From "Bullet Points"
GUN SALES UP, CRIME DOWN . . . As firearm sales continue to rise, the Department of Justice (DOJ) says the nation's crime rate in 2004 remained at the lowest level in more than 30 years, reports the Associated Press. Since 1993, violent crime has fallen by 57 percent and property crime by 50 percent. Included is a 9 percent drop in violent crime between 2001-02 and 2003-04. The DOJ's report also revealed that in 2004 less than 25 percent of all violent crimes were committed with a gun, knife or other instrument.
NEW YORK BANS ONLINE HUNTING . . . New York has joined a growing list of states to ban Internet hunting, reports the Associated Press. The state's new law includes a fine of up to $2,500 for those who partake in online hunting or set up an online hunting Web site. A number of other states are considering similar bills. NSSF was a key supporter of the New York bill and provided assistance in assuring the bill would not inadvertently prevent hunting in the field by handicapped persons through the use of technology.
RUFFED GROUSE SOCIETY STEPS OUTSIDE . . . Newcomers across the country will be introduced to hunting and shooting through a new partnership between NSSF's STEP OUTSIDE® program and the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS). Through the partnership, RGS chapters will host STEP OUTSIDE events designed to welcome new faces to traditional outdoor sports. NSSF has provided RGS with $10,000 in grant money to be distributed to its chapters for the events. "STEP OUTSIDE's partnership with the Ruffed Grouse Society is an outstanding opportunity to introduce newcomers to America's hunting and shooting sports traditions," said Melissa Schilling, STEP OUTSIDE national coordinator. "The partnership will help reach out to the society's 140 chapters and give many people a chance to try hunting and shooting for the first time."
ATTENTION OUTDOOR MEDIA . . . The 2006 SHOT Show media registration form is now available at www.shotshow.org
for journalists planning to cover the show Feb. 9-12 in Las Vegas. To receive media credentials you must be a bona-fide member of the press or be on assignment from a legitimate news-gathering organization. The SHOT Show is the largest gathering of outdoor media on the globe. Some 1,000 professional communicators are expected to view the world's newest and largest display of products in the shooting, hunting and outdoor trade, find stories among the products and people in the industry and, in many cases, file those stories, broadcasts and telecasts directly from the show.
BRAZILIANS TO VOTE ON GUN BAN REFERENDUM . . . Poverty and drugs may be at the heart of Brazil's unwelcome claim to the most firearms fatalities in the world. A vote on Oct. 23, in which all of that nation's adults from 18 to 70 must participate, will decide whether all guns and ammunition will be banned nationwide except for the police and military. Reinaldo do Souza, retired from the Brazilian military, says, "No one I know would buy a gun to legally commit a crime. The gun ban won't do anything to help decrease crime because criminals will still be able to get guns." Do Espirito Santo says she doesn't think the ban would reduce the presence in her neighborhood and fears it would increase the black-market gun trade. The same points are being made by the ban's organized opponents, a coalition of legislators and private interests, reports the Washington Post Foreign Service.
BAN ON SPRING BEAR HUNTING IN ONTARIO QUESTIONED . . . Many Canadians are blaming the significant increase in black bear sightings and unwanted encounters in Ontario on the provincial ban on spring black bear hunting that was put in place in the late 1990s. The hunt kept the population in check with a culling of 5,000 animals and injected considerable money into the local economy. In Marathon, the bears have become so numerous, large and fearless, children must wear whistles when they go outside. Marathon's mayor thinks a hunt would help curb the population and if action is not taken quickly, the crisis could spiral out of control.
