OCC Proposal Comments Close Tonight

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has proposed a regulation that would ensure fair access to banking and credit services. The regulation would ban things like the Obama Administration’s Operation Chokepoint which sought to cut off banking services to disfavored industries.

In the greater scheme of things, this regulation is more important for the health of the firearms industry than the recent ATF moves on pistol braces and 80% lowers/frames. Without access to credit and banking services, the firearms industry would have a hard time existing as would any business.

In its proposal, the OCC notes that certain non-quantitative risk measures have been used by banks to deny financial services.

The pressure on banks has come from both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors of the economy and targeted a wide and varied range of individuals, companies, organizations, and industries. For example, there have been calls for boycotts of banks that support certain health care and social service providers, including family planning organizations, and some banks have reportedly denied financial services to customers in these industries. (8) Some banks have reportedly ceased to provide financial services to owners of privately owned correctional facilities that operate under contracts with the Federal Government and various state governments. (9) Makers of shotguns and hunting rifles have reportedly been debanked in recent years. (10) Independent, nonbank automated teller machine operators that provide access to cash settlement and other operational accounts, particularly in low-income communities and thinly-populated rural areas, have been affected. (11) Globally, there have been calls to de-bank large farming operations and other agricultural business. (12) And companies that operate in industries important to local economies and the national economy have been cut off from access to financial services, including those that operate in sectors of the nation’s infrastructure “so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.”  (13)

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is fully in favor of this proposed regulation. They note it doesn’t force banks to do business with businesses. Traditional credit worthiness measures as debt ratio, payment history, and ability to pay will remain in place. They go on to say this proposal will level the playing field by forcing banks to treat all businesses equally and fairly without consideration of banking executives’ personal political preferences.

The rule will apply to the largest banks in the country that may exert significant pricing power or influence over sectors of the national economy. It would require those banks to make their products and services available to all customers in the community it serves, based on consideration of quantitative, impartial, risk-based standards established by the bank.

In other words, banks would be required to approve or deny their services based on merit and creditworthiness of individual borrowers. That would remove the “reputational risk” mask that banks hide behind when they force businesses to adopt gun control policies that are beyond the scope of federal, state and local laws or lose access to banking services.

Comments on OCC-2020-0042-0001 closes tonight at 11:59pm Eastern.

To make a comment, use this link: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=OCC-2020-0042-0001

As of this morning, they have received only 4,272 comments. There have been comments opposing it from gun control supporters as well as environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council.

I made a comment and I hope you take a few minutes to do so as well.

You Knew It Was Coming – SHOT Show Canceled.

The NSSF sent out an email within the last two hours announcing that the 2021 SHOT Show had been canceled. You just knew that it was bound to happen no matter what was being said.

Frankly, I think they did the smart thing. It would have been interesting to hear the conversations regarding the election and Remington but those really don’t require going to Las Vegas.

From NSSF:

Statement from NSSF President & CEO Joe Bartozzi:

Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the world, NSSF, the firearm industry trade association, today makes the difficult announcement that the 2021 SHOT Show has been cancelled.

NSSF has remained in constant communication with Nevada officials throughout the year in our planning for the 2021 show. While there has been a concerted effort to expand the allowable levels for large gatherings by the county and state, with positivity rates peaking during our key planning period we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 show. Sadly, these spikes are currently transpiring worldwide. Given the sheer complexities, diminishing timeline and immense logistical planning required to conduct a trade show as large as SHOT, NSSF simply could not move forward at this point with so many unknowns and variables. We truly appreciate the guidance of Nevada and Las Vegas officials in allowing us to communicate this news to our exhibitors and attendees well in advance of the show. We would also like to thank the Sands directly for their help and efforts to navigate this unprecedented situation.

The planning and work that has gone into the 2021 SHOT Show has been nothing short of remarkable. Since the pandemic began in early 2020, the NSSF staff and our show partners have been working around the clock to plan our largest show in history while keeping the health and safety of all involved as paramount.

The support of our show exhibitors this year has also been nothing short of remarkable. With three months to go until the show, floor space for both the Sands Expo Center and our expansion to the new Caesars Forum was nearly sold out, with more companies than ever before represented at the SHOT Show.

