NSSF’s Government Relations Team dedicates its time and resources to supporting legislation beneficial to our industry and fighting those bills that infringe on our rights to legally conduct business and compromise everyone’s Second Amendment rights. Team members attend legislative hearings on the federal, state and local levels year-round across the nation, keeping their finger on the pulse of those issues affecting us.
Between the wrangling over a third coronavirus relief package, the furor over replacing the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the ramped-up campaign stumping, we can come close to saying “All’s quiet on the western front.” Close. A handful of the usual suspects continue their gun-control blitz, and while it would be convenient to say that was because they saw hope for their agenda after Nov. 3, their history shows that these moves go about unabated no matter who’s in office or controlling senates and houses whether state-level or federal. Here’s September’s round-up of wrangling, bad moves and other goings on that NASGW members should keep an eye on.
Around the States
California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a petition for rehearing en banc, or full court review, of Duncan v. Becerra. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit previously upheld (2-1) a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez that found California’s ban on standard-size magazines is unconstitutional. Duncan v. Becerra challenged California Government Code § 32310, which bans possession of what California termed “large-capacity magazines” or any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Judge Kenneth K. Lee wrote for the panel majority, saying, “California’s near-categorical ban of large-capacity magazines strikes at the core of the Second Amendment — the right to armed self-defense. Armed self-defense is a fundamental right rooted in tradition and the text of the Second Amendment. Indeed, from pre-colonial times to today’s post-modern era, the right to defend hearth and home has remained paramount.” If en banc review is granted, NSSF will again file an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, as we did before when the case was argued before the three-judge panel.
The California state legislature has adjourned, but not before it sent three gun-control bills to the desk of Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom for him to sign. AB 2362 would allow the state’s Department of Justice to levy excessive fines against firearm retailers for minor violations, including not appropriately placing a warning poster or using outdated warning tags. AB 2847, eliminates the dual-placement microstamping requirement in lieu of a single placement requirement and would also require the DOJ to remove three firearms from the handgun roster for every new addition. Finally, SB 914, defines a valid unexpired hunting license and establishes rules for those under the age of 21 with a hunting license. The bill would make it cumbersome for individuals under the age of 21 to purchase a long gun and would add a fee for the “validation process,” adding unnecessary burdens and costs. Gov. Newsom has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the bills. NSSF will continue monitoring the status of these bills.
Writing in the Baltimore Sun, Maryland Republican State Senators Michael Hough and Justin Ready voiced their opposition to a proposal to delay firearm transfers for up to 30 days, stating “The State of Maryland failed and couldn’t fulfill its duty, meaning that Marylanders were deprived of the ability to access their Second Amendment Right. …Writing more laws that take away the Constitutional rights of our fellow Marylanders isn’t the way to keep us safe.” Law-abiding Marylanders already face strict gun-control laws, and state Democrats want to impose even stricter limits. After the state computer system used to conduct firearm background checks crashed and caused delays, = Democratic State Senator Will Smith and Montgomery County Council Member Tom Hucker proposed imposing a 30-day waiting period on law-abiding citizens buying firearms rather than fix the broken background check system.
Law-abiding citizens in New Jersey have submitted more handgun-permit applications so far in 2020 than in the last two years combined. That’s not deterring Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy from trying once again to pass more gun control. This time, he’s using the coronavirus crisis to propose even more gun control as a way to close the budgetary red ink in his blue state. Gov. Murphy’s recent state budget proposal attempts to close a $5.6 billion hole in the Garden State by hiking taxes and fees on firearm services and businesses that might generate $6 million. That amounts to one-tenth of one percent—it’s just antigun window dressing and the governor knows it. Punishing those who exercise their rights is abhorrent. Using it as an excuse to cover for poor leadership during a health crisis is not the sort of behavior citizens should expect from their governors. Read more from Larry Keane.
Albuquerque’s City Council voted 5-4 to defeat Council Resolution 20-68, the proposed measure encouraging the state legislature to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to allow localities to enact their own gun laws. The constitutional preemption provision is the only thing standing in the way of cities such as Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces from imposing gun and magazine bans, limits on the ability of citizens to carry firearms for self-defense, draconian regulations on gun store owners and more. This was clearly a case where citizen and business owner activism throughout Albuquerque made the difference. Before the vote, many council members referred to the high volume of communications received in opposition to the proposal.
NSSF recently testified in the Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee in support of Senate Bill 360, authored by Republican Senate President Larry Obhof. This bill would restrict the authority of Ohio’s public officials to order firearm retailers closed in times of declared emergency. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine designated the firearm industry as essential in his stay-at-home orders back in March, and this legislation would ensure that designation remains under future governors. Nearly half of all U.S. states have similar protections in place, and NSSF will continue to work with state legislators to add Ohio to that growing list.
