The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is currently reviewing the recently released study by ATF on the importability of shotguns. NSSF will be submitting comments to ATF by the May 1, 2011 deadline. NSSF’s initial reaction to the study is that if the shooting public deems a certain activity to be “sporting” through participation, even if that sport is new and seems unconventional to the uninitiated, NSSF does not believe the federal government should say that the firearms law abiding citizens use to participate in that shooting sport activity are neither “particularly suitable for nor readily adaptable to generally recognized sporting purposes” pursuant to the Gun Control Act of 1968. Many new sport shooting disciplines have arisen since 1968 and have enjoyed significant participation. The federal government ought not to be making subjective decisions about what lawful shooting activities it considers a sport.
The safe and responsible participation in new and evolving sporting events does not result in injury. The possession of firearms in the hands of law abiding Americans for any lawful purpose, including but not limited to sports shooting, does not cause crime.
The Supreme Court’s decisions in Heller and McDonald make clear that the exercise of the fundamental individual right to keep and bear arms for self defense protected by the Second Amendment does not hinge on whether one will use the firearm to participate in an activity the government deems to be sufficiently sporting. The shotguns this study would ban from importation are also suitable for self protection including home defense.
NSSF believes the time has come for Congress to re-examine the so-called “sporting purpose” test as a criteria for importing a firearm into the United States.