PROJECT CHILDSAFE IN NEW ENGLAND . . . Last week New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch announced the launch of Project ChildSafe at a press conference in Concord, saying, "It is free, it is easy and it builds on the steps (gun owners) already take to keep children safe." In Montpelier, Vt., U.S. Attorney David Kirby, representing Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, also announced the return of Project ChildSafe, reinforcing its message to gun owners about proper handling and storage of firearms. Project ChildSafe firearm safety kits are being distributed at major public events such as state fairs, sportsmen's festivals and community safety days. Find out more about events in your state at www.projectchildsafe.org
SMITH & WESSON POLICE TRIBUTE . . . Smith & Wesson Corp. is partnering with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) to pay tribute to police officers in 50 states, two of which will receive national recognition at NASCAR events in November. FOP will select a law enforcement "Hero" in each state and, from those nominees, two will be recognized nationally by Smith & Wesson at NASCAR events in Texas and Phoenix. The two police nominees will serve as honorary crew chiefs for the No. 30 Smith & Wesson team at the NASCAR Busch Series events.
EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS IN MICHIGAN DEER . . . The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, collaborating with Michigan State University, confirmed two cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in white-tailed deer from Kent County, followed by two additional confirmations from the same county. EEE, which can prove fatal, is transmitted by mosquitoes, the DNR emphasizes, and not from deer to deer. Though transmission from deer to people is unlikely, humans getting brain or spinal cord matter from an infected deer in their eyes, lungs or skin wounds could become infected. The DNR has established cautionary guidelines to hunters to minimize the chance of that occurring. The first case of EEE in free-ranging deer was documented in Georgia in 2001. Michigan becomes only the second such state.
LIPSEY'S HONORED . . . Baton Rouge-based Lipsey's Inc., a major wholesale distributor of firearms, has been awarded the 2005 Douglas Manship Sr. Torch Award by the Better Business Bureau of South Central Louisiana. The award honors businesses that exhibit the highest ethical standards of behavior toward customers, suppliers, employees and the community. "As the third generation in my family to run the business, I've been taught that the biggest asset we have is our employees and never lose sight of that. I know my father, Richard Lipsey, echoes my comments and we all thank him for his incredible leadership at our company and in the community," said Lipsey's president Laurie Lipsey Aronson.
JUDGE GRANTS PARTIAL DISMISSAL TO REFUGE HUNTING BAN . . . Federal District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Ricardo Urbina granted a motion for partial dismissal of a lawsuit filed to ban hunting on the National Wildlife Refuge System. The suit challenged the 2000-2005 Strategic Plan published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which called for an increase in wildlife-dependent recreation, including hunting. The suit claimed that federal policy was violated by not assessing environmental impacts before publication of the plan. The judge ruled that because the goals outlined in the strategy are not final agency action, there is no need for comprehensive environmental studies. The U.S. Sportsmen's Legal Defense Fund, Safari Club International and the U.S. Department of Justice led the motion for partial dismissal.
MAKING PROGRESS . . . For five years, the National Association of Firearms Retailers (NAFR) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have been teaming up across the country to offer hundreds of firearm retailers one-day seminars on an array of firearms issues. Shooting Industry magazine profiles the "Partnership for Progress" seminars in this month's issue. For retailers planning to attend the 2006 SHOT Show Feb. 9-12 in Las Vegas, NAFR will again be offering a number of courses at SHOT Show University. Stay tuned to www.shotshow.org
for updates on what courses will be available.
BROWNING FORMS ENDOWMENT FOR NRA FOUNDATION . . . Browning Company has created the John M. Browning Endowment to honor the name of the company's founder and to ensure a permanent funding source for shooting programs. The endowment is part of the NRA Foundation, which will fund the NRA Shooting Sports Camp. The revenue will come from a joint $25 donation from Browning and Davidson's GalleryofGuns.com for the sale of each of the two new special-edition Buck Mark pistols created for this cause.
NEW CURRICULUM FOR TURKEY HUNTING SAFETY . . . To make a safe sport even safer, the National Wild Turkey Federation and International Hunting Education Association are distributing a new two-disk CD-ROM and DVD set as the newest learning tools for teaching turkey hunting safety. Sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Walker's Game Ear, the DVD shows two hunts, tips for defensive turkey hunting and 27 "shoot/don't shoot" scenarios. The new curriculum was produced as a result of the Turkey Hunter Safety Task Force commitment to halve within five years the current turkey hunting shooting incident statistic of 2.95 per 100,000 participants. The disks are available from NWTH for anyone who teaches hunter safety.
