experienced by members of the firearm industry and how state lawmakers can combat these policies. The industry’s positions on these topics resonated during conversations with legislators from both parties and their key staffers. NCSL provides a good opportunity to work closely with legislators prior to legislative sessions starting in January.
The Illinois Supreme Court split evenly on hearing a challenge to Deerfield, Illinois’ ban on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), leaving the ban in place. The City of Deerfield first enacted a city ordinance regulating the transportation and storage of so-called “assault weapons” and followed up in 2018 with a complete ban on possession of the popular semiautomatic rifle, as well as restrictions on so-called “large capacity magazines.” The Illinois high court’s lack of action on the decision means a decision by two justices of a state appeals court, in favor of the gun ban, will decide the outcome of the case.
Also in Illinois, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared gun violence a public health crisis, throwing $250 million in state and federal money over the next three years toward programs that do nothing to hold criminals accountable. Gov. Pritzker’s office said about $50 million of the Illinois effort will come from the current state budget with the same approach in the following two years. Community organizations will be able to apply for funding in areas including youth intervention programs, trauma recovery and other mental health services. Criminal violence has skyrocketed in Illinois, particularly in Chicago. However, no serious efforts have been considered to get tough on criminals by city or state officials.
The Louisiana Bond Commission carried through on its warning to JP Morgan Chase and disqualified the bank from underwriting a $700 million bond series due to its discriminatory policies against the lawful firearm industry. JP Morgan Chase received warnings from Louisiana’s Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry and requests for clarification on the bank’s antigun lending policies but the bank refused to respond. Louisiana State Treasurer and Bond Commission Chairman John Schroder said the decision came down to JP Morgan Chase misrepresenting their official gun rights policies on the bond underwriting approval applications. “They answered ‘No’ and their actions show otherwise. They answered ‘No’ and they should’ve answered ‘Yes.’” The bond commission had also previously disqualified Bank of America and Citibank for their anti-Second Amendment discriminatory policies. In his warning letter to JP Morgan Chase, AG Landry said, “I do not believe the state of Louisiana is best served by doing business with companies that attempt to profit from the State while denying its citizens the ability to exercise their constitutional rights.”
NSSF testified in the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Safety hearing on over 50 firearm-related bills. Massachusetts is seeking to pass even more restrictions on law-abiding citizens, despite having some of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation. Many legislative proposals introduced will do nothing to increase public safety and are attempts to make firearm ownership more difficult because of associated costs or requiring insurance that would never be commercially available. Some proposals include rationing of firearms, taxes on guns and ammunition and making it illegal to build a personal firearm. While no decisions on any of the bills were made, the prospect of more gun control emerging from the committee seems certain, while the extent of it is not known. NSSF will keep everyone updated as the process moves forward
The track record for Massachusetts’s gun control legislators isn’t a good one. A new study confirms Massachusetts gun control laws achieved “no effect” on reducing violent crime even though legislators promised they would. Antigun lawmakers in the Bay State achieved a rare trifecta-failure by curtailing voters’ Constitutional rights, eliminating hundreds of jobs and failing to make a dent on violent crime and enhancing public safety. A 2021 deep-dive study by researchers at American University concluded that a 2015 gun control package has “not reduced gun violence and gun crime at all in Massachusetts.” That didn’t stop legislators from passing even more gun control in 2021. The result is Smith & Wesson and other firearm manufacturers are moving out of the state and taking hundreds of jobs with them.
Michigan was one of just seven states in the country to refuse to designate the firearm industry as “essential” during the COVID-19 related “stay home” orders of 2020. A pair of bills that would ensure that won’t happen in the future advanced out of the Michigan House Oversight Committee on Thursday in a party-line vote with all Republicans voting for passage. HB 5187 and HB 5188 would amend the “Emergency Management Act” and “Public Health Code,” respectively, to disallow future emergency orders that would “prohibit, suspend, or limit” the firearm industry and Second Amendment rights of Michigan residents. NSSF thanks Republican Michigan state Reps. Andrew Fink and Pat Outman for introducing these bills and to the Chair of the Oversight Committee, Republican state Rep. Steven Johnson, for supporting the bills.
