On April 23, a federal court in California put a halt to California’s ammunition background check requirements declaring, “Accordingly, the Court enjoins the State of California from enforcing the ammunition sales background check provisions” found in the California Penal Code. The Court’s grant of this injunction is a strong win for all California sportsmen and women because the ammunition sales restrictions will prevent the State of California from enforcing the ammunition sales background checks through its now enjoined onerous and flawed system as the Rhode v. Becerra case continues to be litigated.
We have all had extraordinary experiences that we’ve learned from over the past several weeks. We all have heart-warming and heart-breaking stories to share. One of the most significant eye-opening realizations for me has been, “what are the needs vs the wants.” As we begin to introduce our team back into the walls of our Baton Rouge office and warehouse, we have to ask ourselves, “What are those things that we must have that are crucial to our operations and what are those items that fall into the bucket of “well it would be nice if…?” Don’t get me wrong. The “wants” are quite important too; they make up our culture and they round-out our daily lives. Just make sure the needs are met first. Right now it boils down to masks, gloves, clean air, hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap, and the list continues.
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As everyone in the world is acutely aware, we are presently faced with a public health crisis of epic proportions. Covid-19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives and is causing disruption to commercial activity in a manner not seen in decades. Some cities and states have experienced more disruption than others and most states have issued a statewide shutdown of “nonessential” businesses.
The firearms industry is not immune to the disruption caused by the novel coronavirus. The supply chain has seen impacts at every level; materials providers, parts and components suppliers, firearms manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, and dealers have all to some extent experienced a measure of difficulty in continuing operations.
I think we all agree that this year has been difficult. Though we've seen some really good sales in our industry, COVID-19 has made it very challenging to run our businesses.
I want to go back in time just a few months, to October and our annual NASGW Expo and Annual Meeting in Orlando. Every year we kick off our show with an annual banquet and awards show. For those of you in attendance, you’ll remember I talked rather candidly about the tough year for shooting sports distribution in 2019.
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Update on Congressional Action for Additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Funding
Yesterday evening, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) exhausted its funding forcing the Small Business Administration (SBA) to stop accepting applications for job-saving loans. According to a press release from Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and the SBA, “By law, the SBA will not be able to issue new loan approvals once the programs experience a lapse in appropriations.”
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To say 2019 was a turbulent year in our industry is an understatement. As all of us continued to adjust to the new normal we saw lower than average sales, consolidation in the wholesale world, and continued attacks on the 2nd Amendment around the country. During that time we've also seen turnover on the NASGW Board of directors. To bring you all up to speed, we thought we'd introduce our newest board members including a familiar face who is back from retirement.
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As hundreds of businesses across the country have been forced to close as being “non-essential” during the coronavirus pandemic, the National Shooting Sports Foundation®(NSSF®) has worked nonstop to have firearm retailers, ranges, manufacturers and distributors listed as “essential.” There have been numerous challenges to this even in gun-friendly states, but to date, we have been successful in keeping the doors open and businesses operating in more than 20 states and in numerous towns and cities that have enacted stay-at-home orders.
We did not realize these successes alone. NSSF’s thousands of members were making phone calls to legislators and law enforcement at all levels of government, right alongside our Government Relations team, letting them know what was happening in their communities. Together, they made the message crystal clear: It is critical, essential, that our manufacturers, distributors, retailers, ranges and importers remain operational.
Our collective ability to influence lawmakers and keep our businesses open now has federal backing. Late in March, NSSF secured a “critical infrastructure” listing from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for nearly all sectors of our industry—and again, it was NSSF members, working right alongside us, who were instrumental in championing this effort.
I’m asking you now to join your colleagues—especially if your business has remained open during this crisis—and become an NSSF member. There are many, many challenges we have yet to face and many unknowns, but as the trade association for the firearm industry—your trade association—we know from long experience in other difficult times that our strength derives from our numbers.
This crisis will pass and, if there’s a silver lining in it all, there are hundreds of thousands, evenmillionsof people who have become firearm owners for the very first time during this pandemic—and they will be turning to your business for new products and education when it’s over. Please join us in being a part of the fight to get through this and the successes to be found at the other end.
National Shooting Sports Foundation
Managing Director – Member Services