An Industry Under Fire


Here in mid-June, the industry is facing multiple attacks from the anti-gun/anti-industry movement. Their efforts to suppress gun rights were reignited following the tragic shootings at a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store and elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Firearms manufacturers, accessory makers, dealers and other businesses have come under significant fire from elected officials, government agencies and other entities.

In Congress, outlandish efforts such as a proposed 1,000% tax on ARs/MSRs have been floated. At the state level, New York raised the age requirement for buying a semi-auto rifle to 21, while the Delaware Senate passed a bill banning magazines with a capacity of more than 17 rounds.

Traditional Ammunition Bans Proposed

Even the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has targeted industry businesses. Its Proposed Rule in the Federal Register (which published June 9) included a phased ban on traditional ammunition by 2026. In a press release announcing proposed new hunting and fishing opportunities at 19 wildlife refuges on approximately 54,000 acres, the USFWS stated the decision to implement a phased ammunition ban was made using “the best available science” — a claim being disputed by industry organizations, such as NSSF.

“This is a Faustian bargain that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing,” said Larry Keane, NSSF SVP and general counsel. “The Service isn’t following the science and isn’t serving those who invest their dollars to perpetuate wildlife conservation. Instead, this Proposed Rule serves special interest anti-hunting groups to the detriment of conservation-minded hunters and anglers.”

(There is a touch of irony with this decision, as the USFWS announced earlier this year a record-breaking $1.5 billion was apportioned to the states for conservation projects, of which $1.1 billion was directly tied to Pittman-Robertson excise taxes paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers.)

Encourage staff and customers to publicize their concerns on the Federal Register before Aug. 8, 2022.

Traditional ammunition has also been targeted by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), a staunch anti-hunting organization. June 8, the CBD filed a petition with the Department of Interior calling for a Director’s Order requiring the phaseout of traditional ammunition on the entire Refuge System initiate formal rulemaking to phase out traditional ammunition by Sept. 30, 2024.

The White House Sets The Tone

Not surprising, these efforts have been upstaged by President Biden’s recent public statements — which have made his views on gun ownership quite clear.

May 24, the day of the tragic school shooting, the president said, “The idea an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is just wrong.” He later added, “It’s just sick.”

May 30, President Biden expanded his scope to include 9mm handguns, which he labeled a “high-caliber weapon.” During an exchange with reporters outside Marine One, he continued, “there’s simply no rational basis for [9mm handguns] in terms of thinking about self-protection, hunting.”

June 2, the president addressed the nation during a primetime address, where he repeated a similar pattern expressing his views of gun ownership and the industry.

“We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” he said. “And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21. Strengthen background checks. Enact safe storage laws and red-flag laws. Repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability. Address the mental health crisis deepening the trauma of gun violence and as a consequence of that violence.”

Bipartisan Action Coming?

June 12, a bipartisan group of 20 senators, led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) announced a “commonsense proposal” agreement. As of press time, the draft of the proposed legislation has not been finalized, but initial reports signaled it would include resources to set up red flag laws, invest billions of dollars in children and family mental health services, fund safety measures at schools and strengthen background check requirements for gun buyers younger than 21.

June 13, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) shared on CNN, “This piece of legislation as drafted should not be threatening to any law-abiding citizen in the United States of America. Not one. We take no rights away, no privileges away.”

This is a developing story, and Shooting Industry will continue tracking updates in subsequent Dealer Advantage emails. Have a comment?