Nevada’s Wildlife Commission narrowly voted down a proposal to ban coyote hunting contests in a 5-4 vote. This is the third time in six years the proposal was offered. The commission is appointed by the governor and includes sportsmen, conservationists, farmers and ranchers and one member of the general public. Commissioner Tom Barnes pointed out that hunting contests aren’t illegal and coyotes are an unprotected and nuisance species in Nevada. They are commonly responsible for livestock deaths. Hunting is a wildlife management tool to ensure wild animal populations remain healthy and balanced with other wildlife. The proposal was introduced by the anti-hunting group Center for Biological Diversity, which quickly accused the commission of racial disparity and not being representative of Nevadans.
New York’s Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the “Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act” and the “Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act” into law in front of a small gathering of gun control state politicians and activists. The two bills addressing home-built firearms, S.13A/A.2666A and S.7152/A.6522, in tandem outlaw the possession of unfinished frames or receivers by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or firearm retailer and prohibit the sale of such items. Further, the new laws require gunsmiths and firearm retailers to register such incomplete guns in their possession. Violations run from Class D to Class E felonies, the latter of which can bring five years in prison and is on the same level as some manslaughter convictions, according to Guns.com.
North Dakota’s Community Action Partnership (CAP) is again carrying out its Sportsmen Against Hunger initiative, according to a Public Service News report. Hunters are encouraged to donate some of their deer and elk meat and other designated game to pre-approved meat processors. The products are delivered to food shelves throughout North Dakota. Carmel Froemke, statewide outreach coordinator for CAP, said some families might still be recovering from economic hardships caused by the pandemic. She added there's now the issue of more expensive groceries. She said the donated meat could serve as a vital source of protein for families in need, especially when these types of products are traditionally hard for food shelves to obtain. Last year, the program saw a record of roughly 4,000 pounds of donated meat. Froemke pointed out the rich tradition of North Dakota families going out each fall on hunting trips serves as an inspirational backdrop in the effort to fight hunger. She describes the awareness of sharing the haul with others.
The Ohio State House of Representatives passed two pro-firearm bills out of the lower chamber sending them to the state Senate to be considered. The first bill would allow Ohio residents to carry a concealed firearm without first obtaining a permit and passed the House by a vote of 60-32. If passed by Ohio’s upper chamber and signed into law, Ohio would join nearly two dozen other states in allowing permitless carry. Ohio state Republican Rep. Jamie Callender praised the bill’s passage, saying, “We want to make sure that law-abiding citizens have the ability to protect themselves. It's a constitutional right.” A second bill passed by the House would allow teachers and school staff to carry firearms in the classroom after completing 20 hours of training. Republicans hold a 25-8 advantage in the Ohio Senate.
Oregon’s Supreme Court approved the certified ballot titles for IP 17 and IP 18 without changes. The Court was limited by statute and could only rule on the procedural and constitutional requirements, not the constitutionality of the measure itself. There are now three ballot initiatives in Oregon moving through the initiative process. IP 13 was certified earlier this month. If any of these initiatives are approved by the voters, hunting and firearm ownership would be severely impacted for Oregonians. Proposals include, but are not limited to, a prohibition on hunting, ban on most semiautomatic firearms, ban on standard capacity magazines, firearm permitting requirements and the development of a firearm owner registry. NSSF objected to these ballot initiatives and will continue to work against their passage. Petitioners have until July 8, 2022, to gather 112,020 signatures. If certified, the initiatives will appear on the November ballot in 2022.
