August is National Shooting Sports Month

24 million Americans are interested in trying target shooting, says NSSF.

August is National Shooting Sports Month, a time to celebrate one of America’s great pastimes — target shooting — a safe, fun activity enjoyed by millions of people across the country, with millions more wanting to take their first shots.

Research by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) shows that 24 million Americans are very interested in learning about the shooting sports, making National Shooting Sports Month the perfect time for someone to give target shooting a try. There are dozens of sports from which to choose, from hitting steel targets with handguns and rifles to breaking clay targets in the shotgun sports of trap, skeet and sporting clays.

“The shooting sports truly offer something for everyone,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF President and CEO. “A day at the range gives people an opportunity to tune out distractions, learn a new skill, socialize and share their experiences.”

LetsGoShooting.org, a new website developed by NSSF, is the place to find information about National Shooting Sports Month and the many target shooting sports available. At LetsGoShooting.org, you can also find a shooting range or firearms retailer near you, learn about shooting and sales events, print targets, watch instructional videos and learn how to safely handle and store firearms.

And don’t forget the Trigger Time Sweepstakes, which is a big part of National Shooting Sports Month. You’ll be able to enter the sweepstakes at LetsGoShooting.org for a chance to win great prizes totaling more than $35,000 in weekly drawings.

NSSF, the trade association for the firearms industry, launched National Shooting Sports Month last year to great success. During that time, recent shooting sports trends, such as more women taking up target shooting and more first-time participants, were obvious at ranges and firearms retailers across the country.

“One of the many people interested in trying target shooting may well be in your family — a daughter, son or spouse — or a friend just waiting for you to ask them to spend a day at the range,” said NSSF’s Zach Snow, Director of Shooting Range Services. “Extend that invitation — you’ll be glad you did.”

Don’t have a mentor? No problem. Shooting ranges work with newcomers all the time and can help you get started with safe, supervised instruction.

Snow encourages the use of the hashtag #LetsGoShooting on social media. “Tell us about your experience on our Facebook page, share your Instagram and Twitter posts,” he said. “It’s going to be fun month, and we want to know how everyone is celebrating.”

Spend a day at the range. Learn more about National Shooting Sports Month and target shooting at LetsGoShooting.org.

Study Finds Fewer People Willing to Answer Questions about Gun Ownership

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

A common thought (maybe even a rational one) is that gun owners hesitate to share their status as gun owners in surveys. It makes perfect sense, particularly in times of heightened concerns that anti-gun politicians are plotting to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights and the routine vilification of law-abiding gun owners by politicians, celebrities, and the media. A recent study confirmed that more people are refusing to answer questions about firearms ownership.

Iowa State University political scientist Robert Urbatsch analyzed data from the General Social Survey (GSS) and found that the number of people refusing to answer a question about gun ownership roughly tripled since the year 2000. The increase appears steady from the year 2000 through 2016 and Urbatsch found the increased non-response rate concentrated among Republicans (though the rates among Democrats and Independents also increased). Coincidentally, Pew recently confirmed that gun ownership is far more common among Republicans – meaning, the people driving the increase in the GSS question refusals are also those most likely to own a gun. Go figure.

Urbatsch discusses how this increase could be driven by increased polarization, by political elites’ and partisan commentators’ fear-mongering, or by distrust of government and an institutionalized belief in individual autonomy. For some reason, more people are hesitating to share their gun-owning status with a stranger on the phone conducting a survey for the government.

This isn’t new. Take a look at the Gallup trend below; notice the sharp increase after 1993…right around the time Congress was working on a major gun control effort (the 1994 assault weapons ban). In December 1993, less than 0.5% of respondents refused to answer that question. In July 1996 (the next time the question was asked), 2% of respondents refused. The number acknowledging they had a gun in their household dropped from 49% to 38% in the same time period. The percent refusing first hit 4% in October 2009, then hit 4% again in October 2013 and October 2014 – when anti-gun politicians controlled both the White House and the Senate. The number of refusals dropped from 2016 to 2017. A simple trend line does not indicate causation…but one major difference between 2016 and 2017 was the political outlook. In 2016, there was a concern that a historically anti-gun politician could win the Presidency; by October 2017, President Trump had secured the White House.   Continue reading

Kavanaugh Pick as Supreme Court Justice Receives Universal Support from Gun Groups

Trump’s Second SCOTUS Nominee Garners Wide Support from RKBA Organizations: NRA, SAF, GOA, NSSF

Just over a year after Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s seat on the United States Supreme Court, President Trump has tapped the second SCOTUS nominee of his first term.

President Trump’s has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to succeed Anthony Kennedy, who has sat on the court since being nominated by Ronald Reagan and confirmed in 1988.  Since his July 9th nomination, Kavanaugh has received universal support from major gun rights organizations, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Gun Owners of America (GOA), and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).

In their statement, the NRA said that “President Trump has made another outstanding choice in nominating Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court. He has an impressive record that demonstrates his strong support for the Second Amendment.” The statement also referenced Kavanaugh’s strong dissenting opinion in opposition to Washington, D.C.’s ban on commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and their registration requirement which, consistent with Justice Scalia’s opinion in Heller.  NRA’s Chris Cox continued, “Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated his clear belief that the Constitution should be applied as the Framers intended.”

