NSSF/SAAMI Joint Statement On Las Vegas Tragedy (And Bump Fire Stocks)

The National Shooting Sports Federation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute seem to be taking the same approach as the NRA on bump fire stocks: have the BATFE evaluate them under the existing law. All three groups are intent on keeping Congress out of this fight for the time being. They would prefer to have an agency regulation on the stocks than to have new legislation which would most likely go much further. Feinstein’s S.1916 would certainly do that.

The joint statement is below:

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families and loved ones of all those killed and injured in the criminal attack in Las Vegas. The manufacture, distribution and sale of automatic firearms and their components has been stringently regulated by federal laws since 1934. We believe the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) should interpret and enforce existing laws and regulations. We call upon ATF to conduct a prompt review and evaluation of aftermarket trigger activation devices such as bump stocks to determine whether they are lawful to install and use on a firearm under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), or whether, if they have no function or purpose other than to convert a conventional firearm into an automatic firearm, they are regulated items under the NFA. We urge Congress to allow ATF to complete its review before considering any legislation so that any policy decisions can be informed by the facts and ATF’s analysis.

NICS Checks Down For June

The National Shooting Sports Foundation adjusted figure for June 2017 shows a 10.9% decline from the same month in 2016.

From NSSF:

The June 2017 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,016,213 is a decrease of 10.9 percent compared to the June 2016 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,140,088. For comparison, the unadjusted June 2017 FBI NICS figure 1,888,266 reflects an 11.1 percent decrease from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,123,334 in June 2016.

You can see that graphically below:

However, if you study that graphic and read the numbers you should realize that the sky isn’t falling. It is the second highest June on record and the NSSF-adjusted NICS number is still over 1 million checks. Gun sales are probably down from last summer when it appeared that anti-gun Hillary Clinton was going to ride into office after defeating what the media and the experts considered a weak and absurd Republican nominee. Of course we know now that she was the weak candidate and that Donald Trump wasn’t that weak of a candidate.

As with all reports of NICS figures it should be remembered that they do not have a perfect correlation with firearm sales. In many states a carry permit substitutes for a NICS check. Moreover, the NICS check system is also used by many states for permit background checks and rechecks. The NSSF allows for these checks and rechecks when making their adjustments to the reported monthly NICS figures.

A Safety Reminder From NSSF

There are many ways to store a firearm when not in use. The National Shooting Sports Foundation video below goes over a few of those. I am in the market for one of those quick-access lockboxes myself.

One thing I might note. If we don’t take storing our firearms safely seriously, someone aka big government will do it for us and I doubt they’d get it right.

NICS Checks Resume Upward Path

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has released it latest adjusted-NICS data. The March 2017 adjusted-NICS checks have resumed their upward path that had been on hold since the election of Donald Trump. The adjusted-NICS checks had shown a year over year increase for the same month in the prior year throughout 2016 until the month of December when it showed a sharp decrease from the prior year. This also held true for the months of January and February 2017. The drop has been attributed to the end of panic buying in anticipation of new gun control measures from a President Hillary Clinton.

You can see this trend in the graphic below:

The numbers as reported by NSSF are as follows:

The March 2017 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 1,356,929 is an increase of 5.2 percent compared to the March 2016 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 1,289,670. For comparison, the unadjusted March 2017 FBI NICS figure of 2,422,749 reflects a 3.4 percent decrease from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,509,065 in March 2016.

The first quarter 2017 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 3,693,502 is a decrease of 10.8 percent over the 4,139,791 figure for first quarter 2016.

Even with this quarterly drop as compared to the prior year, March 2017 still was the second highest March on record.

NICS data is more indicative of trends than an actual one-to-one sale of firearms. This is due to certain states using the NICS check system for CCW permit background checks and permit rechecks as well as the exemption from a NICS check for holding of carry permits from certain states like North Carolina.

Parting Shot At Shooters And Hunters From The Obama Administration

Yesterday was the last full day of the Obama Administration. It did not pass without a last parting shot by the anti-hunting, anti-shooting so-called environmentalists. US Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe issued a Director’s Order that will ban the use of traditional, lead-based ammunition on Federal lands within five years. Thus it gives groups like the Center for Biological Diversity and Project Gutpile a win that they could not achieve in the courts.

