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The National Shooting Sports Foundation (the trade association for the firearms industry whose mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports) recently announced that they’re lining up with The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Million Murdering Mothers Mom March, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the Violence Policy Center, the Legal Community Against Violence, Americans for Gun Safety and Mayors Against All Illegal Guns in support of reasonable, common-sense, gun control measures. Find that hard to believe? So did I, until I read this piece from the Shooting Wire . . .

Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, told users of the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) today that industry fully supports Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell’s call for making mental health and other prohibiting information available to NICS to ensure that illegal firearm purchases are prevented.

I guess that means that Larry, the NSSF and (by implication) the entire firearms industry is in favor of closing the gun-show/private sale “loophole”? After all, we must ensure that illegal firearm purchases are prevented, right? Larry continues, providing more detail:

“Firearms retailers nationwide rely on NICS to facilitate and ensure the lawful transfer of guns to law-abiding citizens, and the efficient system, which our industry supports, can be made even better with the addition of mental health adjudication and other prohibiting records,” said Keane.

By prohibiting records, I guess Larry means things like the VA’s submission to NICS of some 114,000 records of vets who needed someone to help them deal with “disability compensation, pensions, survivors’ compensation, and other VA payments on behalf of a veteran, surviving spouse, dependent child, or dependent parent,” which prompted the introduction of the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act. I suppose that if MAIG gets their “terror gap” law passed Larry will be in favor of that, too. After all, we must ensure that illegal firearm purchases are prevented, right?

But wait, there’s more! Larry has another brilliant idea.

Keane also voiced NSSF’s support for legislation that would allow federal firearms licensees (FFLs) to conduct a background check on their current or prospective employees, an action currently prohibited unless the retailer is transferring a firearm to the employee. “Performing employee background checks are one way that retailers can ensure the integrity of their staffs and, ultimately, their businesses,” said Keane.

Who here believes that if this change is successful we won’t soon hear shrill shrieks from the antis about the need to “close the retail employee loophole?” Because you know that as soon as some retailers voluntarily run checks on their employees, all gun sellers who don’t will be demonized and the Bradys et al. will want to make the checks mandatory. Oh, wait. They already do!

But since even the NSSF admits that there are holes in the NICS check system, obviously we need to require retailers to get (and pay for) complete background checks. And not just on their employees who sell guns, but any employee who could gain access to the guns for sale.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: I am completely unreasonable on the subject of civil rights (and that includes gun rights). You cannot yield an inch to the antis. By agreeing that “some people just shouldn’t have guns” the camel’s nose is under the tent and pretty soon you’re going to wake up with a flea-ridden hump in your face.

I often quote L. Neil Smith’s classic “the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right”[1] but there is another author who sums it up very concisely:

A person who can’t be trusted with a gun, can’t be trusted without a custodian.[2]

Now if we could somehow convince the NSSF of that . . .

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I am a bit of a Johnny-come-lately to the civil rights (firearms flavor) movement, having not really gotten involved until after I hit 40. I am not really a "gun guy"; I can generally hit what I aim at, but I'm not a competitive shooter. I enjoy the craftsmanship of a fine pistol or rifle, but I am not particularly knowledgeable about firearms in general nor am I a Glock guy, or 1911 guy, I'm just a guy. What I am is passionate about civil rights, especially those of the firearm flavor.


  1. Dear NSSF:
    The friend of my friend is my friend,
    The enemy of my friend is my enemy,
    The enemy of my enemy is my friend,
    But the friend of my enemy is my enemy.

    • Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is just another enemy confused by multiple targets.

      • I’ll take a confused enemy over a confused “friend” any day of the week.

  2. The NSSF is a firearms industry trade organization, run by and for the retailers and manufacturers. The NSSF claims that its mission is “to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports.” Which is, of course, a crock. It’s mission is to promote, protect and preserve its benefactors. Period.

    I’m sure that the NSSF would be very happy to wipe gun shows off the face of the earth if that what it takes to grant its retailers a total monopoly on gun sales.

    • This. x1000. The NSSF is NOT the NRA or a 2A foundation. It is a corporate lobbying group and they don’t work for you.

    • the NSSF would be very happy to wipe gun shows off the face of the earth if that what it takes to grant its retailers a total monopoly on gun sales.

      My thinking exactly.

    • Everyone knows what happens when you sell to a dealer a used gun and buy another, the spread is obscenely large. More money is made off resale than new sales, especially without warranty work to worry about. NSSF realizes this and would like to close the private sales of firearms off altogether.

  3. Can people get refunds on donations to organizations that suddenly change course?

    • Nope, unless you ask and they decide to give it to you.

      One reason I don’t donate to any political/lobbying groups ever, and won’t. If you want to help a person/cause, get involved with your time.

  4. It’s a slipper slope, and anyone who supports such things is either a fool or a tyrant. We already have Orwellian thoughtcrime in such things as “hate crime” penalties and the like; adding mental health checks and such ambiguous wording as “prohibitive records” is just the foundation for an ever-growing monstrosity of infringement and tyranny. Who decides what’s normal? Who decides what’s prohibitive? How soon until a corrupt administration (redundant, I know) and a corrupt SCOTUS decide that anyone with a different political opinion is mentally unfit? How soon until they decide that those with certain political opinions are taking part in “prohibitive behavior” by voicing them? Go ahead, think it can’t happen. Then look at history compared to recently enacted policies.