All of this positions us for a 2022 SHOT Show that will be undoubtedly the best in our industry’s history, and we look forward to bringing our entire community together again at a show that will be one to remember.

During the coming year, NSSF asks for our industry’s unwavering support as we continue our fight to promote, protect and preserve our industry in these unsettling times.

Throughout this year, NSSF has remained at the forefront for our industry. As thousands of businesses across the country were shuttered as being “non-essential” during the pandemic, NSSF worked nonstop to have firearm retailers, ranges, manufacturers and distributors listed as “essential” which allowed them to remain open for business.

NSSF is your trade association. Everything we do—from education, safety initiatives, compliance and security resources, import/export guidance, consumer activation initiatives, government relations, and the SHOT Show—is aimed at helping businesses in our industry succeed. Now, more than ever, we need your continued support.

June 2020 Adjusted NICS Checks

The National Shooting Sports Foundation adjusted NICS figures have been released. June 2020, while having the most raw NICS checks on records, actually is behind March 2020 when adjusted for permit checks and rechecks.

Nonetheless, June was an impressive month and the first half of 2020 was likewise impressive.

From NSSF:

The June 2020 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 2,177,586 is an increase of 135.7 percent compared to the June 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 924,054. For comparison, the unadjusted June 2020 FBI NICS figure 3,909,502 reflects a 70.6 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,291,066 in June 2019.

The second quarter 2020 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 5,451,599 reflects an increase of 92.8 percent over the 2,827,606 figure for first quarter 2019.

The NSSF-adjusted NICS figure for March 2020 was 2,375,525.

It should be pointed out the states of Alabama and Michigan have had their qualified alternatives under the Brady Law removed in 2019 and 202 respectively. This means in those states, you can no longer use a carry permit as a substitute for a NICS check. That raised the percentage of NICS checks in those states by over 400% compared to last June.

To see how June 2020 compared to the month of June in past years, look at this graphic. You can see that it just skyrockets!

As I remind everyone when I post these numbers, neither the raw nor the adjusted-NICS checks are a one to one correlation with gun sales. They do not capture private sales where legal, they don’t capture sales where an alternative is accepted, and they don’t figure in multiple firearms sold with one NICS check. The Form 4473 has room on it for up to four firearms per transaction. Thus, it is safe to assume the actual number of firearms sold in the month of June is well past 2.1 million.

Now if all those new gun owners will vote the Second Amendment, we should be in good shape. Time will tell.

These Are Raw NICS Numbers But Still Wow!

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Information Services released the NICS background checks for the month of June 2020 yesterday. June was the highest month on record going back to November 1998.

For the month, the FBI conducted 3,931,607 checks. That beat the previous high in the month of March 2020 by almost 200,000.

Now remember these are raw numbers. Some of the checks were for carry permits, some were recurring checks for stuff like FOID cards, and many sales do not require a NICS check due to the purchaser holding a carry permit in certain states. Nonetheless, most probably were for firearm sales.

I can’t wait to see the NSSF adjusted NICS checks for the month. They should be available early next week.

UPDATE: Flight Doc asked for a link where he could enlarge or download the above chart. It can be downloaded as a PDF here.

April Was Another Banner Month For NICS Checks

April 2020 had the highest number of NSSF-adjusted NICS checks on record for the month of April in the past 21 years.

The April 2020 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System(NICS) figure of 1,678,223 is an increase of 69.1 percent compared to the April 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 992,642. For comparison, the unadjusted April 2020 FBI NICS figure 2,878,176 reflects a 24.9 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,305,136 in April 2019.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation adjusts the raw NICS data to remove those checks done for permits such as FOID cards from Illinois and for CCWs in many states. While it isn’t a one-to-one ratio of firearm sales, it is indicative of trends in sales by made through dealers and in those states requiring universal background checks. What it doesn’t show are most private sales as well as sales made to those who hold a carry permit that substitutes for a NICS check such as in North Carolina.

