In April, a record 59 industry executives converged on Capitol Hill for the Ninth Annual NSSF Congressional Fly-In. By many accounts, this two-day event was a resounding success for the industry. Considering this year had a record amount of participation from the industry, attendees were able to meet with more Congressional officials on both sides of the aisle.
In a welcome change from previous years, the majority of the meetings were held with the senators and congressmen directly rather than members of their staff. Being an election year, it was clear lawmakers have recognized the significance of the industry and its economic impact--which has seen an increase from $19.1 billion to $49.3 billion (158%) since 2008.
"Each year our industry executives welcome this opportunity to meet directly with Members of Congress to help ensure the significant employment and economic contribution of our industry is understood," said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior VP and general counsel. "Many of the members with whom we meet truly appreciate the firearms and ammunition industry has been central to America's heritage of self-reliance, enjoyment of outdoor traditions and, in a real sense, our very freedoms."
The top legislative priority at the FlyIn was to thank members of the House of Representatives for passing S.405, the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015, and to urge senators to work through the gridlock and pass a similar bill in the Senate. A week after the Fly-In, the Senate passed the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act as an amendment to S.2012 (the Energy Policy Modernization Act), bringing the Bipartisan Sportsmen's package closer to enactment than ever before.
This vital piece of legislation will provide state fish and game agencies with more flexibility to use Pittman-Robertson funds to build and maintain public shooting ranges, as well as secure more access to Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Services lands and waters for hunting, fishing and shooting.
During the Fly-In, attendees also urged elected officials to move forward with Export Control Reform (ECR). Under current conditions, U.S. firearms and ammunition manufacturers face a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace due to inefficient Cold War-era export controls. Industry executives asked Congressional officials to encourage State and Commerce departments to move forward with reforms for the firearms and ammunition industry to transition export...