Top brass from the firearms industry descended on the nation’s capital this week for the 10th annual congressional “fly-in” sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
The 73 executives in attendance held a record 79 meetings with Members of both houses of Congress in D.C. to discuss issues including the $51.3 billion national economic impact of the firearms industry, the need for Congress to pass the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, the Hearing Protection Act, Target Practice & Marksmanship Training Support Act, Sportsmen’s Act introduced in the Senate and advancing export control reform.
Executives proudly represented a broad range of companies, including Daniel Defense, Ruger, FMG Publication, SilencerCo, Colt, Mossberg, Vista Outdoor and Hornady, met with an impressive list of lawmakers including Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA), Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-VA), Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Congressman Gene Green (D-TX), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“This year’s NSSF Congressional Fly-In, our 10th, was important for us because, with a friendly administration and a new Congress, we have the opportunity to make real progress in advancing our industry’s legislative priorities that will also benefit our member companies and their customers,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “We set a very robust agenda of visits and our member company executives stepped up to the challenge. It resulted in a Fly-In that achieved a series of ‘mosts’.”
“We had the most companies participate, the most number of people representing those companies. They met with the most number of Senators and members of Congress and their staffs on both sides of the aisle. We were able to make the case to our lawmakers that our legislative priorities would help to grow business, create jobs and open up opportunities for sportsmen and women to participate in hunting and the shooting sports.”
“The NSSF team did a great job, this was the best organized Fly-In to date,” Marty Daniel, President and CEO of Daniel Defense told me. “I was able to meet with 11 members; 6 Republicans, 4 Democrats and 1 Independent, 3 of which were Senators. We ended up meeting with a couple of members’ staff, as members had to step out for votes. All the members were receptive to our visits and listened.”
Daniel, who was most passionate about the Hearing Protection Act, said he was encouraged by the response he received from the legislators. “Many of them committed to support the bills we were there to discuss. Overall, this was a very important and effective two days where we made progress for our industry and our consumers.”
“The 2017 NSSF fly-in afforded us with a valuable opportunity for our executives to communicate their concerns to key Members of Congress and their staffs. The fly-in enabled us to provide first hand, real world examples of how legislation and regulation impact our business and our customers,” Vista Outdoor’s Vice President of Government and Industry Relations Don Masch told me this morning.
At the annual dinner held in conjunction with the event, the NSSF officially recognized U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) as 2016 Legislators of the Year.
Executives also used this week as an opportunity to urge senators to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a priority to ensure gun rights will be preserved for generations to come.
Whether you’re an executive in the firearms industry or a gun owner dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment, meeting with or writing to and calling your local legislators can and does make a difference. The 2017 NSSF Fly-In was certainly proof of that.