Adjusted NICS Checks Skyrocket In March

The National Shooting Sports Foundation released their NSSF-Adjusted NICS checks report for March 2020. It shows an 80% increase over March 2019!

The March 2020 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 2,375,525 is an increase of 80.4 percent compared to the March 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,317,114. For comparison, the unadjusted March 2020 FBI NICS figure 3,709,562 reflects a 42.4 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,604,927 in March 2019.

Please note: Twenty-five states currently have at least one qualified alternative permit, which under the Brady Act allows the permit-holder, who has undergone a background check to obtain the permit, to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer without a separate additional background check for that transfer. The number of NICS checks in these states does not include these legal transfers based on qualifying permits and NSSF does not adjust for these transfers. Recently, the states of Alabama and Michigan had law changes that affected their Brady Law standing which removed qualifying alternate permits usage for firearm transactions. These changes went into effect July 22, 2019 for Alabama and March 3, 2020 forMichiganIn March 2020, Alabama state’s NSSF-adjusted NICS was 212.1 percent higher than March 2019, which accounts for an additional 41,348 checks over this time last year. March 2020 NICS numbers for Michigan were up 210.8% over March 2019 and account for an additional 57,599 checks.

The NSSF adjusts the gross number of NICS checks to subtract out checks that are used by states for issuing permits such as concealed carry permits and permit rechecks.

It should be noted that there is not a 100% direct correlation with firearm sales as there are states which have substitutes for the NICS check and a NICS check isn’t performed on that sale or purchase. Moreover, if one is purchasing multiple firearms at the same time, a single NICS check will usually suffice. Of course, in many free states, no check of any sort is done on private sales regardless of the type of firearm.

What this increase shows, in my opinion, is that there are a lot of people waking up and realizing that they must be responsible for their own safety and that of their family. One would hope that many of these new firearms owners – especially those who had to jump through all sorts of hoops and waiting periods – will now become Second Amendment advocates.

Understanding Cant

I knew that if you didn’t have your rifle perfectly level, it would affect where the bullet would actually impact. That said, I didn’t know much else about it.

This recently released video from the National Shooting Sports Foundation featuring Todd Hodnett of Accuracy 1st does a good job of explaining both the impact of cant and how to account for it when aiming.

As to shooting with the rifle 90 degrees off of center, I had never seen that before. I believe he is correct that it does have tactical applications.

Reactions, Pro And Con, To Connecticut Supreme Court Ruling

As you can well imagine the gun prohibitionists are ecstatic over the Connecticut Supreme Court’s constitutionally dubious ruling in Soto et al v. Bushmaster et al today. Both the Brady Campaign and the Giffords Law Center had filed amicus briefs in the case.

From the Brady Campaign which has been working hard to punch holes in the Protection of Legal Commerce in Arms Act for many years:

Justices have reversed a lower court ruling allowing the lawsuit to move forward and put the question to a jury of whether or not Remington and gun dealers can be held accountable for its role in the 2012 shooting. The lawsuit argues that the assault-style weapon used in the massacre had knowingly been marketed to the public despite being designed for military use. It is also argued that the weapon’s marketing deliberately appealed to young people, particularly those like the 20-year-old who killed 26 people in Newtown, Connecticut.


“This is a good day for justice and for victims of gun violence everywhere,” stated Brady President, Kris Brown. “The law requires everyone, particularly businesses, to operate in a way that will not cause foreseeable harm. It’s time for gun companies to be held to this same standard, and stop being allowed to put profits over people. Brady stands ready to continue our support of Sandy Hook families in their quest for justice.”


For 30 years Brady’s legal team has led the way in winning precedent setting cases that hold gun companies accountable for their role in gun crimes. These cases are reining in and challenging gun industry protection laws, and include a negligent marketing claim against the maker of an assault weapon used in a mass shooting in 1993. This case was discussed at length in today’s decision. Brady’s team provided advice and counsel to the Sandy Hook lawyers throughout the case, also filing an amicus brief in support of plaintiffs.