    • Some people with mental illnesses are prohibited from purchasing firearms and many states already report these blocked individuals to NIC. “prohibitive records” is well defined and includes things like being arrested for domestic violence.

  5. I hate it when well established associations like this bend and crack under pressure from a bunch of smaller, whiney groups. This happens way too often throughout all industries and it bums me out. I don’t think “sleeping with the enemy” is going to help the NSSF score brownie points or make anybody’s gun rights any safer. We’ll just have to see what happens down the road so I can keep coming back to this blog and be further entertained by everyone’s witty sense of humor.

  6. Thank you for this post. I read about this yesterday and wanted to puke. Goes back to my basic rule. Don’t trust your rights (any of them), to an industry run organization. The NSSF is NOT a people organization, it represents the industry. You’ve heard of the military industrial complex? Well the NSSF is part of the firearms industry complex. They DO NOT EXIST TO PROTECT THE SECOND AMENDMENT OR OUR RIGHTS. Their job is to make it easy to make more money for the companies. Period. Anything they do has a purpose of not pissing off the regulators (go along to get along), increasing sales, driving down costs.

    That is why I don’t vote for the NRA Board of Directors who are in the industry. But they keep on getting elected anyway. Big money flows from the industry into the NRA, so they keep on having a major voice on what US LITTLE PEOPLE can do with our guns. It would be like Martin Luther King working for some HIP HOP record label. Rights don’t work like that.

  7. In theory, I’m all for keeping dangerous wackos from having access to guns. Unfortunately, mental health record cross-referencing will soon lead to excessive and absurd bans, and politically-corrupt pre-gun buy mental testing that will disqualify sane and responsible people.

    I can see it now: ‘by law all gun owners are required to go in for their annual gun mental health testing. Oh, you believe in limited government and the right to self-educate your own children? Why then you are mentally-ill. Please turn in your guns. Thank you citizen. Next’

    In the greater picture more harm will come from it than good.

    L. Neil Smith is a great author who is passionate about freedom and liberty. Here is a link to a list of his books, stories, and other writings:

    • I’m all for keeping dangerous wackos from having access to guns.

      Does that apply to police, too? ‘Cause I know some majorly serious wackos who wear blue.

  8. Very, very disappointing. Millions of Americans have at some point in their life required the help of mental services which means if this gets put into place it will be like a thousand Christmases (sp?) rolled into one for the anti’s. One would think that the industry wouldn’t want a damn thing to do with legislation that would very possibly and very pointlessly negate a large part of the customers that keep them in business.

    • That some folks with a history of mental illness is already law, has been for years. I’m pretty sure that last time I bought a gun I had to check a box saying I wasn’t nuts. But, what gets reported to NIC varies from state to state. This is an effort to get all states to report to NIC.

      If I was on the ban list for being crazy I could use my 1st amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. In other words explain to a judge that while I was having issues with depression for a bit, I’m fine now and be removed from the list.

      This really isn’t a big deal at all.

      • The box you checked was saying that you’ve never been adjudicated by a court as mentally unfit or were involuntarily committed to the nuthouse. Big difference. The folks that responsibly address their issues shouldn’t have to explain themselves to anyone. If that came to be it would be similar in spirit to areas where it’s up to the sheriff to decide who gets to carry concealed. That system is arbitrary at best and not acceptable. Good luck trying to use the 1st to regain your 2nd.

        I can tell you firsthand that mental illness is the most patently misunderstood and disgustingly stereotyped illness in existence.

      • “… explain to a judge … I’m fine now and be removed from the list. This really isn’t a big deal at all.”

        Unless you discover that you are the target of a stalker and the nice judge promptly schedules your hearing for 6 months from now.

        Of course there is always the possibility, no strike that, the likelihood that the judge refuses to take your name off the list because they don’t like the 2nd Amendment.

        Shall I continue?

        If society cannot trust you with a firearm, why can they trust you with cars, trucks, knives, poisons, gasoline, etc. ???

        • The box you checked was saying that you’ve never been adjudicated by a court as mentally unfit or were involuntarily committed to the nuthouse.

          Yep, thanks for the correction. But, in my state you can already be put on the list and you can be taken off it as well.

          I was treated for depression for about 2 years, so I know about mental illness. In that time I was never banned from purchasing firearms.

          • Which state is that? Just curious.

            I’ve dealt with it for 25 years and will probably always have to deal with it. Genetics can really suck sometimes. I’ve always been supremely responsible in taking care of my health and never been banned either but the last thing I want is to have my civil rights in the hands of a judge that may or may not understand just how varied mental illness can be.

            Thanks to the few and far between whack jobs that commit heinous crimes the rest of us tend to get lumped in with them when it comes to politicians, lawmakers and the uninformed. It’s like viewing every person who drinks as a definite hit and run vehicular manslaughter case waiting to happen so their license should be revoked.