Pennsylvania’s legislature passed two pro-gun bills that were vetoed Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. Lawmakers in the Commonwealth passed SB 448, which would prevent local jurisdictions from imposing ordinances that are more restrictive than laws passed by the General Assembly. SB 565 also passed and would allow Pennsylvanians 18 years and older to carry a loaded, concealed firearm in public without a permit, also known as Constitutional Carry. Gov. Wolf, who held a press conference and told media the bills would be dead on arrival at his desk.
Citigroup, Inc. believes it is ready to resume business backing municipal bonds in Texas after the state enacted the Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination (FIND) Act, which prevents corporations holding discriminatory policies against firearm-related businesses while holding contracts with state and local municipalities. “Having made certifications required by the new law, we are now prepared to resume serving issuer clients in Texas,” according to a statement issued by Citigroup and reported by Bloomberg News. Citigroup officials submitted a certification letter to Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton attesting to this. However, the banking corporation made no changes to their discriminatory policies. Citi’s policy of not doing business with companies that refuse to institute unconstitutional age-based gun bans, or ban the sale of standard capacity magazines, is still listed on the company website.
Also in Texas, some people in politics just can’t take the message from voters. Failed U.S. Senate candidate and failed Democratic presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke is sitting at 0-2 down in the count and announced a 2022 gubernatorial campaign. Firearms and the Second Amendment will play a large role in the campaign and Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is just coming off a legislative session where lawmakers overwhelmingly passed and Gov. Abbott signed several pro-firearm laws, including firearm industry nondiscrimination (FIND Act) and “Constitutional carry,” allowing law-abiding Texans to carry handguns without needing a permit. O’Rourke doubled down on his infamous “Hell yes!” call for gun confiscation after announcing his candidacy for governor. Texans will have an opportunity to once again tell O’Rourke what they think of his extreme gun control policies – Don’t Mess with Texas gun rights.
The big news in Virginia was gun control efforts were dealt a blow as voters elected Republicans in a sweep of all three major state-wide races and giving gun control incumbents the boot. Republicans Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares won the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, respectively, capping a campaign where protecting Second Amendment rights did play a role. The Reload reported on a shadowy scam political action committee that sent mailers to staunch gun rights areas claiming Gov.-elect Youngkin wasn’t strong enough on the Second Amendment in an effort to suppress voters. In addition to sweeping the top state-wide offices, Virginia Republicans also won back the majority in the House of Delegates by flipping several seats from gun control supporting Democrats.
Billionaire gun control kingpin and former failed Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has a long track record of spending millions to flip seats only to lose once voters reject more gun control at the polls. That was the case in Virginia as Bloomberg’s arrogance showed yet again when he flipped over the couch cushions and found nearly $2 million to throw at the 2021 state-wide elections. It didn’t go well for him as gun rights candidates swept the big three offices of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. When the dust settled, Republicans also flipped six seats to win the majority in the House of Delegates. Old Dominion voters may be a bellwether for the 2022 elections.
Washington state Democratic legislators were so hasty in passing a large gun control package that their antigun bill even barred ceremonies from including a military 21-gun salute and veterans groups are not happy. Senate Bill 5030 banned the open carry of firearms at public demonstrations and at ceremonies on capitol grounds in Olympia. Republican state Sen. Chris Gildon explained the absurdity of the law, saying, “I got invited to attend the 71st anniversary of the Korean War. And the organizers were setting up the event on the capitol campus. And during all of the planning, they got a hold of me, and they said, ‘Chris, we’re not allowed to do a 21-gun salute because of that bill that passed last year.'” Sen. Gildon described it would be an easy fix but that with Democrats in the legislature holding such strong antigun views, correcting the bill’s flaw is not certain.