“We are happy that the Sandy Hook families will get the day in court they deserve. Companies that choose to market weapons of war to the public should not get a free pass from the duty to use the reasonable care that every other person or business must follow,” stated Brady’s VP of Legal, Jon Lowy. “It is unfortunate that the gun industry’s special protection law forced these grieving families to endure years of appeals to get what should be rightfully theirs — their day in court and an opportunity to prove their case. Thankfully this court recognized that if you unreasonably market weapons of war to the public, you can be held accountable for the consequences.”

Reader of this blog know that not one military in the world has adopted the semi-automatic AR-15 or its progeny for use. Calling it a “weapon of war” and “designed for military use” is an outright lie and both Brown and Lowy know it.

Likewise, the Cult of Personality’s Legal Arm otherwise known as Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has weighed in on the ruling with a comment from Adams Skaggs who is their chief counsel.

“Today’s decision is a victory for the families of Sandy Hook and a victory for the principle that no industry is above the law or above accountability. The Connecticut Supreme Court squarely rejected the idea that any industry, no matter how powerful, can slam the courthouse doors shut to the victims of their illegal marketing practices. Now, these families who suffered so much will have the day in court they rightly deserve. We look forward to working with them as this case moves forward, and to supporting all victims of American gun violence as they pursue justice.”

Understandably, those who stand for the rule of law and the recognition that the liability for the criminal misuse of any legal product lies with the criminal were not pleased with this ruling.

Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation responded strongly saying, in part:

“This ruling strains logic, if not common sense,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “The court dismissed the bulk of the lawsuit’s allegations, but appears to have grasped at this single straw by deciding that the advertising is somehow at fault for what did that day in December more than six years ago.


“This is like suing Ford or General Motors because a car they sold was stolen and used to run over a pedestrian all because the car manufacturers advertised that their car had better acceleration and performance than other vehicles,” he added.


, 20, first killed his mother and took her legally-purchased Bushmaster rifle to the school, where he murdered 20 youngsters and six adults. The lawsuit contends that Remington’s advertising was designed to glorify the Bushmaster rifle and enhance its appeal to younger consumers.

Justice Richard Palmer, writing for the majority, said that the “regulation of advertising that threatens the public’s health, safety, and morals has long been considered a core exercise of the state’s police powers.”


“That is absurd in this case,” Gottlieb observed. “Did the advertising even remotely suggest that the Bushmaster is best for murdering people? It appears to me like the court was looking for a way to squeak around the provisions of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that Congress passed in 2005. After all, the court dismissed most of the allegations, but now has decided that advertising might be at fault. That’s a stretch of credulity worthy of surgical elastic.”


“There is no evidence the killer was driven by any advertising whatsoever,” he said. “This is an affront to the First Amendment as well as the Second. Even hinting that the killer was motivated in some way by an advertising message is so far out in the weeds that it may take a map for the court to find its way back.”

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is located in Newtown, Connecticut and whom is the actual lobby for the firearms industry, also disagreed with the majority’s opinion in the ruling. While a bit more circumspect that the SAF’s comment, it still expresses their displeasure.

NEWTOWN, Conn. – The Connecticut Supreme Court today reversed (4-3) a state Superior Court ruling and decided in Soto v. Bushmaster that the case can go forward based on the plaintiffs’ allegation that the defendants marketing and advertising of a legal product somehow violated Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA). The Court’s split decision held that CUTPA fit within an exemption to the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that permits lawsuits where the defendant violated a statute applicable to the sale of firearms. In a strongly worded and well-reasoned dissent, Chief Justice Robinson rejected the majority’s overly broad interpretation of the scope of the limited exception, which is contrary to legislative text, canons of statutory interpretation and the legislative history of the PLCAA. The majority’s decision today is at odds with all other state and federal appellate courts that have interpreted the scope of the exception. As the trade association for the firearms industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation® filed an amicus brief in support of the defendants in this case and both respectfully disagrees with and is disappointed by the court’s majority decision.

Finally, from what I can tell from an internet search, neither Cerberus Capital Management nor Remington Outdoor Company have issued statements.

NSSF Analysis Of The Midterms

The National Shooting Sports Foundation sent out an email yesterday analyzing the midterm elections for their impact on the firearms industry as well as on firearm regulations. They will also be having a pair of webinars next Tuesday afternoon which I hope to be able to watch. I’ll report on those afterwards.