Here in western North Carolina, the few public outdoor ranges that we have are on National Forest land. Checking the prices of copper based .223 ammo versus traditional ammo, the cheapest I can find a box of 20 rounds is for about $17 for copper versus about $6 for Tula or $8,.50 for American Eagle. Forcing shooters to use non-lead ammunition will drive up the cost exponentially and drive people from the shooting sports for economic reasons.

The NSSF is crying foul on this move.

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, condemned the decision by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe banning the use of traditional ammunition on Service lands in just five years.

The parting shot, Director’s Order 219 , was issued on the final full day of President Obama’s administration. The last-minute action revives an effort the administration undertook eight years ago to ban the use of traditional ammunition.

“This directive is irresponsible and driven not out of sound science but unchecked politics,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “The timing alone is suspect. This directive was published without dialogue with industry, sportsmen and conservationists. The next director should immediately rescind this, and instead create policy based upon scientific evidence of population impacts with regard to the use of traditional ammunition.”

The order requires several initiatives to go into effect immediately. Regional Directors are to work with state agencies to ban the use of traditional ammunition. It also ends the use of traditional ammunition on Federal land, including National Parks, tribal lands and national wildlife refuges in order to mirror policies in states where traditional ammunition is already restricted. The order “expeditiously” bans traditional ammunition “when available information indicates” that lead is harmful to wildlife, without requirement of a scientific threshold on which to base that action.

It also requires creation of a timeline to restrict traditional ammunition for dove and upland bird hunting.

Notice that last bit. They want to ban traditional ammo for dove hunting as well.

I hope this is one order that is rescinded after noon today when the Trump Administration takes office. I certainly hope so.

UPDATE: The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies which represents the fish and wildlife departments throughout the 50 states issued a very strong statement disagreeing with Director’s Order 219. They make the point that in the past any sort of move like this would have been a cooperative effort between state and federal wildlife agencies and that the states were caught by surprise by this order.

January 20, 2017

Statement from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Regarding U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director’s Order 219

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies expresses utter dismay with the release of Director’s Order 219, Use of Non-Toxic Ammo and Fishing Tackle, by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) on January 19, 2017. Association President Nick Wiley states that “this action flies squarely in the face of a long and constructive tradition of states working in partnership with the Service to effectively manage fish and wildlife resources.” He adds, “the Association views this Order as a breach of trust and deeply disappointing given that it was a complete surprise and there was no current dialogue or input from state fish and wildlife agencies prior to issuance. It does a disservice to hunters and anglers, the firearms and angling industries, and the many professionals on staff with the USFWS who desire a trusting and transparent relationship with their state partners.” This is unacceptable federal overreach into the states’ authority to regulate the methods of take for sport fish as well as complete disregard for the states’ concurrent jurisdiction with the Service for the management of migratory birds. Further, the economic impacts of this action, which likely will be felt most by rural Americans, is likely to be hundreds of millions of dollars.” The Association looks forward to working with a new Administration in the redress of this poorly timed and executed decision.

A point I didn’t make yesterday with the original post is that this order also impacts anglers as it also includes the phase-out of fishing tackle that includes lead. 

I want to emphasize that Dan Ashe’s Director’s Order 219 seeks to accomplish what court battles and petitions to the Environmental Protection Agency from 2010 through 2013 did not – the elimination of traditional ammo and fishing tackle. I foresee that this order will be reversed when Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) is finally confirmed as the Secretary of the Interior.

Smart Move On The Part Of NSSF Regarding Suicide

30 to 33,000 deaths a year by firearms is the number that the gun prohibitionists love to throw around. This is intentionally misleading as the uneducated presume that all of these deaths are the result of criminal homicides. In reality, the large majority of these deaths are the result of a person taking his or her own life and using a firearm as the tool of their demise. Any check of CDC reports of vital statistics makes this clear.

This being said, regardless of what instrument someone chooses to use to take their own life, suicide is a serious issue and finding common ground on ways to reduce the numbers of deaths by suicide is important. The Second Amendment Foundation (and the NRA) found this to be true in Washington State where they joined with health professionals on a bill aimed at suicide prevention. Now the National Shooting Sports Foundation is joining with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to go nationwide with suicide prevention efforts.

This is a very smart move by the gun industry and one that should be applauded. A reduction in the number of suicides and treatment of the depression that might have engendered the suicide is good for all of society. Moreover, it helps to remove the focus from the instrument used to commit suicide and put it where it belongs:  on the root causes of the suicide itself. Finally, it shows that the gun culture is serious about working to alleviate this mental health issue unlike the gun prohibitionists who are content to clamor “guns, guns, guns, it’s the gun”.

