FixNICS Gains National Attention, Congressional Support
By Russ Thurman
The horrific church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 5, launched a barrage of attacks on firearms, gunowners and the industry. Tragically, the nation soon learned the shooter should never have been allowed to purchase the firearms he used to murder 26 people and wound 20 others.
The FBI revealed the shooter was not in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), despite his conviction at a U.S. Air Force court-martial for domestic violence, plus his involuntary commitment to a mental health facility, threatening to use firearms to harm superiors, serving a year in military prison and bad conduct discharge.
The failure of the Department of Defense to provide the FBI with this information allowed the shooter to pass a NICS background check.
The breakdown in the system is especially
frustrating to the industry. Since 2013, NSSF, on behalf of the industry, has worked with federal and state agencies to increase the number of disqualifying records placed into the NICS system. Through its FixNICS campaign NSSF has made progress, with 16 states changing their laws related to entering disqualifying records into NICS.
According to the FBI, in December 2012, there were 1.7 million disqualifying mental health records in the NICS database. By the end of 2016, the number increased to 4.5 million, a near-170 percent increase. Despite the improvements, NSSF often met resistance or disinterest in fixing NICS.
Then, with disclosure of failed record inputting related to the Texas church shooter, the FixNICS initiative became important. Secretary of Defense James Mattis ordered an investigation. Congress also took note and in mid-November, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced NSSF-supported bipartisan bill S.2135, the Fix NICS Act. The act will strengthen NICS by requiring federal agencies to enter all disqualifying records under current law.
“For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Sen. Cornyn said. “Just one record that’s not properly reported can lead to tragedy, as the country saw last week in Sutherland Springs, Texas. This bill aims to help fix what’s become a nationwide, systemic problem so we can better prevent criminals and domestic abusers from obtaining firearms.”
Sen. Cornyn’s legislation would also allow federal grants for states to help upload these records. The legislation has Republican and Democrat co-sponsors.
“This legislation will provide states with the necessary resources to promptly and efficiently provide disqualifying records to NICS on those who are prohibited under current law from possessing firearms. Federally licensed firearms retailers rely upon NICS to prevent the sale of firearms to prohibited persons. This legislation will fix NICS so background checks are accurate and reliable,” said Larry Keane, NSSF SVP and general counsel.
The week after introduction of the Senate Fix NICS Act, U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and John Culberson (R-Texas) introduced the bipartisan H.R.4434, the Fix NICS Act of 2017 into the House of Representatives. The legislation, a companion to the Senate bill, also drew bipartisan support.
“Assault Weapons” Redo
Coinciding with the introduction of the Fix NICS Act, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and 24 other Democrat senators, introduced S.2095, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017. The purpose of the act: “To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes.” It would ban the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 “assault weapons.”
The legislation defines “assault weapons” as any firearm that could accept detachable magazines, and such features as pistol grips; forward grips; folding, telescoping or detachable stocks; a barrel shroud and threaded barrels, along with other features. The bill also would ban magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
In a Nov. 9 “Opposing View” editorial in USA Today, “Don’t ban America’s most popular rifle,” Keane pointed on the fallacy of the proposed legislation.
“We have been down this road before. The expired 1994 assault weapons ban had no discernable effect on violent crime. The best the Justice Department under the Clinton administration could conclude was that the effect of the ban ‘has been uncertain,’” Keane wrote. “Instead of banning America’s most popular rifle, our focus should be on preventing criminals and the seriously mentally ill from obtaining any type of firearm.”
For more information on NSSF’s FixNICS and “Assault Weapons,” visit www.nssf.org/government-relations/factsheets.
Crimson Trace Honors Employees
Crimson Trace recently recognized close to 30 of its employees for achieving various milestone anniversaries with the company. Many of them are classified as long-term employees, having worked 10 or more years. All told, these loyal workers have given Crimson Trace more than 220 years of service.
The 23-year-old company honored employees who have worked there for five, 10, 15 and 20-plus years. One employee celebrated her 20th anniversary with the company this year. Three have achieved the 15-year milestone. Six have spent at least 10 years at Crimson Trace, while nearly 20 employees have been with the company for five years or more.
Crimson Trace President Lane Tobiassen and James Debney, president and CEO of parent company American Outdoor Brands, made the milestone presentations during an awards banquet in Tualatin, Ore., in September.