I think the NSSF is correct in that a lot of bills will be proposed and may even pass the House dealing with gun control. These will then die in the Senate. They refer to the Senate as the Red Wall. I think they are also correct that the pace at which new judges will be confirmed will pick up.

From the NSSF:

A Blue Ripple, A Red Senate Wall And What It Means For The Firearms Industry

The
results are still trickling in on Wednesday, but we’re getting a
clearer picture of what we can expect when it comes to the next two
years for gun laws in the United States.

Conventional
wisdom says that the party in the White House loses “bigly” when it
comes to the midterm elections, but last night’s results are proving
different. We’re seeing more of a mixed bag in the Congressional
results, a changing landscape in the governorships and gun control
advocates that spent big and claim victory. But that call might be a bit premature.

House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives will flip back to Democrat control in the 116th Congress.
There are several West Coast races still awaiting final counts, but Fox
News’ Karl Rove predicted the final count will be 228-207 in favor of
Democrats, which will see the Speaker of the House’s gavel change hands.

Prevailing sentiment says Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will again become house speaker, but many incumbent and congressmen-elect have vowed to not support her
for the top leadership spot. We can expect short-term leadership
power-plays, but they will have little effect on what we will eventually
see in the next two years from the House.

What it Means

The “Blue Wave” wasn’t the tsunami gun
control advocates expected, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see a flood
of gun control bills. Rep. Pelosi promised Floridians when she visited
there in October that gun control would be a “top priority” in the
coming year. She said then that she’d push for a gun background check bill, which we can only assume means what she’s already advocated for in universal background checks.

Expect more. Virginia Democratic Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton defeated Rep. Barbara Comstock on a platform that included banning AR-15 modern
sporting rifles and standard-capacity magazines. She’s just one of
several newly elected members of Congress who will be looking to make
good on their campaign promises.

Expect
the House to turn from a legislative body to an investigative body.
Democrats will take over every committee chairmanship. We should expect
little to get done in the way of legislation because they’ll be more
interested in investigating everything from impeachment to Russian collusion to President Donald Trump’s tax returns. And firearms will be in the mix too. Expect hearings on
taxpayer-funded gun violence research, magazine restrictions,
ammunition bans, age-based gun bans and attempts to outright ban entire
classes of firearms.

Senate

If
the House was the “Blue Ripple,” the U.S. Senate served as the Red
Wall. And it got bigger. Republicans appeared to pick up at least net
three seats, including North Dakota’s Kevin Cramer beating Heidi
Heitkamp, Missouri’s Josh Hawley defeating Claire McCaskill, Florida’s
Rick Scott topping Bill Nelson and Indiana’s Mike Braun overcoming Joe
Donnelly. Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller lost to Jacky Rosen, turning one
Republican seat blue. Votes are still being counted in Arizona, and
Mississippi is headed for a runoff. The first and most glaring lesson is
that with the exception of Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), each of these
Democratic senators voted against Supreme Court Justice Brett
Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

What it Means

Most
importantly, the Senate has been called the saucer that cools the hot
tea that comes over from the House. It’s been a frustrating
characteristic at times, but now will become a reality that benefits the
firearms industry and gun owners. Legislation can pass the House by
simple majority, even if it’s just one vote. But it only takes one
senator to kill a bad bill.

It also means that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is going to keep up the blistering pace of
confirming judges to the bench and Trump Administration nominees won’t
be automatically mired in the morass of politics. That’s especially important when
it comes to the Supreme Court. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen
Breyer are in their eighties. Neither has indicated a desire to retire,
but no one foresaw that President Trump would nominate and confirm two
justices in his first two years either.

More to Come

We’re
still sifting through all the results, including state governorships,
state legislatures and ballot initiatives. Tune in when NSSF hosts webinars on
what the midterm election results mean to our industry and what we can
expect. You can know this much: NSSF will remain engaged, fighting
against legislation that hurts our industry and that infringes on our
rights while working to America safer while respecting our liberties.