    • Having trouble at work? Spouse and you not getting along? Lost a loved one recently? Kids driving you up a wall? Go to a mental health specialist for counseling on any of this and you might just find yourself on a list somewhere. Especially if you end up getting prescribed some meds. They work pretty fast too, if you live in some areas a nice group of bulletproof men will come by to make your house safe and gun free. Hide the dog in the basement and make sure you get up before dawn each day.

      It used to be your problems were a private matter, that’s changing quick. They can code you into a classification without divulging details, thereby pretending to preserve your privacy. The best thing to do is see someone on a cash basis you know and trust who won’t rat you out, and keep the insurance company out of it.

  9. But they do oppose the ridiculously annoying assault weapon ban and have been trying to educate the public on “modern sporting rifles.” If they manage to get that issue resolved, then I don’t care if the background checks are expanded. Maybe they should trade the laws prisoner exchange style.

    • “But they do oppose the ridiculously annoying assault weapon ban and have been trying to educate the public on ‘modern sporting rifles.'”
      Um, yeah. They want to sell ’em. That’s their business. You didn’t really think they were being altruistic, did you?

      • They could always sell you a Kalifornication edition without the “evil” features.

    • Thanks for the support. Maybe you can send me range reports on your nice MSR while my collection might possibly be taken away.

  10. I don’t know if I should hate you or thank you for this post!
    I got smart, because of Ralf and started putting plastic sheeting down around the computer. You know coffee through the nose and all that!
    Anyways I just now puked, and well plastic sheeting caught it all.
    This guy needs to go.

  11. You might think that anti-gunowner activists might try to exploit any rift in pro-gunowner orgs.

    But if they try to do so here, they would expose their bogus myth that the NRA is conrolled by gunmakers!

  12. WHAT the NSSF said is nearly the same as your second quote. What do you suppose that means? HMMM!

    • We all know that the 2A only applies to the National Guard and the US military. Silly us!

  13. Okay, here is where I’m having trouble understanding things. Giving into the anti 2A crowd is going to result in fewer gun sales. Furthermore, a lot of the groups they are partnering with would like nothing better than a new assault weapons ban. I can’t see how that would be good thing for it’s members. The only explanation I can come up with is that they think that they are appeasing the anti nut jobs. This did not work for Chambelain when he tried to appease Hitler (and yes, the analogy is apt) and it won’t work this time.

  14. Couple this information with the Freedom Group’s increasing control over gun makers in this country and that writing on the wall becomes clearer by the day – none of it good. (Yeah, Yeah, I know the NRA gave Freedom Group Execs a clean bill of health but those FG bean-counters are still destroying the industry by cutting corners and making stupid decisions about quality-control. It all adds up to the same thing; bad news for the firearms fraternity.)

    • I agree with Tom. Buy from indie companies. There are plenty of manufacturers who make a good firearm at a decent price who have nothing to do with FG. Kimber and Springfield for 1911’s. H&K and SiG for hi-cap automatics. A boatload of AR and AK manufacturers. And I’m sure we can all agree that the House that Gaston Built will not soon be absorbed by the FG.

      • What about Smith & Wesson? Also, I like some of those manufacturers but I prefer to buy American when it comes to my guns.

          • I already did, actually; my first real combat pistol will be an M&P40 – ordered it earlier this week.

            If you’ve got a good reason why S&W is terrible, please let me know – I don’t see much difference between them and Springfield when it comes to American production guns and as far as I know S&W isn’t owned by FG.

          • Taking a leap but way back when S&W was owned by a limey company and that’s when they broke bread with slimy cigar Clinton. Since they were bought back by a US company they renounced the deal with Mr. stained dress and they’ve done just about everything contrary to what a hokey company would do. Dozens of AR-15 variants for the public? Check. A myriad of CCW oriented handguns for the public? Check. The current US owned S&W caters to us shooters, not liberals.

        • I agree with APBTFan.
          I wrote S&W when the gun-haters had control of it. I told them my first sidearm was a S&W, that I now owned three, and was planning to add a fourth until I heard of their corporate policy changes. I swore I wouldn’t buy another gun from them, and I haven’t.
          But it is no longer the same corporation it was under that British management group, and it’s time to recognize that the new management should not be punished for the crimes that were committed by others.

  15. This is ridiculous.

    1) Any list of people with mental health problems would be, by its very nature, arbitrary. Also, if you have experience with the field of psychology you might be familiar with the DSM. The DSM-V (the newest revision of it) will be out in the near future and it’s likely to have enough mental health “problems” for ANYBODY who’s legally old enough to own a firearm to either have or have had some disorder. Also, who determines what’s bonkers enough to stop you from having a gun? Arguments could be made to bar folks with depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety disorders, and maybe even personality disorders from owning firearms, which would cover far, far more folks than you might guess. (And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.)

    2) Any list the government had access to would likely be permanent. If you have experience with the field of psychology or healthcare you know these sort of records are supposed to be stored safer than chemical weapons. If this sort of nonsense passed, imagine what the government could do with that information.

    3) NSSF, you are permanently on my “foe” list.

  16. “Anyone having searched for an example as to how to get ones feet firmly planted while gliding down the slippery slope need look no further.”

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