A sell-out crowd attended last night’s annual State of the Industry Dinner.
NSSF President Steve Sanetti took to the podium to speak about the challenges that lie ahead for the industry in 2016.
“We meet tonight at the very beginning of a crucial election year—for our industry and our nation. … We have to face the fact that our industry is being blamed, and attacked, and pilloried unfairly by politicians, media and agenda-driven social engineers seeking a convenient scapegoat for the result of policies which, ironically, they themselves have championed. So, ladies and gentlemen, the state of our industry is, and must be throughout the year—alert.
“Those who exploit tragedies and attack us, either for their own political ends or for an understandable desire to make sense out of senseless acts, make no pretense about their goals. So this, in turn, forces us to respond—to reply to deliberate and ignorant falsehoods with the truth, and to educate the public using all means at our disposal. …”
Sanetti continued, “We’ve been told that our industry ‘does nothing for gun safety.’ Yet between the manufacturers and the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe, we’ve distributed over 100 million free gun locks and safety materials, in cooperation with law enforcement in over 15,000 communities, in all 50 states during the last 15 years. Over 1,200 industry partners have signed on to our ‘Own It? Respect It. Secure It’ program, and the Project ChildSafe Foundation now accepts charitable contributions from anyone who wishes to help advance true gun safety. …”
“Incredibly, some gun control groups actually object to our saving lives with this program because we don’t agree with their politics! That is the definition of placing politics over safety. So much for their often-repeated claim that ‘if it saves just one life, it’s worth doing’.”
Remarking on NSSF’s many efforts that promote gun safety such as Project ChildSafe and “Own it? Respect it. Secure it.”, our retailer education programs such as “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” and “FixNICS,” and new and ongoing work with the Department of Veterans Affairs suicide prevention group, Sanetti got to the heart of the challenges that face us in 2016.
“We think of the upcoming elections as a Presidential election. Indeed it is; but it is so much more. This election is about your entire government, right down to the local level, which ultimately will determine the courses of all our lives, our industry, and the way of life we treasure.” Emphasizing that those elections include possible vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court, new Federal Judge appointees, presidential department head appointees and dozens of Congressional seats are also at stake, just as are Attorneys General, mayors, city and town councils and judges on the local level, Sanetti continued, “Beware of politician’s’ statements that begin with, ‘I support the Second Amendment but…’ Check out how they vote; not just what they say. Some politicians who would do us in have come right out and said so—they’ve dropped all pretense of being respectful of lawful commence in firearms and have made it easy to choose. But make your choice known by educating all in this fine industry, through all the means at our disposal. And ultimately, by voting, and getting out the vote.”
Concluding his address, Sanetti said, “So ladies and gentlemen, the State of the Industry tonight is alert. Alert to the challenges we face. Alert to those who would destroy our livelihoods and our avocations. Alert to false friends and false promises and misrepresentations about us. Alert to the fact that all elections—all elections—have consequences. And above all, alert to the new, promising world of millions of law abiding American citizens who are joining our ranks in honest, lawful, and safe ownership and use of firearms.
“If I may paraphrase Winston Churchill during some pretty dark days of his own: We may experience some setbacks when a frightened and mislead public acts without thinking. We may find that our path forward has been temporarily blocked. We may even have to endure some period of darkness before the facts and the truth about lawful, responsible firearms ownership again conquer the powerful forces set against us. The road ahead will be arduous and costly. But the people are never fooled for long. They, and we, will prevail.”
Watch NSSF President Steve Sanetti’s entire State of the Industry address here: