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.