Ever Hear About The NSSF? Not If You Don’t Own A Gun


Final_cover__08585.1377691165.220.290  Order our new book now.



The biggest problem in dealing with the issue of gun violence is that the two sides don’t have the foggiest idea of what the other side is talking about.  The gun control people talk one language, the anti-gun control crowd speaks in a different tongue.  They talk to different audiences, they talk about different issues, they might as well be on different planets.  Want the latest example?  It comes from the gun control side.


The current issue of Atlantic Monthly magazine contains an article entitled, “The Gun Lobbying Group You Don’t Hear About” and it goes on to detail the activities of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, whose national office, ironically, is located right down the road from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.


The article details the extent to which the NSSF, which represents manufacturers, gun wholesalers and retailers, has of late stepped up its lobbying and PR efforts to match the influence and expenditures of the National Rifle Association.  In fact, the author makes the point that the NSSF’s role in the gun debate has of late become more important because people within the industry have begun to question the role and value of the NRA.


I’m not saying that the NSSF is a household word when it comes to pro or con discussions about guns.   And if you’re not a gun owner, or haven’t been to the annual gun trade show (aka the SHOT show) run by the NSSF in Las Vegas, there’s no reason that you should be aware of the organization’s existence or activities.  Furthermore, the NSSF’s President, Steve Sanetti, is a quiet, corporate guy who avoids the media spotlight about as diligently as Wayne LaPierre tries to attract it.


For all those reasons, you could argue that an article introducing the NSSF to the readership of a magazine like The Atlantic is a worthwhile exercise in investigative journalism.  There’s only one problem.  The NSSF has of late begun to promote several public campaigns that are not only a break with past industry strategies for defending themselves against the anti-gun crowd, but are designed to put the gun industry in the forefront of the debate about the issue that makes them most vulnerable, namely, the issue of gun safety.


Historically, the gun industry’s response to concerns about gun violence, as promoted by the NRA, was to argue that everyone would be safer if they had or were protected by a gun.  Remember Wayne LaPierre’s call for armed guards in schools following the massacre at Sandy Hook?  As a counterpoint, take a look at the new NSSF website promoting its ChildSafe campaign.  It’s direct, it’s clever and it calls for every gun owner to take a pledge to lock up or lack away all their guns – the American Academy of Pediatrics would be proud.


Mike Bloomberg campaigned hard for expanded background checks to eliminate or curtail “straw sales.”  For years the NSSF has sent literature and display posters to all its gun dealer members (myself included) promoting its “Don’t Lie For The Other Guy” campaign.  Now they are taking this message directly to the public with full-size, highway billboards that are being mounted in inner-city neighborhoods throughout the United States.


Don’t get me wrong.  The NSSF’s newly-found concern about safety and responsibility isn’t without its faults.  The distribution of gun locks, as The Atlantic article points out, was a PR sham.  And their attempt to convince us that military-style rifles are nothing more than the twenty-first century version of the traditional hunting rifle is a joke.  But when was the last time that Michael Bloomberg put up a roadside billboard that reminded people that straw sales were against the law?




15 thoughts on “Ever Hear About The NSSF? Not If You Don’t Own A Gun

  1. Awesome, Mike — thank you! I wish there was a similarly well-grounded organization for gun owners — something other than the NRA … Something less inflammatory and more reasonable.

  2. “For years the NSSF has sent literature and display posters to all its gun dealer members (myself included) promoting its “Don’t Lie For The Other Guy” campaign.”

    Hey Mike, quick question – where is your gun shop and what is its name?

  3. Ok, thanks. Looked back at some older posts. Somehow I had gotten the incorrect impression that you were claiming to be a medical doctor also, but I apparently misread that (which is why I looked back).

    So I will accept that you are indeed who you claim to be. I largely don’t agree with many of your views, and sometimes what I see as an authoritarian view, but thank you for providing the link.

    You often talk about things we should do. Did I ever mention a scheme I came up with for universal background checks? Curious as to your take on it:

    Universal Background Checks



    • It’s my wife who’s the physician in our family. She’s one of those horrible pediatricians who when a patient reports that he/she is suffering from depression, among other things she tramples all over their 2nd Amendment rights and asks them if there’s a gun in the home and if it’s locked up. And don’t for one second indulge yourself by throwing at me the nonsense being peddled by the NRA about how doctors don’t have the professional right and responsibility to ask those questions. It’s beneath me to entertain a discussion about such crap.

      • “It’s beneath me to entertain a discussion about such crap.”

        I think you would be more effective if you didn’t try to give people ultimatums as to what authorities they must respect in your view.

        If a doctor exercises their 1st Amendment rights of free speech to ask the question I have no problem with that as long as the doctor also recognizes a patients right to tell them that it is none of their business and that the doctor respects the patients right to privacy.

        The problem will come when the government forces doctors to ask these questions and perhaps even makes insurance coverage contingent on a patient answering them.


      • Let me break the news to you gently: There is no patient, regardless of what medical plan or insurance or anything else that covers his/her treatment who is required to answer any question asked during an examination. Now I know that conspiracy theorists like yourself are convinced that sooner or later this is going to happen. But leaving aside such nonsense, since when did you become an expert on the Constitution? I’ve never asked you what you do for a living and I really don’t care but I know you’re not an attorney because if you were, you wouldn’t dare talk about doctor-patient relationships in terms of the 1st Amendment. The truth is that you have absolutely no idea about the professional or medical issues involved in medical treatment, in an earlier email you had no idea about the difference between the AMA and the AAP, but that doesn’t stop you from orating on about “1st Amendment rights” of physicians. What I love about all you libertarians is how modest you are about what you know. The truth is, you don’t know jack and I’m not going to answer any more of your emails.