A quick Google search indicates that news of the partnership is being picked up by the AP and a number of local news outlets. However, sad to say, I can’t find any mention of it by ABC, NBC, CNN, FoxNews, or CBS. The only suicide related news I can find there relates to Chelsea/Bradley Manning.

Here is the joint press release put out by NSSF and AFSP:

VEGAS — Of all firearms-related deaths in the U.S. in 2015, almost
two-thirds were suicide deaths, according to the 2015 Fatal Injury
Report, Center for Disease Control and Prevention. To help stem this
tragic loss of life, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation
(NSSF) today announced at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade
(SHOT) Show in Las Vegas a partnership to launch a new firearms and
suicide prevention education program nationwide in 2017.
program brings together AFSP community-based Chapters and NSSF-member
organizations, including firearms retailers and range owners across the
country, to educate the gun-owning community about suicide, warning
signs, risk factors and the importance of securely storing firearms to
help prevent access in times of distress. A pilot of this program has
been ongoing in four states since August 2016.
all suicide deaths in our nation, nearly 50 percent are by firearm. By
increasing public education of firearms and suicide prevention, and by
encouraging the use of safe storage options and thus reducing access to
lethal means, we give suicidal individuals something they desperately
need: time. Time for the intense suicidal risk to diminish and time for
someone to intervene with mental health support and resources,” said Dr. Christine Moutier, AFSP’s Chief Medical Officer at a press conference today at the SHOT Show
in Las Vegas, the largest trade show in the world for professionals
involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement
industries. “Research has shown that separating suicidal individuals
from a variety of lethal means can prevent suicide.”
retailers and range owners are in a unique position to help disseminate
mental health and suicide prevention education materials, and safe
storage options to those who frequent their stores. With these public
education resources, the firearms-owning community can help spread the
word to those who may be concerned about a friend or family member who
may be at risk, and who may have access to a firearm.
partnership with AFSP allows us to expand our decades-long firearms
safety efforts to include suicide prevention education,” said Steve
Sanetti, NSSF’s President and CEO. “As the industry’s trade association
with more than 12,000 members, we want to help. By making gun owners and
the public more aware of suicide and responsible firearm storage, we
are confident that we will help save lives.”
The firearms and suicide prevention program is an expansion of a pilot
that began last August, in four states including Alabama, Kentucky,
Missouri, and New Mexico. In these four states, relationships between
AFSP Chapter volunteers and local shooting range owners, firearms retail
stores and gun show vendors shared resources on recognizing the risks
and warning signs of suicide and ways of reaching out to those who may
be struggling, including:
  • Talk Saves Lives: Firearms and Suicide Prevention,
    a community-based presentation that provides an overview and
    understanding of mental health and suicide, and the benefits of
    connecting with those who may be struggling.
  • Firearms
    and Suicide Prevention, a new brochure which includes sections on safe
    storage options, statistics about suicide, how to recognize the risks
    and warning signs of suicide, how to reach out to someone when you’re
    worried about them, and where to go for further resources.
  • Firearms
    and Suicide Prevention: Facilitator’s Guide for AFSP volunteers
    involved in the program who need instructional information on leading
    community-based programs.
  • A new webpage
    which will showcase an overview of the firearms and suicide prevention
    program and the latest news. The organizations are currently creating a
    short training video on how to have a caring conversation with someone
    who may be suicidal, which will be featured on the webpage, and is due
    to be released in spring 2017.
I first heard about this partnership I was really encouraged. Working
with experts in the field, we have been trying to teach gun owners about
suicide prevention on a local level for a while – and so far it’s been a
bootstrap effort, recruiting one firearms retailer at a time. But by
expanding the education and suicide prevention program nationally, we
will have a much easier time convincing retailers to get involved
because NSSF is a name they trust,” said Dick Abramson, President and
CEO of the Centennial Gun Club
in Colorado. “At a weekly ladies’ night we hold at the Centennial Gun
Club, we have already brought in a suicide prevention expert to speak on
this topic. The questions asked were insightful and the audience was
extremely interested. So we know there is a real thirst in the community
for this kind of education.”
About Project 2025
in October 2015, Project 2025 is a high-impact, collaborative
initiative developed by AFSP, aimed at achieving the organization’s bold
goal of reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025. Using a
dynamic systems model approach based on what the evidence tells us about
suicide, AFSP has determined a series of actions and critical areas to
help us reach our goal. With this approach we reach across all
demographic and sociological groups to have the greatest impact for
suicide prevention and the potential to save thousands of lives within
the next 10 years. If we work collectively to expand the above
interventions in key area (Firearms, Emergency Departments, and in Large
Healthcare Systems) – cumulatively, we can expect to save nearly 20,000
lives through 2025.