In a separate statement, NRA said that “Judge Brett Kavanaugh has earned NRA members’ support.” In this statement, the gun-rights organization goes into additional details on the nominee’s Second Amendment history.

Second Amendment Foundation

SAF likewise applauded Kavanaugh’s nomination for the SCOTUS seat, saying “We’re encouraged by this nomination because by adding Judge Kavanaugh, we might see the high court become more willing to accept and rule on important Second Amendment issues, such as right-to-carry.” Second Amendment Founder and Executive VP, Alan Gottlieb, noted that “the Supreme Court has twice affirmed in the last ten years that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right to keep a firearm for home defense, but the court has yet to even begin defining the right to bear arms outside of the home or business, in public.”  Gottlieb says that he hopes that Kavanaugh’s nomination would be “quickly affirmed by the Senate.”

On the topic of Senate confirmation, one potential hold-out that may have stymied Kavanaugh’s progress to Kennedy’s vacant SCOTUS seat, Rand Paul, yesterday got on board with the President’s nomination, saying that “his strong defenses of the First and Second Amendments in landmark cases show someone who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo and will fight with backbone.” Paul concluded, “Judge Kavanaugh will have my support and my vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court.”   Continue reading

Getting Women Involved

Earlier this year, as I prepared for SHOT Show 2018 coverage, I asked some of my girlfriends who own firearms or are involved in the shooting sports what they were wanting to see this year from the show.  During our conversations, an unexpected theme emerged.  In addition to the same requests for better concealed carry options, and weapons/gear that are designed to better fit a woman’s anatomy, there was a more intangible concern: the social aspect of women in shooting.  Almost all of my friends wanted three things: to know more women like themselves, ideas on how to get more involved in shooting, and to feel more included in the shooting world.

There are enough women becoming involved in the shooting sports that the NSSF felt it necessary to do an extensive study on the female shooting demographic and the NRA now has an entire section (including a TV channel) dedicated to women’s interest.  Many manufacturers make specific models of rifles (like Savage and Weatherby), shotguns (such as Syren), and handguns (such as EAA) that have been designed specifically with a woman in mind.  These companies did not simply take an existing model and then apply the “Shrink It and Pink It” (SI-PI) cosmetic makeover.  There was actual thought put into these weapons to improve the shooting experience for women.  Firearm design is not the only part of the shooting world trying to play catch-up. There are now many concealed carry options that were designed specifically with a woman in mind, including more and more in off-body carry options.  Several companies have even tackled the gear portion by designing hunting clothes, law enforcement uniforms, and backpacks, to name just a few, to fit the female body better. While many women may not be happy with the available options, many more choices are coming to market every year.  Many companies are also open to suggestions for how to improve existing designs, but changes do not happen overnight.   Continue reading

NRA Membership Dues Scheduled for Another Imminent Increase

CLICK HERE to join or renew today at discounted rates

If you are a current member who retrieved your National Rifle Association publication, such as Shooting Illustrated, American Rifleman, American Hunter, or America’s First Freedom from your mailbox, or if you visited the NRA website, you were likely greeted by the news that dues are set to increase again in the very near future.

The half-cover of the August 2018 issue of NRA magazines (sent mid-July) posits that the increase is set to take place on August 1st.

You may recall that the gun rights lobbying group’s dues also increased in 2016 in the run-up ahead of the big push during the presidential election campaign.  You may also recall that the eventual increase came only after the organization kicked the can down the road a number of times, issuing the date of the increase only to keep pushing it back several times before the inevitable price hike. While that may happen again with this increase, it also may very well not. We don’t have any insider information about that, but we will share whatever we find out as soon as we know.

Even though this is the second time in as many years that price increases have taken place, NRA touts the fact that dues increases are few and far between. The inside jacket of the magazine reads: “On August 1, 2018, NRA dues will increase for only the second time in more than 20 years.  There’s simply no other way we can stop a gun-ban takeover of the U.S. Congress and save our Second Amendment Rights. But you can beat the dues increase by renewing today.”

In addition to beating the dues increase, you can also get extra savings on your NRA membership dues here. Even after the increase, this link will provide savings off of the normal new member and renewal fees, although the prices there will automatically adjust once the increase goes into effect.

DOJ, SAF Reach Settlement in Defense Distributed Lawsuit

The Department of Justice and Second Amendment Foundation have reached a settlement in SAF’s lawsuit on behalf of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed over free speech issues related to 3-D files and other information that may be used to manufacture lawful firearms.

SAF and Defense Distributed had filed suit against the State Department under the Obama administration, challenging a May 2013 attempt to control public speech as an export under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a Cold War-era law intended to control exports of military articles.

Under terms of the settlement, the government has agreed to waive its prior restraint against the plaintiffs, allowing them to freely publish the 3-D files and other information at issue. The government has also agreed to pay a significant portion of the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees, and to return $10,000 in State Department registration dues paid by Defense Distributed as a result of the prior restraint.

Significantly, the government expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber – including modern semi-auto sporting rifles such as the popular AR-15 and similar firearms – are not inherently military.

“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war,’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.

“Under this settlement,” he continued, “the government will draft and pursue regulatory amendments that eliminate ITAR control over the technical information at the center of this case. They will transfer export jurisdiction to the Commerce Department, which does not impose prior restraint on public speech. That will allow Defense Distributed and SAF to publish information about 3-D technology.”

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