Federal Judge Ronald Leighton ruled against a challenge on gun-control laws approved by Washington state voters, deeming the laws constitutional and allowing them to remain in place. Washington voters approved I-1639 in November 2018. The gun-control initiatives included limits on purchasing modern sporting rifles, expanded background checks, instituted long waiting periods for the purchase of semiautomatic rifles and banned firearms from being purchased by Washingtonians under the age of 21. The gun-control initiatives were challenged for being unconstitutional and denying Second Amendment rights to law-abiding residents of the state.
Financial Discrimination Affecting Importers/Exporters
NSSF has recently learned of problems occurring for industry companies attempting to send wire transfer payments to foreign customers. The issue appears to be with the foreign intermediary banks.
Due to the constraints put on our industry by Operation Chokepoint, we have learned that some European banks have added onerous compliance measures to transactions from US firearm companies. In some cases, the fear of potential sanctions, fines and penalties related to U.S. business has forced these banks to stop dealing in U.S. dollar transactions. We have heard of dollar transactions turned down by European and Turkish intermediary banks, without any notice of their policy changes in handling firearm or ammunition business transactions.
Has your company encountered a similar situation or do you know of other instances where this is occurring? We would appreciate input from the Import/Export Committee members on whether this problem is affecting a larger number of members. Please send any information you are willing to share to Kim Pritula at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from NSSF
First-Time Gun Buyers Grow to 5 Million
NSSF updated retail survey-based estimates conclude that nearly 5 million Americans purchased a firearm for the first time in 2020. NSSF surveyed firearm retailers which reported that 40 percent of sales were conducted to purchasers who have never previously owned a firearm. NSSF tracks the background checks associated with the sale of a firearm based on the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System (NICS). NSSF-adjusted NICS checks for January through July 2020 is a record 12.1 million, which is up 71.7 percent from the 7.1 million NSSF-adjusted NICS January through July 2019. This is a tectonic shift in the firearm and ammunition industry marketplace and complete transformation of today’s gun-owning community,” said NSSF’s Larry Keane. “These first-time buyers represent a group of people who, until now, were agnostic regarding firearm ownership.” Read more here.
August Sets Another NICS Record
Adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figures for firearm sales in August 2020 set a new record and were 51.2 percent higher compared to last August. Checks run in August 2020 numbered 1,684,083 versus the 1,113,535 during August 2019. These numbers represent the highest August on record. For comparison, the unadjusted August 2020 FBI NICS figure 3,085,227 reflects a 31.8 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,341,363 in August 2019. NSSF’s Mark Oliva spoke with Fox Business about the record August sales, saying, “News reports of violent attacks, riots and looting are coupled with calls to defund police. Americans are witnessing gun control politicians refuse to enforce penalties on violent criminals while at the same time actively working to deny those who obey the law the ability [to] protect themselves.” Oliva continued, “These sales figures are proof that Americans refuse to be compliant victims to violent criminals who prey on the most vulnerable of our society.”
#GUNVOTE 2020: Help Drive Voter Registration
2020 is a critical election year for our industry and could very well determine the future of our Second Amendment rights. It is crucial that all segments of our industry help inform employees and customers on the importance of registering to vote. NSSF is urging all businesses in our industry to download and display NSSF’s #GUNVOTE icon on their company websites and to incorporate #GUNVOTE messages into their social media campaigns. Download everything you need here, then link to gunvote.org, where visitors can find voter-registration information in their states and other helpful resources.
NSSF Releases Congressional Report Card before November Elections
NSSF has released its 2020 Congressional Report Card, grading every U.S. Representative and Senator on key priorities critical to the firearm and ammunition industry and Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. “This scorecard is of vital importance to voters as we head into November elections. This tells voters exactly where their lawmakers stand on issues they care about like recreational shooting and hunting and the right to keep and bear arms,” said NSSF’s Larry Keane. NSSF awarded 17 U.S. Senators and 97 U.S. Representatives the highest rating of “A+.”
SHOT Show Insider—Get the Scoop!
SHOT SHOW® INSIDER … Here's the latest SHOT Show Insider covering the new SHOT Show COVID-19 FAQ, booth best practices, changes to registration, what buyers are thinking about the 2021 SHOT Show, Otis Technology supplying 52,500 bottles of hand sanitizer, SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy webinar series starting Sept. 24, Sands safety adjustments and a SHOT Show exhibitor scam alert.
NSSF American Red Cross Fundraiser Enters Final Month
Please join us in supporting NSSF’s American Red Cross Fundraiser by donating today. Whether $5 or $5,000, every dollar counts. Our goal is to raise $10,000 through this fundraiser before the end of October. We also encourage you to donate blood where you can. This link has the details (just enter your zip code in the indicated box), and it also provides information on how all blood donations are currently being tested for COVID-19 antibodies, which is key to ending this health crisis and preventing a devastating resurgence.
Note: All donations made to NSSF’s GoFundMe.com page for the American Red Cross go directly to that organization.
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.