      • “The truth is, you don’t know jack and I’m not going to answer any more of your emails.”

        I really must have rubbed a raw nerve somewhere. The amount of vitriol in your reply was pretty amazing given what I am fairly certain were very mild statements.


  4. “I know you’re not an attorney…”

    You are right. I am not an attorney. I am a computer science guy. I graduated from the Colorado School of Trades back in the 1970s as a gunsmith. But in 1980 I found an even greater interest in computers, got a degree in Computer Science, and have been doing that over 30 years now.

    However the guy who wrote this article is an attorney.

    Will Health Care Reform Regulate Guns?


    You might find it interesting and related to our discussion on doctors and guns.

    Here is the author’s credentials:

    Ken Hanson is a gun rights attorney in Ohio who serves as the Legislative Chair for Buckeye Firearms Association. He is the attorney of record for Buckeye Firearms Foundation, which filed an amicus brief in the Heller case. In 2008, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) awarded him with its Defender of Justice Award. He is the author of The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws, a certified firearms instructor and holds a Type 01 Federal Firearms License.

  5. OK. I read the above-referenced article. And this article demonstrates exactly why I find discussions with people like you so difficult because you and your friends simply don’t seem to understand the difference between a fact and an opinion.

    Hanson begins the article with the following by telling us that the CDC is circumventing the ban on gun research imposed by Congress. What is Hanson’s proof? An editorial in the Washington Times. An editorial. Not a fact, an opinion. And in fact, the opinion is wrong.

    The fact is that the ban on CDC gun research has not been lifted. There has been a meeting at the CDC to create a list of research topics, if and when Congress changes the law and allows for funding of such research, but there is not nor has there been any research done or planned. By the way, one of the researchers who attended that meeting and helped come up with research topics wasn’t me – it was your friend Gary Kleck.

    Hansen then goes on to say that now that the CDC is back in the gun research business, they will shortly publish research that shows that most of the money spent on the medical costs of gun violence goes to paying for uninsured patients which will impact the cost of medical insurance, etc. Then this will lead to de facto gun control because the costs of medical insurance for gun owners will increase and they will not be able to afford insurance as long as they remain in the new ‘risk group’ created by the research that will be funded by the CDC.
    So, we have an entire article that is based on an opinion from a conservative newspaper editorial which is then turned into a series of ‘facts’ that always lead to the same conclusion, namely, that the liberals are going to take away the guns. And after I tell you in a previous email that you have the arrogance to tell me that I should send you a ‘scientific’ analysis of Kleck’s work even though you haven’t bothered to read Kleck’s work, you counter by sending me this jumble of nonsense based not on a single fact but directly contradicted by the facts.

    Now I know it’s hard, if not impossible for you to deal with facts. But try your best to do it just once.
    Fact: The CDC is not doing any gun research. They can’t and they can’t circumvent the Congressional ban.
    Fact: The Urban Institute just published a study on the costs of gun violence and they pointed out that 52% of all gun violence that results in medical treatment is paid for either by private insurance or self-pay, and that the cost of medical care for welfare (Medicaid) patients is substantially lower than the cost for insured patients because hospitals already self-select medical treatment for gunshots in order not to over-burden the medical system with resources used for felony shootings.

    Buy why would either you or Hanson know about this study? Isn’t it a lot more fun to create a whole conspiracy theory about secret gun-control strategies that plays right into your continued quest to find reasons why the “enemy” (as Hanson calls gun control people) is out to get you no matter what?

    I have been replying to every one of your emails and in every single response I challenge you to give me facts to support your opinions. You haven’t done it yet and you can’t.because the facts don’t support your opinions. You know what? This is a classic example of arrested development; threaten the children that you’ll take away their toys if they don’t behave and they’ll respond with a tantrum. No logic, no change bin behavior, just a tantrum.

    We don’t need guns and we haven’t needed guns since the frontier closed in 1890. But they are great toys and like all toys that we like, if they are taken away we’ll have a tantrum. That’s why you have yet to present me with a single fact. You’re too busy standing there yelling.

  6. “We don’t need guns and we haven’t needed guns since the frontier closed in 1890. But they are great toys and like all toys that we like, if they are taken away we’ll have a tantrum.”

    Interesting reply for a gun dealer. Basically this is what I take from your statement:

    1. The 2nd Amendment is nonsense because today all our guns are just toys for our amusement.

    2. People who carry concealed handguns legally (as I do) are just carrying around toys they don’t really need.

    Would I be correct then that you would support a ban on rifles like the AR-15 and “high capacity” magazines?


    • You are incapable of framing any discussion within a factual context. I sent you a long and very detailed comment on Hanson, I made sure to buttress my statements in verifiable facts, and you ignored it totally because you just want to go on and on about one opinion after another.

      This is the last response you’ll receive. I can’t spend any more time responding to your opinions. They’re your opinions – fine. But you are unable to back them up with facts. So enough is truly enough.

      • ” I sent you a long and very detailed comment on Hanson”

        Yes, and I will need to do some research on what you claim are facts. Not something one can do in a couple minutes.

        However your comments about how we don’t need guns and how they are essentially toys inspired additional questions and a clarification.

        Would actually appreciate your view on so-called “assault rifles” like the AR-15. If didn’t want to know, I wouldn’t have asked.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.