Nothing is more influential and more important for lawmakers than to hear directly from their constituents. That’s why I couldn’t have been more proud of the 70 attendees from across the firearms and ammunition industries for joining together this week to make NSSF’s annual Fly-In a success.
Representatives from over 40 firearms manufacturers assembled in Washington, D.C., this week to team up with staff members from NSSF to ensure that Congress understand the impacts of pending legislation to America’s firearms and ammunition makers, distributors, retailers and ranges. Lawmakers heard directly from our industry’s leaders of the threats facing the firearms industry and about the jobs the firearms industry supports in their states. Our industry’s leaders were able to explain what lawmakers can do to ensure opposing interests do not control the legislative agenda of our country.
Strength and Protections
NSSF and industry representatives attended more than 70 appointments with Senators, Representatives and their staff on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the most pressing issues facing the firearms and ammunition industry are addressed. We covered a variety of issues crucial to the continued success and growth of our industry and were proud to share the economic strength of our industry supporting local economies in their states and Congressional districts.
For example, we pushed for Senators and Congressmen and women to co-sponsor and vote for the Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act, a much-needed law that would strengthen the criminal penalties for the theft of firearms from federal firearms licensees. Senators and Representatives also learned about the importance of the Freedom Financing Act, which would end the discriminatory lending practices of major banking institutions that seek to circumvent the legislative process by setting social policy from the boardroom. These bills are important measures that protect the industry that makes the right to bear arms a reality.
Not only is it important for us to present a united message about these must-pass pieces of legislation, but it is equally important to pressure lawmakers to vote no on bills that seek to chip away at our rights under the Second Amendment. For example, proposed bans on so-called “assault weapons” would actually ban the most-popular selling rifles in today’s firearms market, which are used for a wide variety of legitimate purposes including hunting, predator control, target shooting and personal defense.
Most important, however, is the persuasiveness our industry holds when it bands together for initiatives like this week’s Fly-In. The firearms and ammunition retailers and manufacturers represent hundreds of thousands of American workers, and combining our voices to send clear and concise messages to Congress is the best way to ensure federal legislators protect jobs in their home state and our freedom to exercise our Second Amendment right throughout our nation.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation