Dear Mr. President:
The men and women of America’s firearms and ammunition industry are profoundly disappointed by your statements that we stand in the way of improving public safety.
We are America’s gun safety experts, in the true meaning of that phrase. We provide the firearms to our nation’s military, law enforcement agencies and the civilian market for hunting, target shooting and self-defense.
Mr. President, we share the goal of reducing the intentional misuse of guns and enhancing the safety of our communities. We work toward that goal every day.
- We launched our FixNICSSM initiative in 2013 to encourage the states to report all appropriate adjudicated mental health and criminal records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. We have succeeded in getting legislation passed in 16 states to help enable this outcome. We welcome your administration’s attention to this issue.
- We are Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs). Most firearm sales at gun shows and over the Internet are made by licensed retailers and currently receive background checks. We support further resources for staffing and increasing operational hours for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to make the system more responsive.
- We have long called for effective enforcement of the many laws already on the books covering the criminal misuse of firearms and would encourage the administration to carry through on this directive. Our industry’s “Don’t Lie for the Other GuyTM” anti-straw purchasing program, 100 percent funded by the industry and run in cooperation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, would gain resonance through vigorous prosecutions of offenders.
- Through “Project ChildSafe®” and our manufacturers’ new-gun sales, the industry has distributed 100 million free gun locks. Run without any taxpayer assistance for seven years, Project ChildSafe’s effectiveness is recognized by its adoption by 15,000 law enforcement departments nationwide.
- Our industry has never opposed development of “Smart Gun Technology.” We have serious concerns about the safety and advisability of the concepts involved. Accordingly, law enforcement agencies and consumers themselves will have to determine whether firearms with this technology “would be consistent with operational needs,” as your team points out. We oppose legal mandates for this technology, particularly since there are well-proven methods to secure firearms, and firearms accidents are at 100-year low levels.
Our traditions are strongly held, underpinned by the constitutionally-protected lawful commerce in firearms. Our hundreds of thousands of employees, and the families that depend on them, are not your enemies, and we deeply resent being cast in that light.