About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation
is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to
promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in
1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers,
distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s
organizations and publishers. Through its Project ChildSafe program,
“Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” campaign and other initiatives, NSSF
promotes the safe and responsible use and storage of firearms and makes
available many firearm safety resources at ProjectChildSafe.org.

About AFSP
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by
suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through
education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through
research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by
suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and
with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters
in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. AFSP celebrates
30 years of service to the suicide prevention movement. Learn more about
AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide
prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

NRA And NSSF Praise Introduction Of HR 38

The National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation have issued releases praising the introduction of HR 38 – Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017.

From the NRA.

Fairfax, Va. – On behalf of its five-million members, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauded the introduction of H.R. 38, The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, authored by Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-8). This legislation would eliminate the confusing patchwork of state carry laws by allowing individuals who possess concealed carry permits from their home state or who are not prohibited from carrying concealed in their home state to exercise those rights in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.

“The current patchwork of state and local laws is confusing for even the most conscientious and well-informed concealed carry permit holders. This confusion often leads to law-abiding gun owners running afoul of the law when they exercise their right to self-protection while traveling or temporarily living away from home,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA. “Congressman Hudson’s legislation provides a much needed solution to a real problem for law-abiding gun owners.”

This legislation would not override state laws governing the time, place or manner of carriage or establish national standards for concealed carry. Individual state gun laws would still be respected. If under federal law a person is prohibited from carrying a firearm, they will continue to be prohibited from doing so under this bill.

“Law-abiding citizens should be able to exercise their fundamental right to self-defense while traveling across state lines,” continued Cox. “This is an extremely important issue to our members and we thank Congressman Hudson for leading the fight to protect our rights,” concluded Cox.

From the NSSF:

U.S. Rep. Hudson Introduces NSSF-Backed
National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill

NEWTOWN, Conn.-U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) introduced the NSSF-supported Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 38) on the first day of the 115th Congress. The proposed legislation, with 63 co-sponsors, would compel states to recognize concealed carry permits issued from other states that have concealed carry laws within their own borders – much in the same way a driver’s license is recognized. The bill aims to eliminate the confusion of varying state-by-state laws and provide protection for Second Amendment rights for permit holders.

“Our Second Amendment right doesn’t disappear when we cross state lines, and this legislation guarantees that,” Hudson said. “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 is a common sense solution to a problem too many Americans face. It will provide law-abiding citizens the right to conceal carry and travel freely between states without worrying about conflicting state codes or onerous civil suits.”

In addition to interstate recognition of concealed carry permits, the bill would also allow concealed carry in the National Park System, National Wildlife Refuge System, and on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation, as well as provide greater legal protections in both civil and criminal cases for permit holders.

“This legislation provides an answer to the confusing patchwork of concealed carry permits, particularly with regard to states where laws make unwitting criminals out of legal permit holders for a simple mistake of a wrong traffic turn,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “It safeguards a state’s right to determine their own laws while protecting the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. We thank Rep. Hudson for his leadership on behalf of America’s hunters and recreational shooters.”

In 2015, Rep. Hudson sponsored similar legislation with 216 co-sponsors.

Rep. Ryan Zinke’s Nomination For Interior Secretary Garners Approval

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) was selected by President-elect Donald Trump to be his Secretary of the Interior. Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, is the lone Congressman from Montana and was rumored to have been a potential candidate to take on Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) in 2018. Zinke’s selection has garnered approval from the NRA, the NSSF, and other organizations.

From the NRA-ILA:

Fairfax, Va.— Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement on the nomination of Congressman Ryan Zinke to be the Secretary of the Interior:

“On behalf of our 5 million members, we commend President-Elect Donald Trump for nominating Congressman Ryan Zinke of Montana to be our next Secretary of the Interior,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “The sportsmen and women of this nation have long waited for an Interior Secretary who understands the need to preserve America’s outdoor heritage for generations to come. Ryan Zinke will champion those traditions with the devotion of a true outdoorsman while serving as our next Secretary of the Interior.”

