NSSF Hires Lobbyist As Financial Industry Explores Gun Sales Tracking

A short while ago, we reported that the financial industry was exploring ways to track gun sales, which is a troubling development, and one that we need to act to prevent as best we can. After all, it’s none of their business what we buy so long as we pay our bills, right?

Well, now the National Shooting Sports Foundation has stepped into the fray by hiring a lobbyist.

Concerned with financial institutes implementing new gun control policies, the gun industry’s trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, retained the services of a banking lobbyist firm. The NSSF hired lobbyist Will Hollier, of Hollier & Associates, to encourage Congress to act on “discriminatory banking actions against [the] firearms industry,” according to a federal lobbying disclosure form filed May 1.

Larry Keane, NSSF senior vice president for government and public affairs and the organization’s general counsel, declined to comment on the lobbying strategy, but told Guns.com that gun owners and the industry should be concerned “about the troubling reports that banks and credit card companies are collecting information about their purchases and the potential for the misuse of that data including blocking or denying transactions.”

News surfaced last month that banks and credit card companies had informal discussions about monitoring gun sales as a means to reduce gun violence. In meetings, they floated using specific transaction codes and keeping data on gun buyers so they could identify possible criminality. Gun rights advocates have long resisted those types of policies, arguing such activity could lead to limiting legal gun sales or preventing them entirely. The federal government is already barred from monitoring legal firearm transactions once they’re transferred from a licensed dealer to a buyer.

Citing NSSF literature, publicly traded gun companies defended industry standards in addressing questions about risks associated with selling firearms. Also, the industry’s response to preventing further shooting massacres as led by the NSSF includes supporting current policies like background checks as well as enforcing current gun laws.

It’s important to note that nothing came out of that meeting last month. I want everyone to be clear on that.

That said, this is still troubling, and I’m glad the NSSF is stepping in to try and do what it can to kill anything like this. The last thing we need is our bank deciding what we are and aren’t allowed to buy. While I tend to believe private businesses are free to do just about anything they want, I do disagree with businesses colluding with one another in the process.

The result of that is that an industry standard can be set not by companies learning from one another what works, but by a conspiracy to change the way people live their lives by blocking purchases some don’t approve of. If that’s allowed to stand, what’s next? Will our bank suddenly decide we can’t pay rent because our apartment or house isn’t as energy efficient as they’d like? Will we no longer be able to buy more than X amount of gas each month because of fears over climate change?

The truth is, it’s none of their business, but colluding with one another makes it their business is troubling.

Luckily, the firearm industry isn’t going to take this lying down. Good.