Wisconsin Senate Bill 570, introduced by Republican state Sen. Julian Bradley, passed out of the Wisconsin Senate. It was a 20-12 party-line vote in which all Republicans voted in favor. This bill would bring Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) type protections to the Wisconsin firearm industry at the state level by ensuring that the Wisconsin firearm industry cannot be held liable when lawfully made and sold products are unlawfully misused by a third party. In speaking in support of the SB 570, Sen. Bradley said, “…in an attempt to subvert the Second Amendment, President Biden is focused on policies that would put gun manufacturers out of business instead of holding violent criminals accountable. The State Senate just voted to ensure that activist judges in Wisconsin aren’t given the opportunity President Biden wants to frivolously bankrupt firearm manufacturers.” The House companion bill, Assembly Bill 572 is expected to go before the full Wisconsin Assembly for a vote in January. Wisconsin NSSF members are encouraged to contact their state representative to urge them to support AB 572 when called for a vote. Find your legislator here.
Early Analysis Suggests SCOTUS Striking Down New York’s Restrictive Carry Law
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen and a decision will likely come next June at the end of the court’s current term. Early reactions suggest the high court is wary of New York’s restrictive “may issue” concealed carry law. It would be the biggest victory for the Second Amendment since the court’s Heller decision more than a dozen years ago. Justice Brett Kavanaugh questioned New York’s solicitor general, “Why isn’t it good enough to say I live in a violent area, and I want to be able to defend myself?” Justice Samuel Alito asked, “All these people with illegal guns, they’re on the subway, they’re walking around the streets. But the ordinary, hard-working, law-abiding people I mentioned, no, they can’t be armed?”
White House Executive Actions Are What the Firearm Industry Already Does
It is said that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” That seems to be the case with the White House’s announcement of executive actions to prevent suicides since they are what is already being done voluntarily by the firearm industry. The firearm industry applauds these measures and welcomes the Biden administration embracing initiatives the firearm industry has proven effective. The White House rolled out a strategy to reduce military and veteran suicide that includes programs the firearm industry has been doing for years – even decades. That includes promoting safe and responsible storage of firearms and outreach to members of the U.S. Armed Services and veterans. Those are two key programs that comprise part of the firearm industry’s Real Solutions. Safer Communities.® campaign.
Office of the Comptroller Nominee Refuses to Rule Out Op. Choke Point Redux
President Joe Biden’s nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, Saule Omarova, was grilled by several members of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, including Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) during her confirmation hearing regarding her position on financial discrimination, and specifically Operation Choke Point. Omarova refused to pledge that she wouldn’t allow the illegal Operation Choke Point discriminatory practices against the firearm industry to be tried once again when asked directly if she would vow not to politicize the banking industry by targeting disfavored companies. Omarova dodged what should have been an easy answer. Operation Choke Point was an Obama administration effort between the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to illegally pressure financial institutions to “choke off” services to certain politically disfavored industries, including the firearm and ammunition industry. The FDIC wrongly categorized these businesses as “high risk” based solely on the products sold. Omarova advocated for similar practices against “socially suboptimal” businesses in her academic work. Several senators, including Democrats, are casting serious doubts on her nomination and in some cases calling her the most “radical” nominee to be a federal regulator and one that cannot be “more poorly suited” for this position as chief regulator of America’s national banks. NSSF lacks confidence in Omarova’s ability to use the authority of Comptroller of the Currency to ensure fair access, and therefore opposes her nomination. A committee vote to advance Omarova’s nomination will not take place until December at the earliest. NSSF will continue to monitor.
Gun Control Politicians Want Banks to Snoop on Gun Buyers
Gun collectors, beware. Certain Members of Congress believe if an individual buys too many guns, too much ammunition or too many accessories, that person is a potentially dangerous criminal or a “domestic terrorist.” They also want banks to tell on anyone who might be buying too much. U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and U.S. Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) and Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) introduced The Gun Violence Prevention Through Financial Intelligence Act, H.R. 5764, in the U.S. House of Representatives and S. 3117 in the U.S. Senate. The legislation is troublesome because the bill is fraught with civil liberty violations and not just those freedoms protected by the Second Amendment. Privacy rights – specifically those related to finances – would go by the wayside.