MORE SURVEYS FOR HUNTERS . . . New York and West Virginia wildlife management agencies are seeking the cooperation of hunters by participating in surveys they are conducting. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is asking hunters to complete a Cooperator Ruffed Grouse Hunting Log to assist in its grouse management program. The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources is inviting archers to participate in its eleventh annual bowhunting survey. Previous surveys have helped provide a wealth of information on that state's wildlife populations.
DON’T LIE FOR THE OTHER GUY . . . The joint program of NSSF, ATF and Project Safe Neighborhoods designed to reduce illegal straw purchases of firearms will resume with a press conference Wednesday in Birmingham headed by Alice Martin, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. In addition to educating firearms retailers on how to detect and deter straw purchases, the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy program drives home the message to the public that anyone attempting an illegal purchase faces a stiff federal penalty. “Purchase a gun for someone who can’t and buy yourself 10 years in jail” is the slogan that will be aired in a public service announcement. Program trucks will be visiting firearms retailers in the district distributing point-of-purchase materials. “Stopping illegal firearms purchases is critical to ATF’s mission of preventing violent crime and protecting the public,” said ATF Director Carl J. Truscott. “Collaborative programs such as Don’t Lie for the Other Guy keep firearms out of the hands of prohibited individuals, gang members, criminals and terrorists, and help make our communities safer for everyone.”
SPIFFING UP NATIONAL HUNTING & FISHING DAY . . . An alliance of energetic partners in 2006 will begin spiffing up traditional outdoor sports' preeminent public showcase—National Hunting and Fishing Day. Wonders of Wildlife, the National Fish and Wildlife Museum and Zooquarium based in Springfield, Mo., is leading a charge to invigorate the celebration with the help of NSSF, The Outdoor Channel and Bass Pro Shops. In a Saturday ceremony, Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt welcomed NHF Day to its new official home. Wonders of Wildlife executive director Tony Schoonen said, "National Hunting and Fishing Day belongs here. Our plans start with a new museum exhibit to show off the colorful history of the celebration, but our real focus is on the future. We're already developing new tools to communicate the value of hunting, fishing and conservation. We want more people to understand the connections, and ultimately we'd like to see more people—especially young people-participating."
FMG PUBLICATIONS, INDUSTRY LEADERS HIT X-RING FOR STEP OUTSIDE . . . Over the weekend, industry leaders converged on the Desert Lake Country Club in Nevada to compete in a three-gun shooting competition to benefit NSSF’s STEP OUTSIDE® program. Sponsored and produced by FMG Publications, the Shooting Industry Masters drew teams from Sturm, Ruger & Co., Smith & Wesson, NSSF, Benchmade, Crimson Trace, Gunsite, Walther, Fiocchi Ammunition, Para-Ordnance, IHEA, USA Shooting, Armscor, CZ-USA, DPMS Panther Arms and FMG Publications. “While some teams may have shot better than others, everyone that attended this event walked away as winners,” said Melissa Schilling, STEP OUTSIDE national coordinator. “Thanks to FMG Publications and the great support the event received from many other sponsors and donors, our industry was given an opportunity to pull together and experience the fun, thrill and excitement of rifle, pistol and shotgun competition and, at the same time, raise money for STEP OUTSIDE.” Saturday night’s fund-raising dinner netted nearly $6,000 as industry members stepped up to the plate to buy raffle tickets and participate in a live auction. Bragging rights for this year’s event go to DPMS Panther Arms’ team of professional shooters in the Open Class and Ruger’s all-employee team in the Industry Class.
WISCONSIN BILL WILL PUT MORE HUNTERS AFIELD . . . Wisconsin lawmakers have introduced a bill that will eliminate barriers for young and first-time hunters and will also allow parents to take their youngsters shooting at a younger age. The bill—AB 677—would establish an apprentice hunting license allowing qualified, licensed adult hunters to introduce others to hunting prior to completing a hunter education course. It would also repeal a restriction that currently prevents parents from taking their sons and daughters shooting before age 12. The bill is part of the nationwide Families Afield campaign, a collaborative effort of NSSF, the National Wild Turkey Federation and U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, aimed at opening doors for parents to introduce their sons and daughters to hunting.
