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Stop Bullying The NSSF



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To the Editor:

In his 11/25/14 letter, “NSSF on the Leno Cancellation,” Steve Sanetti—president and CEO of the National Shooting Sports Foundation—decries the “bullying tactics” of the Newtown Action Alliance in depriving his organization’s members of their “First Amendment” right to the entertainment of their choice.

I feel Steve’s pain. It has been a bruising month for the NSSF. First, the NSSF’s $240,000 TV and radio campaign against Malloy for signing SB 1160 backfired—with the shift of 10 percent of Newtown votes away from Foley compared to 2010 accounting for 8 percent of Malloy’s statewide margin. Then, in the aftermath of the Marysville Pilchuk High School shooting, the landslide victory for Ballot Initiative 594 closing background-check loopholes in Washington State despite strenuous opposition by the NSSF must have stung. And then last week, the unequivocal judgment in the long-awaited 114-page blue-ribbon Report of the State of Connecticut’s Office of the Child Advocate (“Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School”) was not what the doctor ordered: “The conclusion that access to guns drives shooting episodes far more than the presence of mental illness is inescapable. … The widespread access to assault weapons and high capacity ammunition is an urgent public health concern. … It is reasonable to wonder what actions AL would have taken and whether the Sandy Hook tragedy could have occurred at all if he had not had unfettered access to significant weaponry and ammunition.”

With yet more unpleasantness from the bullies anticipated in connection with 12/14, who could fault Steve and his 10,000 gun industry members for looking forward to a little comic relief at the $135-a-plate SHOT Show Dinner in Las Vegas on January 20? Let’s see, who else can we tap who’s good with quips? Ted (“subhuman mongrel”) Nugent is always up for it, but dang! he’s already billed to play the SHOT Show’s Golden Moose Awards.

Wait, how about Steve himself? His letter betrays previously hidden flashes of comic brilliance. Those bullies, he writes, “have as little respect for the First Amendment as … the Second Amendment.” That is priceless, Steve! This from the head of the national gun lobby that supports Florida’s Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act, which censors the speech of doctors—threatening pediatricians who ask parents of toddlers how they secure their firearms with revocation of their medical licenses and $10,000 fines. And then Steve’s kicker—“We are proud of the many programs that we run that meaningfully contribute to public safety including our longstanding Project ChildSafe and Don’t Lie for the Other Guy initiatives”—could have them rolling in the aisles at Vegas.

Ah, the delicious irony of the gun industry’s lobby posing as the paragon of altruistic purity! Only bullies would point out that the NSSF’s principled opposition to the commercialization of smart-gun technology is wholly consistent with the economic principle that its members’ profit margins are predicated on preserving its third largest market segment: the black market in crime guns.

Robert Hutchinson

Hanover, Illinois  November 27, 2014

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