MAPLand Act Voted Favorably Out of Committee
The Modernizing Access to Our Public Lands Act, or MAPLand Act, passed by unanimous vote out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The bill requires the Interior and Agriculture Secretaries and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works to update and digitize geographic information relating to public lands and waters. The MAPLand Act, S. 904, was originally introduced by Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) to make information and maps more easily accessible and navigable for the public participating in recreational activities including hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. Sen. Risch said of the legislation, “Digitizing America’s public land records and making them available online is not only commonsense and overdue, it will make recreating on our public lands infinitely easier. With the MAPLand Act, hunters, anglers, and outdoorsmen and women can fully enjoy the best of what Idaho’s vast public lands have to offer.”
NSSF Praises Senate Bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Act
NSSF praised the introduction of the bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Act, introduced by U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). The bill would increase and improve outdoor recreation opportunities across the nation while improving infrastructure and driving economic growth in rural communities. “In particular, NSSF appreciates the bipartisan measures included in this legislation that would require the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to ensure that both agencies have at least one qualifying recreational shooting range in each National Forest and BLM district,” explained NSSF’s Larry Keane in a press release. “Recreational shooting is tied to approximately 85 percent of the Pittman-Robertson excise taxes currently being paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers, making it a major driving contributor to wildlife conservation. This legislation would ensure that recreational marksmanship can be practiced in accessible and safe environments while also benefiting conservation.”
NSSF Member Spotlight Q & A: Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas)
U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) grew up with his grandparents at their ranch in Camp Wood, Texas, where he learned how to safely handle firearms from his grandfather. “He told me to hold tight because it was going to kick like a mule,” Rep. Gonzales said about the first time his grandfather taught him to shoot a rifle. He now owns ranch property and loves passing along the traditions of teaching his kids how to hunt and shoot. In Congress, Rep. Gonzales has supported a number of bills addressing and protecting Second Amendment rights. “As I have begun raising my children, I believe we have an important opportunity to teach the next generation the importance of proper training, storage and maintenance of firearms.” Read Rep. Gonzales’s full NSSF Member Profile Q & A here.
Colo. Rep. Introduces Bill to Block Gun Purchasers with Misdemeanors
U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) introduced the End Gun Violence Act, that would bar people convicted of certain misdemeanors from purchasing a firearm. The legislation is in response to the Boulder, Colo., tragedy earlier this year where 10 people at a neighborhood supermarket were killed. The murderer, who had been convicted of misdemeanor assault in 2018 following an incident at his high school, purchased a firearm a few days before his attack. Rep. Neguse told the Denver Post, “It seems pretty clear to me in this case that this individual would not have been able to purchase a weapon had this law been the law of the land either in Colorado and ultimately at the federal level.” H.R.5878, which has the support of several antigun groups, is in the earliest stages of the legislative process and has received no action to date.
Interior Dept. Mulls Closing 60 Million Acres to Hunting
The Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is resurrecting a plan to shut off 60 million acres of public hunting lands to non-local hunters pursuing moose and caribou, according to an Outdoor Life report. The plan, Wildlife Special Action Request 21-01 (WSA21-01) was first floated earlier this year but was tabled after fierce public opposition. The special action request still proposes to close nearly 60 million acres of federal public land to all non-local hunters – including other Alaska residents who aren’t “federally qualified subsistence users” for that area – for moose and caribou between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30, 2022, wrote Outdoor Life’s Tyler Freel. This is the same bad idea that was proposed this spring – officials have just kicked the can down the road. NSSF opposes this plan to close off public lands for hunting. To learn more about calling to voice concerns, read more here.
Federal Register Comments Cleared Out
AmmoLand is reporting that over a half million public comments submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were completed for review by 50 employees that was begun Oct. 1. That’s over 300,000 comments submitted on the proposed rule for unfinished frames and receivers and over 250,000 for pistol stabilizing braces. According to AmmoLand, that breaks down to 1,000 comments a day if each employee worked five days a week and 125 comments per hour for an eight-hour workday. If each employee would receive two hours of overtime each day, it means they would have had to process 100 comments an hour. Many of the comments submitted were form letters. ATF officials reviewed the submitted public comments, including those of NSSF, to inform changes to the proposed rule, to decline to finalize it or to move ahead with finalization. Final versions are not expected until late January at the soonest.