From the National Shooting Sports Foundation:

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, today praised President-Elect Donald Trump’s selection of U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to become Secretary of the Department of the Interior.

“In Congressman Zinke we have a true friend of American sportsmen who believes in the inestimable value of our public lands. We are confident Congressman Zinke will work to preserve and promote our hunting and related outdoor traditions. He is an American hero, a lifelong hunter and angler, and a true conservationist in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “The Secretary of the Interior is arguably the nation’s single most important position with regard to the management of federal lands, wildlife habitat and natural resources. Competing interests must be balanced with what will be in the best long-term interest of the nation. We look forward to enthusiastically supporting his nomination in Congress and then working with Secretary Zinke to help him achieve that mission.”

“We are very pleased that President-Elect Trump is listening to the voices of American sportsmen and conservationists, but no one should be surprised. That positive influence has been close at hand for many years in the form of his son, Donald Jr.,” Keane added.

From the Boone and Crockett Club:

The Boone and Crockett Club, the oldest wildlife conservation group in the U.S., founded by Theodore Roosevelt, praises President-Elect Donald Trump’s announcement of U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to become Secretary of the Department of the Interior.

“Ryan Zinke has already demonstrated the leadership required as America’s top conservation steward, and the president-elect has done likewise in embracing it.” said Ben B. Hollingsworth Jr., president of the B&C Club. “The congressman has seen that frustrations with federal land management are the driver of many controversies and has rejected surrendering those federal lands as a supposed solution. Ryan Zinke and Donald Trump know that ever since Theodore Roosevelt made federal lands and conservation a national priority, hunters and other sportsmen-conservationists have carried out the work on the ground that ensures America’s wildlife heritage.”

The Boone and Crockett Club moved its national headquarters to the Rocky Mountain west in Missoula, Montana in 1992 because the Club’s leadership at the time felt this would be the epicenter of many future conservation challenges for land and wildlife.

In a statement released by Zinke, the new Interior Secretary said he would uphold Theodore Roosevelt’s belief that public lands are “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” He continued by assuring the public that he will “work tirelessly to ensure our public lands are managed and preserved in a way that benefits everyone for generations to come.”

Hollingsworth said, “We are proud that Montana, where we call home and where the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch is located, is the source of so much conservation leadership at this moment in history. With the state so well represented in Congress, having a Montanan in the administration is a prime opportunity to restore working relationships in Washington to the benefit of conservation work on the ground.”

From the Dallas Safari Club:

DSC congratulates Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke on his recent nomination to lead the Department of Interior. Zinke will be charged with protecting the natural resources of the U.S., which includes federal lands and overseeing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. DSC is pleased to see the position filled by an ardent proponent of continued access to public lands and a champion of conservation.

“DSC has supported Representative Zinke since his first run in Congress,” said DSC Executive Director Ben Carter. “He symbolizes the DSC mission of ensuring the future of conservation through hunting and protecting hunter’s rights. We are excited to see how he handles the critical issues facing wildlife and wild places. Our membership respects and appreciates his dedicated service to this Nation as a former Navy Seal and as a Congressman. He has proven to be a straight shooter in all aspects, and we look forward to working with the newly nominated Interior Secretary.”

Zinke is a native of Montana and has a lifelong love of hunting and fishing. During his time in Congress, Zinke has a track record of backing hunter’s rights. He announced his support for the Sportsmen’s Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Enhancement Act, which contained seven provisions to reauthorize or implement ways to fund conservation programs on federal and private lands.

In a released statement, Zinke stated, “As inscribed in the stone archway of Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana, I shall faithfully uphold Teddy Roosevelt’s belief that our treasured public lands are ‘for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.’ I will work tirelessly to ensure our public lands are managed and preserved in a way that benefits everyone for generations to come.”

“Zinke is a sportsman just like the members of DSC,” said Carter. “His heart lies in the same place as ours and we feel he is the perfect person to direct management of our lands and wildlife. This is a great step in ensuring the future of hunting, fishing and the outdoor life for upcoming generations.”

Finally, in what I consider the greatest endorsement of Zinke yet, is this statement from the Center for Biological Diversity. They have been consistently a thorn in the side to hunters, anglers, and shooters with their constant lawsuits against lead-based ammunition and professional wildlife conservation management efforts.