OKLAHOMA, VERMONT FORM STATE LEGISLATIVE SPORTSMEN’S CAUCUSES . . . State legislators in Oklahoma and Vermont announced the formation of state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses on Friday. These announcements marked the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth states to unite their legislative allies for sportsmen’s causes. The National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, now represented by more than half of all states, provides the state caucuses with information and tools, including model legislation, to promote the sportsmen’s agenda.
MAJOR VICTORY FOR FIREARMS OWNERS IN LOUISIANA . . . The United States District Court for the Eastern District in Louisiana issued a restraining order on Friday to bar further gun confiscations from peaceful and law-abiding victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The National Rifle Association had filed a motion on Thursday morning, following The New York Times report that the New Orleans superintendent of police had directed that no civilians in New Orleans would be allowed to have guns and that only law enforcement were allowed to have weapons. “This is a significant victory for freedom,” said NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre.
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT REFORM HEADS TO HOUSE FLOOR . . . The House Resources Committee on Thursday overwhelmingly passed the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005, a bill that would reform the 32-year-old Endangered Species Act. The bill, by committee chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif., now heads to a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. NSSF, along with a number of other organizations representing America’s sportsmen and women, support Pombo’s bill.
REPORT SHOWS HOW STEP OUTSIDE® CAN BETTER BUSINESS . . . “Industry Intelligence Reports,” a research series from NSSF, has published its latest issue on STEP OUTSIDE. This, of course, is the successful mentoring program that encourages experienced outdoor enthusiasts to introduce family members, friends and others to shooting, hunting, archery and fishing and then nurture their involvement in the sports. The report releases some key findings that attest not only to the success of the program but to the financial potential it delivers to retailers, especially those who embrace the program. The eight previously published Industry Intelligence Reports are also available online. All NSSF members receive a printed copy of “Intelligence Reports,” and additional copies may be requested for $1 each from Frank Briganti, NSSF manager of industry research and analysis.
HUNTERSURVEY.COM . . . A new online survey will help the outdoor industry better serve its customers who hunt and shoot. The survey is free. And respondents could win one of several $100 gift certificates to be given away each month. To participate, visit www.huntersurvey.com
. Respondent information will be used in the development of new products, better services and expanded opportunities to enjoy hunting and shooting. Huntersurvey.com was developed by Southwick Associates Inc., which tracks hunting and shooting sports trends and specializes in assessing revenue streams and business models, regularly helping state agencies and trade groups in their efforts to protect and expand hunting, shooting and other outdoor opportunities.
SHOOTING PARK FUNDING INPUT DEADLINE IS IMMINENT . . . A proposed world-class shooting center for mushrooming Clark County, Nevada, where Las Vegas is located, continues with another planning and funding stage. Facing the rise in the cost of construction materials, planners could be encouraged by the expressed support of shooters by Wednesday’s deadline for the funding of Round 6 of the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (which allows purchase of Bureau of Land Management property through the account the act has created). Direct supportive messages for funding of the project to Juan Palma, Field Manager, BLM Field Office, 4701 N. Torrey Pines Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89130-2301, telephone (775) 861-6500.
MANDATORY CWD TESTING PLAN . . . The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has announced a mandatory CWD testing program for captive cervids (mule deer, elk and black- and white-tailed deer). Up until this time, the program had been voluntary, with more than 250 herds representing over 10,000 individual cervids enrolled in the program. Officials anticipate the mandatory requirement will begin on Oct. 1. The Pennsylvania Game Commission also anticipates testing over 4,000 hunter-harvested wild deer for CWD in response to a finding in nearby Hampshire County, West Virginia. The CWD response plan for Pennsylvania can be accessed on the web at www.agriculture.state.pa.us