Feds Drop Proposed Rule, Recommit to Protections for North Carolina’s Red Wolves
North Carolina’s red wolves will retain federal protections under the Endangered Species Act after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) withdrew its 2018 proposed rule to delist the species. The decision by USFWS to not allow the wolf population to be managed by North Carolina came after a combination of court decisions and submitted public comments. The first red wolf reintroduction program occurred in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in 1987 and proved successful over the next two decades, with the state’s population reaching its peak of 130-plus wolves in 2007. The wolf population has been on a steady decline since with their estimated total population in the wild now closer to 35 individual wolves when the USFWS proposed its new management rule in June 2018.
News from NSSF
NSSF-Adjusted NICS Background Checks for October 2021
NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verifications topped 15.2 million so far in 2021, keeping the year on track to be the second strongest on record. Only 2020, with 21 million background checks for the year, and 2016’s 15.7 million background checks currently top this year’s totals. October’s NICS figure of 1,427,264 is a decrease of 19.3 percent compared to the October 2020 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,769,553 background checks for a firearm sale conducted. The October 2021 figures were the second strongest for the month on record, surpassed only by October 2020. “This continued and sustained pace of background checks for the sale of a firearm, that is climbing in the closing months of 2021, shows the resiliency of the firearm manufacturers to meet this sustained, high-level demand and the personal interest by the American public to participate in the exercise of their God-given Second Amendment rights,” said NSSF’s Mark Oliva.
In Memory of O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc. Chairman, Alan Mossberg
Tributes and condolences from the entire firearm industry poured in from across the country as the firearm industry mourned the loss of Alan Mossberg, Chairman of O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc., and grandson of the company’s founder Oscar Mossberg. Mossberg was 89 and passed away in his Florida home surrounded by family and loved ones. Alan began working for his grandfather’s company at a young age and amassed nearly 50-years’ experience at the company, growing and expanding it to become the pillar within the firearm community it is today. “A great leader, visionary, and champion of bringing high quality, innovative firearms to the masses, Alan was a tireless advocate for gun rights and gun safety while always working to ensure that the American traditions of hunting and shooting sports live on for many years to come,” offered Mossberg President and COO Doug Bell.
Gallup Finds Gun Control Support at Record Low
Recent national polling shows a significant drop for gun control support among Americans, reaching the lowest levels in seven years. The most dramatic decline, according to Gallup, has been among self-described Independents, whose gun control support cratered 15 points in less than two years and mirrors the firearm industry retail trend of nearly 12 million Americans purchasing a firearm for the first time over the same time period. The polling includes data showing Americans’ support for a total ban on handguns at an all-time low 19 percent. According to Gallup, “Americans’ support for stricter gun control has fallen five percentage points to 52%, the lowest reading since 2014. At the same time, 35% of U.S. adults think laws covering the sale of firearms should be kept as they are now and 11% favor less strict laws.”
NSSF Partners with Celerant to Support Project ChildSafe®
NSSF and Celerant Technology announced a new partnership supporting Project ChildSafe® and firearm safety. Celerant provides point-of-sale and eCommerce software to many retailers in the industry and now the company has pre-loaded into its latest software a checkout option allowing customers to either round up to the nearest dollar or to choose a specific denomination to donate in support of Project ChildSafe. Retailers simply have to turn on the donation software option, in their point-of-sale and/or eCommerce, to begin their support of the country’s leading firearm safety education program. Joe Bartozzi, Chairman of Project ChildSafe Foundation and President & CEO of NSSF, said, “Firearm safety is a bedrock of our industry and the gun-owning community, and we are grateful to Celerant and all our donors for their commitment to reducing firearm accidents, thefts and misuse.”