“Our large number of long-term employees speaks volumes about our company’s approach to teamwork, product innovation and offering our customers the best laser products available. Our valued employees are the starting point of reaching all of these objectives. Each day, these employees — and all of our dedicated employees in Oregon and across America — remain committed to keeping our company in its leadership role in the laser sight accessory category,” Tobiassen said.
Crimson Trace employees manufacture more than 275 products in the company’s 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing, packaging and shipping facility in Wilsonville, Ore.
Apex Tactical Thin Blue Line Triggers
Apex Tactical’s Support To C.O.P.S. Totals $75,000
Apex Tactical Specialties has announ-ced in the first year since introducing the Thin Blue Line Series of triggers in October 2016, the company has donated $75,000 to Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) through its Thin Blue Line sales promotion.
Thin Blue Line versions of popular Apex triggers include those for the Smith & Wesson M&P, M&P Shield, GLOCK and Walther PPQ pistols, with additional models being added. The company dedicates 25 percent of each sale to C.O.P.S.
“Thanks to the continued support from our customers for our Thin Blue Line Series, Apex is very pleased to announce (our total) contribution to Concerns of Police Survivors,” said Scott Folk, Apex COO.
“C.O.P.S. thanks Apex Tactical for not only their exceptional product created to honor the thin blue line of law enforcement, but for their generous support of law enforcement survivors. Apex Tactical is truly a company that honors our nation’s heroes and never forgets those left behind,” said Dianne Bernhard, executive director of C.O.P.S.
C.O.P.S. offers scholarships and support programs for survivors and their families at the national, state and local levels. These include conferences, retreats, counseling reimbursement, youth camps/programs and trial and parole support.
Do-All Outdoors Adds Target-Factory
Do-All Outdoors has acquired the rights to Target-Factory’s unique line of patented shooting targets for consumers and shooting ranges, expanding its already significant target product offerings in steel, paper and self-healing targets.
Do-All is utilizing its established marketing, sales and distribution network in adding the Target-Factory brand to its portfolio. Target-Factory’s patented bottle target designs and dense plastic materials provide high reactivity, durability and visibility, and a self-resetting target that is simple, yet unique to the shooting industry.
Capable of handling any caliber ammunition, each target can withstand hundreds of hits. The products are lightweight, easy to set up and environmentally friendly. The low-density polyethylene (LDPE) materials are 100 percent recyclable.
Huntego Limited Expands Corporate Offices
Huntego Limited, makers of CleanShot shoot-through bore cleaners, has moved into a new, larger corporate office space in Milford, Mich. The 6,000-square-foot facility houses the company’s sales force, administration and new product development suites.
With this expanded space, Huntego increases its capabilities for future product development, including the development of 20-, 28- and .410-gauge bore cleaners in the coming year. The company will also actively pursue 9mm handgun and military-grade rifle applications.
The 12-gauge CleanShot uses a standard shotgun hull and is manufactured using the same process and standards as ammunition currently manufactured by the OEM brands today.
“Moving into our new home in Milford is a great feeling, and long overdue. Having more space to be able to conduct business in an effective manner was needed, and this new 6,000-square-foot facility fit the bill perfectly,” said Founder Curt Whitworth.
Big Rock Sports Opens New Western Distribution Center
Big Rock Sports LLC recently opened a new, 100,000-square-foot distribution center in Reno, Nev., to better serve its Western U.S. customers. The Reno center facilitates two-day delivery of products to most customers in the Western states. Reno’s strategic location among the 11 Western states makes it the distribution hub of the West.
“This new distribution center represents a major investment in the future of our company and our customers. The decision to simplify our distribution network will allow us to provide the remarkable service they expect, and enable us to continue to operate as the leading outdoor sporting goods distributor in North America,” said Andy Melville, president of Big Rock Sports.
Previously, Big Rock served all its Western U.S. customers from its Fresno, Calif., and Clackamas, Ore., distribution centers. The company will continue serving Northwest customers with the existing sales team from a new office in the Clackamas area.
“Our long history of serving customers in the Northwest region will remain a high priority, and we will stay firmly committed to growing those relationships,” Melville added.
The Reno distribution center is the final phase of a plan Big Rock Sports has been working on for several years to serve U.S.-based customers from three strategically located regional distribution centers: East, Central and West. Most customers will now experience a simple, one-distribution-center relationship with Big Rock Sports, with split shipments being drastically reduced.
All firearms handled by Big Rock have been consolidated into its Central facility, and the firearms shipping policy has been simplified to allow for two-day parcel delivery to every customer in the contiguous 48 states.