NSSF Report

By now, everyone who’s anyone is talking about the report that came out on Monday regarding the future of the hunting and shooting sports. Uncle has a pretty good summary, which makes the excellent point that we really do need to hang together, as well as summarizing some of the other points brought up.

Other coverage here, here, and here (the last link is to Michael Bane’s post, which is the best so far). We’ll also be talking about the Response Management report tonight on Gun Nuts: The Next Generation with Squeaky and myself – looking at it from the point of view of people who are shooters but not hunters.

The heart of the issue that’s offending a lot of handgunners and sport shooters is this section from the report:

Action Item 163. Efforts to promote acceptance of shooting sports should focus on rifles and shotguns.

Action Item 164. Avoid communications imagery that shows people shooting at human silhouettes. Be aware that there is much resistance among the general public to target shooting at human silhouettes, and images showing this will not be as well-received as alternative images (e.g., a person shooting at a standard bull’s eye target with a rifle).

Now, I probably had the same reaction to those sections that a lot of shooters had, which was a big “WTF”; because right there on the front of the report it says “NSSF”. It didn’t jive mentally for me to see NSSF’s name associated with a report that essentially sells out the sport shooting and handgun sport community, especially in the wake of the positive media coverage that handgun shooting had be seeing lately.

So yesterday, I talked for a bit with Ted Novin from NSSF, who was able to clear things up for me. He explained that the report was commissioned by NSSF as a study of different methods which could be used to further participation in the shooting sports, and that the action items recommended were not endorsed or sanctioned by NSSF. The report was done by a company called Response Management, who put it together and proposed the “action items” including the objectionable ones; what NSSF is doing with it at the Shooting Sports Summit is reviewing all the action items for their possible feasibility.

The short version is that NSSF is not selling out handgunners, and they don’t endorse the action items which propose that. When speaking with NSSF yesterday, they were very quick to make it clear that they weren’t behind the action items in question, and the company which put the report together is responsible for proposing those items.  It’s important to note as well that while some of the action items may be disagreeble, they are predicated on public opinion data.  While you may or not agree with the results, the data was gathered by polling people, which means that it does need to be taken seriously, even if you disagree with the recommendation.

Me personally, if I were confronted with info that said that people had a negative public image of handguns, I’d do everything in my power to change that image, and not run and hide from it.

I definitely agree with Uncle that we need to be careful to not eat our own here, be it hunters or sport shooters or handgunners – while it’s unfortunate that NSSF’s logo is splashed all over the report, it’s important to understand that none of the “action items” in the report have been, or are guaranteed to be, acted upon by NSSF. I am pretty confident that any measures and or action items which divide shooters and hunters and through handgunners under the bus stand almost no chance whatsoever of being enacted by NSSF.

We’ll be talking more about the report this evening, on the podcast which you can listen to live at 11pm eastern time, or download the next morning.


  1. I may be completely mistaken here, but I seem to recall a law, or maybe a proposed law, in Massachusetts which made it a misdemeanor for anyone except a LEO to shoot at a paper “torso” target of any kind.

  2. I do remember from my academy days that when we’d shoot against the MIT pistol team that they had a big sign on their range that said roughly “thou shalt not shoot at silhouette targets”.

  3. There is also the simple fact that, well, the action item isn’t wrong.

    “[T]here is much resistance among the general public to target shooting at human silhouettes…”

    The ‘general public’ refers to those Americans doesn’t own firearms, own the hunting rifle grampappy gave them but don’t use it, or pure Fudds. All of whom vote for “reasonable” gun control because the true Antis bambozzle them with images of full auto AK-47s and then pass laws banning Mini-14s.

    “[I]mages showing this will not be as well-received as alternative images.”

    People equate bull’s eye targets with “harmless” games, such as darts or the archery game at the county fair. They see a human silhouette and (correctly) equate it with practicing shooting humans… which they don’t think of as a sport.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the handguns and have never and probably will never go hunting. But we’re talking about a group that wants to sell the unwashed masses on sport shooting. A happy kid with a cricket and a bull’s eye “sells” better than a guy with a Glock and a silhouette.

    When I try to introduce my wife to Japanese cooking, I start with yakisoba, terriyaki, and Ahi tuna. Sashimi, salmon roe, and the more exotic stuff can wait….

  4. I don’t necessarily disagree, but the way the report was presented it ended up looking bad for us. Plus, it had a lot of other stuff in there I didn’t like too much, like talk of “non-lethal firearms”.

  5. Thain —

    If you act like it’s something of which to be ashamed, people are going to treat it that way. We don’t have to go out of our way to alienate the public, but these kind of contortions are a game we can’t win.

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