PCS Launches in Albuquerque
NSSF, Albuquerque City Councilors Brook Bassan and Klarissa Peña, representatives from Albuquerque Public Schools, the New Mexico State Police, the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish and the Albuquerque Police Department – together with local firearm retailers and training organizations – launched “Project ChildSafe® Albuquerque” city-wide to help prevent firearm accidents and aid in suicide prevention efforts. NSSF and its local partners are making hundreds of free gun locks and educational materials available and will emphasize firearm safety messaging through an ongoing digital advertising campaign. “Central to all of this is a goal to encourage gun owners to store their firearms responsibly. We know safe and responsible gun storage works, and helps save lives,” said NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi. “In recent years, thanks to partnerships like this, fatal firearm accidents have dropped to historic lows and that’s a trend we want to see continue in the right direction.”
Media Shakes MSR Myths in Rare Reports
The media is learning that the AR-15 isn’t the monster they’ve portrayed it to be. That’s a lesson that the rest of America learned long ago. ABC News has been running a series of reports focused on firearms and criminal violence and two of those reports tell the truth of the Modern Sporting Rifle (MSRs), or AR-15 style rifle and the real culprit. ABC news reported it was criminally-obtained handguns that are used in most murders, saying “The 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates said that 90% of the prisoners who had a gun during their crime didn’t get it from a retail source.” That shatters several myths. First, it proves that criminals obtain their firearms illegally; and second, it shows that the MSR isn’t the fabled monster as the media portrays.
D.C. Council Votes to Clarify Definition of ‘Ghost Guns’
Washington, D.C.’s city council voted to amend the city’s law banning homebuilt firearms, or so-called “ghost guns,” in response to a lawsuit filed by Dick Heller, the plaintiff in 2008’s U.S. Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller. Heller challenged the District’s ban on home-built firearms and asserted the law unjustly outlaws all polymer-based guns. D.C.’s current law defines a “ghost gun” as one that will not set off a metal detector after all parts are removed other than the receiver, leaving only a polymer frame. Under the approved change, firearms would have to be detectable with their barrel, trigger and firing mechanism attached, even if the receiver is polymer-based, to prevent construction of a completely plastic gun. This is similar to the Undetectable Firearms Act, which requires all firearms to contain at least 3.7 ounces of metal. The amended language also says homebuilt firearms cannot meet the new definition of all-plastic “ghost guns,” must be registered, only for personal use and are required to have a unique serial number.
Remington Joins Gun Industry Migration
Score another legendary firearm manufacturer setting down roots in a friendlier state. Remington Firearms announced the company will establish a corporate headquarters and expand production in La Grange, Georgia. “The decision to locate in Georgia is very simple, the state of Georgia is not only a business-friendly state, it’s a firearms friendly state,” said Remington Firearms CEO Ken D’Arcy to media. The announcement marks yet another firearm manufacturer that is investing in states that respect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and values the contributions firearm manufacturers make to a state’s economy. Remington will be joining several other firearm manufacturers that call Georgia home, including Daniel Defense in Savannah, Glock in Smyrna, BPI Outdoors which owns the brands Bergara and CVA in Lawrenceville and Taurus which relocated to Bainbridge.
S&W Breaks Ground in Tennessee
It didn’t take long after 170-year old Smith & Wesson announced a move from Massachusetts to firearm-friendly Tennessee for the gun maker to break ground on their new headquarters and manufacturing facilities, according to Fox Business. Smith & Wesson President and CEO Mark Smith said the move was “especially difficult,” but the continued hostility toward firearm manufacturers left them, “with no other alternative.” The Tennessee move is a $125 million investment that will result in 750 new jobs created by 2023. Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee praised Smith & Wesson’s move at the groundbreaking ceremony, saying, “Our pro-business reputation, skilled workforce, and commitment to the Second Amendment make Tennessee an ideal location for firearm manufacturing. We welcome Smith & Wesson to The Volunteer State and are proud this U.S.-based brand has chosen to relocate from Massachusetts.”
