Tag Archives: NSSF

Virginia [finally] allows hunting on Sunday

Newtown, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) today hailed the bipartisan accomplishment of both houses of the Virginia General Assembly for passing legislation that will allow hunting on private property on Sundays in the Commonwealth.

In the final step in the legislative process, the State Senate today by a 28-to-11 vote passed the repeal of the old 19th Century Blue Law preventing Sunday hunting. The House of Delegates passed the bill in January by a vote of 71 to 27. The bill now goes to Gov. Terry McAuliffe to be signed into law. The legislation allows Sunday hunting on private land during designated hunting seasons by hunters who have the written permission of landowners.

“Today’s Senate vote is a real accomplishment for sportsmen in Virginia, but it is equally a victory for the economy of the Commonwealth that will see a more than $120 million annual direct economic benefit as the result of hunters going afield on Sundays,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “We congratulate the legislators and we thank our partners from all the hunting and sportsmen’s organizations and those in the wildlife management organizations that worked to encourage citizens to contact their delegates and senators in support of this legislation.”

Public Approval of Hunting Highest Since 1995

Public approval of hunting chartNEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports that a new survey shows 79 percent of the American public approve of hunting. This marks the highest level of support for hunting since 1995, according to data compiled by Responsive Management, an independent research firm.

The nationwide scientific survey showed the public’s approval of hunting rose five points in the past year, up from 74 percent in 2011. The survey, conducted in February 2013 using random digit dialing and supplemental cellular telephone sampling, was the fifth in a series of similar surveys by Responsive Management to track trends in public approval of hunting since 1995.

Support for hunting has remained generally consistent during this time–73 percent in 1995; 75 percent in 2003; 78 percent in 2006; 74 percent in 2011; and a peak of 79 percent in 2013.

Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Responsive Management, is still looking at survey results to better understand why approval has increased. Said Duda, “Approval of hunting among Americans is fairly stable and bounces between 73 and 79 percent. The reasons for this increase are still unclear, but it is probably related to the increase in hunting and shooting participation.

Added Duda, “Since 2006, hunting participation has increased by 9 percent while shooting participation has increased 18 percent since 2009. Other studies we have conducted on public opinion on hunting show that the strongest correlation for approval of hunting is knowing a hunter–over and above demographic variables or anything else. With the increased number of hunters in the field and sport shooters at the range, it is possible that this is being reflected in this uptick in support for hunting.”

One thousand Americans 18 years old and older were surveyed to achieve a sampling error of plus or minus 3.00 percentage points. More than half (52%) of those surveyed strongly approved of hunting. At the other end of the spectrum, 12 percent of Americans disapprove of hunting. Another 8 percent neither approve nor disapprove (total does not equal 100% due to rounding).

EPA Denies Anti-Hunting Group’s Latest Petition to Ban Traditional Ammunition

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday denied yet another frivolous petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) — an established anti-hunting group — calling for a ban on the traditional ammunition (containing lead-core components) for hunting and shooting.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, applauds the EPA’s latest decision and called upon Congress to immediately pass the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act (S.838/H.R.1558). In the House of Representatives, the bill is also included in the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089), an important piece of legislation that combines three other legislative priorities for sportsmen. The bill (S.838/H.R.1558) amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to clarify that the Congress has excluded traditional ammunition from regulation by the EPA. The legislation is supported by more than 35 national conservation and sportsmen’s groups. The bill is even supported by the Fraternal Order of Police because a ban on traditional ammunition would apply to law enforcement and the U.S. military.

NSSF opposed the petition, which was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and other like-minded groups. This was the second attempt by the CBD to ban traditional ammunition since it first petitioned the EPA in August of 2010. In rejecting the CBD’s latest petition the EPA agreed with NSSF, telling the CBD that it did not have jurisdiction under TSCA to regulate ammunition. The CBD’s petition purported to narrow the scope of the ban sought, but the EPA concluded that this change was a “distinction without a substantive difference.” The EPA went on to say the new petition “contains no new information.”

The CBD’s serial petitions erroneously claim that the use of traditional ammunition by hunters poses a danger to human health and wildlife, in particular raptor populations such as bald eagles. The truth is that wildlife populations, including raptor and bald eagle populations, are soaring. The myth of a human health risk has been thoroughly debunked by a 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that found the health of hunters consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition was not at risk.

The excise taxes raised from hunters’ purchases of the very ammunition the CBD tries to demonize is a primary source of wildlife conservation in the United States. Restricting or banning traditional ammunition absent sound science will hurt wildlife conservation. “Hunters have done more for wildlife than the CBD ever will,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “These relentless and unfounded attacks against traditional ammunition by agenda-driven groups like the CBD are exactly why Congress must take immediate action and pass the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012.”

Keane is referencing the federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of the ammunition (11 percent), which is dedicated to the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Firearms Industry Files Suit Against ATF

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for America’s firearms industry, today filed a lawsuit challenging the legal authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) under the Gun Control Act to compel 8,500 federally licensed firearms retailers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas to report the sale of two or more rifles.

Specifically, the regulation calls for reporting multiple sales of any semi-automatic rifle larger than .22 caliber and capable of accepting a detachable magazine that are purchased following an FBI background check by the same individual within five consecutive business days.

NSSF’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks an injunction to block ATF from implementing the reporting requirement. ATF has sent “demand letters” to firearms retailers in the four states to inform retailers they must begin reporting such sales by August 14.

NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane pointed out that if ATF can require this record-keeping and reporting requirement of law-abiding retailers in these four states simply by sending a letter demanding the information, then there is no record or report ATF cannot require of any licensee, anywhere in the country, for as long as ATF wants. “This is the proverbial ‘slippery slope,’ and our industry is extremely concerned about it,” said Keane.

Keane added, “At the time Congress authorized the reporting of multiple sales of handguns, it could have required it for the sale of long guns, but it did not. Acting ATF Director Ken Melson himself has questioned ATF’s legal authority to impose this new requirement.”

Despite its lawsuit, NSSF is encouraging all retailers, not just those along the Southwest border, to continue to cooperate with law enforcement and report any suspicious activity to the ATF.  “The firearms industry and NSSF take pride in having a longstanding cooperative relationship with ATF,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “Retailers have long been considered a vital source of information for law enforcement in combating illegal firearm trafficking.”

Even if ATF had the legal authority to require multiple sales reporting for long guns, NSSF believes the policy would still be unwise to implement. “We believe the policy will make it more difficult for retailers to assist law enforcement,” said Keane. Illegal firearms traffickers will simply alter their schemes to avoid and evade the reporting requirement, making it more difficult for retailers to identify and report suspicious activity.  For example, traffickers could simply recruit more “straw purchasers” and have them illegally purchase firearms from multiple licensees, or simply move their illegal trafficking activities to other states where the reporting requirement does not exist.

Sanetti pointed out that for more than a decade, the firearms industry has done its part to help prevent illegal straw purchases through the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy program. The program, a cooperative effort between NSSF and ATF, educates retailers on how to spot potential illegal purchasers and warns the public that it’s a serious crime to attempt such a purchase.  The program is active in firearms retailer shops across the country. Over the last several years, the firearms industry has solely funded the rollout of Don’t Lie for the Other Guy in border-state areas to deter individuals with intent to illegally purchase firearms.

Also today lawyers representing the National Rifle Association filed a separate lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging ATF’s requirement for reporting multiple sales of rifles.