We all share the goal of reducing the intentional misuse of guns and enhancing the safety of our communities. As the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) will carefully review all aspects of the executive actions that President Obama announced today. Much remains to be spelled out. In the interim we have some initial reactions:
- We support further resources being allocated to staffing and increasing operational hours for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to make the system more efficient and responsive.
- We represent Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs). The criteria for what will constitute being “engaged in the business” going forward needs considerable clarification and raises questions about enforceability.
- The number of firearms lost or stolen while in transit to or from FFLs is less than 0.15 percent of the number manufactured and imported in a given year. In these rare occurrences, FFLs already actively participate in ATF’s long-standing voluntary reporting program and FFLs and common carriers work closely with ATF to investigate them. Proposals to make a shipping FFL responsible for tracking and reporting firearms no longer in their inventories, after the legal title has been transferred to the purchaser, are misdirected, as the receiving FFL is in the best position to know if it receives its shipment.
- We have long called for the effective enforcement of the numerous laws already on the books regarding the criminal misuse of firearms and would encourage the administration to carry through on this directive.
- NSSF has been working actively since early 2013 through our FixNICS initiative to encourage states to report all appropriate adjudicated mental health records to NICS and has succeeded in getting legislation passed in more than a dozen states. We welcome the administration’s attention to this issue.
- With regard to the development of “smart-gun” technology, the industry has never opposed its development. How additional government research into this technology would advance it is unclear. Law enforcement agencies and consumers themselves will have to make the determination whether acquisition of firearms with this technology “would be consistent with operational needs,” as the White House itself states. We would continue to oppose mandates for this technology, particularly since there are well proven existing methods to secure firearms, and firearms accidents are at historic low levels.
NSSF will have additional responses in the days, weeks and months ahead, especially as federal departments and agencies begin the work of carrying out the executive orders.