TUCSON, Ariz.— Freshman congressman Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) has reportedly been picked by Donald Trump to serve as secretary of the Interior to oversee endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hundreds of millions of acres of public land including the national parks, Bureau of Land Management lands and national wildlife refuges and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Zinke was a staunch, early and controversial supporter of Trump throughout the presidential campaign. Trump has picked his wife Lola Zinke to oversee the transition of the Veteran’s Administration.

Statement of Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity:

“Ryan Zinke has a dismal 3 percent lifetime environmental voting record. His brief political career has been substantially devoted to attacking endangered species and the Endangered Species Act. He led efforts to strip federal protections for endangered wolves, lynx and sage grouse, voted to exempt massive agribusiness and water developers from Endangered Species Act limitations, and opposed efforts to crack down on the international black market ivory trade.”

“Zinke consistently votes for the interests of oil and gas companies, which is not surprising since Oasis Petroleum is his largest campaign contributor and the oil and gas industry is his third-largest sector contributor. He has also voted against and attacked the establishment of protective national monuments on public lands.”

“On the bright side, Zinke has spoken and voted against the outright transfer of federal public lands to states and corporations. This is in keeping with positions taken by Donald Trump and his son Donald, Jr. Unfortunately Zinke has championed the same result — greatly increased logging, mining and oil drilling, greatly reduced environmental protections, elimination of federal control, and weakening of environmental standards — by turning over public land management to industry-dominated panels appointed by state governors. In Zinke’s scheme, industry and state interests get all the environmental destruction and profit they want, with the federal government being made to pay for it through nominal retention of land title.”

“Zinke’s cynically named ‘Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015’ was one of several schemes he led to turn control of public land to industry-dominated panels. It was widely opposed by conservationists, sportsmen, businesses and even some timber companies for dispensing with environmental laws and public involvement in order to ramp up unsustainable logging levels.”

“Disturbingly, in 2012 Zinke contradicted his recent stance when he signed the extremist Montana Constitutional Governance Pledge promising to ‘legally and administratively oppose the multitude of bureaucracies that have sprung up to enforce the unlawful seizure of our native land and its resources including, but not limited to: the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Park Service, the various bureaus of Wildlife and Fisheries, etc., and restore the rightful powers over the land to the State and private ownership.’ During confirmation hearings, the Senate needs to grill Zinke on this contradiction and ensure he truly supports keeping public lands in public hands.”

Sportsman’s Act Must Wait Until 2017

The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Government Relations Update contained some discouraging news. The Bipartisan Sportsman’s Act has been stranded as Congress did not pass the Energy Conference Report. The bill had been made a part of the omnibus bill.

Given the funding for range development included in the bill, all I can say is damn!

From NSSF:

Congress Strands Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act in Unpassed Energy Conference Report

The 114th Congress is set to adjourn without having passed the Energy Conference Report that contained the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act. In the end, Congressional leadership didn’t feel important components of energy policy were in place in the legislative package and the measure languished in the conference committee as both sides of Capitol Hill focused on the continuing resolution needed to fun the federal government through April 28, 2017.
NSSF would like to thank U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) for their stewardship of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act in their respective chambers. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) also deserves acknowledgement for her work on crafting a bipartisan bill. We would also like to express our thanks and appreciation for the thousands of American hunters, target shooters and gun owners who stood up for their traditions and contacted their senators and representatives during the sustained effort to pass this legislation during the 114th Congress. NSSF will be communicating about legislative priorities for the new Congress in January.

Action Alert From NSSF

The National Shooting Sports Foundation released an action alert at the end of last week. The Bipartisan Sportsman’s Act which is part of an energy bill that needs to be passed will come up for discussion this week. Even if you don’t hunt or fish the bill includes an item that should appeal to all shooters:  a provision for shooting range development.

From NSSF:

Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act
Your Immediate Action is Needed

The most important legislation in a generation for America’s hunters and target shooters is at a crucial stage. Senators and members of the US House of Representatives have just days to complete negotiations on the Energy Policy Modernization Act conference report that includes the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act.

Call Your U.S. Representative and both US Senators and politely insist that Congress act on the Energy Conference report that contains the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act. Please CALL TODAY before Congress takes up the Continuing Resolution next week to fund the federal government past Dec. 9.

We do NOT want Congress to punt the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act into the next congress that begins in January. We have come too far to go back to “square one” and begin again.

Please call today to help protect and preserve our cherished outdoor traditions.

House Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Look up your U.S. Representative: http://nssf.it/CongLookup