President Joe Biden has spent an extraordinary amount of speech time decrying the firearm industry’s existence. He’s repeated the same lies over and over. He’s called more than 375,000 Americans that work for lawful firearm and ammunition businesses “the enemy.”
No one could blame the president’s chief speechwriter for announcing he’s jumping ship and leaving The White House.
— Jeffrey Nussbaum (@JeffreyNussbaum) April 26, 2022
The claims the president has made against the firearm industry are indefensible. No one should hold their breath, though, that the president will change his tune regarding his gun control agenda or the lies he says about the firearm industry.
What would help is if President Biden instead listened to his own words about the good the industry has done. The campaign is called Real Solutions, Safer Communities for a reason.
Rose Garden Real Talk
There was a time when then-Vice President Biden understood the effectiveness of the firearm industry’s Project ChildSafe. It’s just one pillar of the multipronged Real Solutions Safe Communities effort. In more than two decades, Project ChildSafe has partnered with more than 15,000 local law enforcement agencies in every state and U.S. territory to provide education materials and free firearm safety kits. This includes handing out more than 40 million free gun locking devices. Combined with the locks included in every firearm sold at retail, that number tops 100 million.
What did Vice President Joe Biden think about this program? He let the truth slip out so he can be taken at his own words.
In 2013, then-Vice President Joe Biden held a White House meeting in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy. He spoke to NSSF then-CEO Steve Sanetti and referring to NSSF, the president said, “You guys are doing a lot of good things, including the gunlock thing. And this isn’t Joe Biden just blowing smoke. I mean it.”
Fast forward to 2021 and current NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi expanded on the program’s successes during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on safe firearm storage. Bartozzi explained, “We know the program works. In the 22 years that Project ChildSafe has been in existence, we know that fatal [firearm] accidents have decreased by 40 percent,” he said. “There’s a lot that goes into that, but fatal firearm accidents are at the lowest point on record since 1903. We are seeing progress and progress is a good thing – it means we’re having an impact.”
Over the past two years, the gun owning community grew by at least 14 million new first-time gun owners. It’s increasingly diverse, with double-digit growth of women and minority gun owners. That’s an inconvenient fact the Biden administration ignores instead of embraces. They choose instead to go soft on criminals and demagogue law-abiding gun owners. They choose to politicize the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to punish the firearm industry instead of regulate it.
In speech after speech, President Biden has repeated the partisan gun control talking points from gun control groups against the firearm industry. His lies, written no doubt by speechwriters, have been fact-checked as false many times. That includes wrongly stating the firearm industry is, “the only outfit in the country,” with liability immunity, to making false claims about home-built firearms and private gun ownership in the early American colonies. The president’s words have been termed, “wrong” and “false” and even been urged, “he needs to stop making this claim.”
Project ChildSafe is an effective and successful firearm safety program. It’s been recently highlighted in cities across the country, including Detroit, Albuquerque and Troy, New York. It’s just one NSSF program working to make safer communities.
The Don’t Lie for the Other Guy initiative is a partnership between industry, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to prevent illegal firearm straw purchases and warn the public it is a crime punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Operation Secure Store assists firearm retailers to improve security at their locations to deter criminals from stealing firearms. One component of the program matches ATF reward offers up to $5,000 to bring to justice criminals stealing firearms. Since launching the number of burglaries and firearm thefts have been trending down.
The FixNICS campaign improves the FBI’s background check system by changing the law in 16 states and in Congress to increase reporting of disqualifying adjudicated mental health records. NSSF increased state submissions by a 266 percent increase since 2013.
NSSF also partners with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Department of Veterans Affairs on efforts to have a “brave conversation” and reduce the tragedy of death by suicide.
If the president wanted to make genuine efforts at reducing criminal and negligent firearm misuse and the resulting tragedies, he could work with the industry that already has a proven track record of success in those areas.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.