W.V. Hunters Give Over 1 Million Pounds of Venison to Families in Need
West Virginia hunters crossed a major milestone helping families in need. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the state’s “Hunters Helping the Hungry” program and over that span, the program and its partners have processed more than 27,500 deer. That means since the program’s inception in 1991 more than 1 million pounds of healthy venison were donated to families going through hard times. Participating hunters take their harvested deer to a processor that packages the venison. The packaged meat is then distributed to families throughout the state through food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, shelters, community centers, orphanages, missions and churches. “A lot of the people that need this meat from the food banks can’t physically go get it themselves, so this is an amazing service these hunters are doing to help those around the state,” W.V. Wildlife Center Director Trevor Moore said.
Virginia Wildlife Board Signals Support for Sunday Hunting
Sunday hunting on private land was approved in Virginia in 2014 and after several years public lands in the Commonwealth may be added to hunters’ options. Nearly a quarter-million acres of land on state wildlife management areas, land paid for and maintained largely with revenues from hunting licenses and excise taxes from sales of hunting related gear, has remained off limits to Sunday hunting. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Board, however, signaled strong support for expanding Sunday hunting on public land after unanimously passing a resolution. Virginia Republican Delegate James Edmunds, the Virginia Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus co-chair, had introduced legislation to allow Sunday hunting on public lands previously but both bills died in committee. NSSF looks forward to strongly supporting these efforts to expand Sunday hunting opportunities.
NSSF Announces ‘Partner With a Payer®’ Awareness Resources
NSSF announced an initiative designed to strengthen ties between all excise tax-paying manufacturers – firearms and ammunition, archery equipment, marine and sportfishing equipment – and the state agencies that use these funds to conserve wildlife and habitats through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. NSSF launched a new web resource that will host videos and other materials that will highlight industry contributions to this partnership. “Our industry’s contributions to this program are something we’ve long been proud of, and we want the employees of companies and state agencies to be also, which is why we’re proud to be involved with the Partner with a Payer® program,” said NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi.
#GUNVOTE Midterms One Year Away
America is less than a year away from the November 2022 midterm elections. To give our members the best insights into how federal elections will affect them, NSSF is monitoring the electoral landscape for what members should be on the lookout for in the races that will determine control of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. At this point, all signs suggest Republicans have momentum and are trending on a similar track to 2010 when the GOP picked up 63 House seats. In the Senate, Republicans will be defending 20 of 34 seats up for reelection this cycle, with Democrats defending more each day as retirements are announced, meaning the 2022 midterm elections will be the most expensive and consequential in history. Key states to watch will be Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire and Nevada. Redistricting will also be critical as House congressional districts have yet to be finalized in several states. Stay tuned to #GUNVOTE to learn how to register and where the candidates stand on firearm issues.
Join the Gun Owners Care Campaign
With American gun owners increasingly the target of efforts to shame and cast aspersions simply for exercising their constitutional right to own a firearm, NSSF has launched the Gun Owners CareSM program. This initiative works to educate the public about the concern law-abiding gun owners have for their neighbors and communities. Members of the firearm-owning community deserve respect for being good, concerned citizens and proud defenders of a unique American heritage, and the Gun Owners Care initiative will emphasize those efforts and successes. We invite all industry members and firearm owners to join now and support this critical initiative.
Download NSSF’s Real Solutions, Safer Communities Toolkit
NSSF’s Real Solutions. Safer Communities.SM Industry Toolkit is available for members of the firearm industry for download. Industry members are encouraged to use the ready-made materials in the toolkit to share on their social media, websites and printed materials with customers, supporters, employees and stakeholders. NSSF’s Real Solutions campaign is a member-supported initiative that includes several firearm safety programs that have proven effective at reducing the criminal misuse of firearms and safeguarding firearms from prohibited individuals and those who should not possess them.