Gun group considered leaving Newtown

National Shooting Sports Foundation mulled moving offices after pressure from neighbors, protestors
Associated Press
Nov 23, 2013

 

 The gun industry's national trade association and lobbying organization considered moving its offices from Newtown after last year's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the president and CEO of the National Shooting Sports Foundation said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.

With a handful of the nearly 50 foundation employees confronted by angry neighbors and protesters appearing outside the foundation's headquarters, Steve Sanetti said he had to look at the situation from "a strategic standpoint" and determine whether having the name of Newtown associated with the organization would affect its mission to promote hunting and shooting sports.

"We had to consider whether a move was appropriate," Sanetti said Wednesday. "But I polled all the employees here and, to a person, it was like, 'Don't move. We like it here. We're part of the community. We have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of. We didn't do this. We've been fighting this sort of thing. Stay the course.'"

While the Northeast is not necessarily steeped in the hunting culture, like other parts of the country, Sanetti said the foundation is located in Connecticut because the manufacturing base of the firearms industry was historically located here. NSSF boasts a membership of 9,500 of mostly businesses, including manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. It owns the Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, the largest of its type that draws nearly 70,000 people involved in the industry.

Many Newtown residents were likely unaware of the foundation's existence until Adam Lanza shot his way through the school Dec. 14, 2012, killing 20 first-graders and six educators before committing suicide. The organization has been based in Newtown for 20 years, located in a white colonial-style building along a main road into town, but only its initials and street address appear on a sign posted out front.

After the massacre, Sanetti said the group deliberately didn't make any statements for about a month.

"Being here in the community, we just didn't think it was appropriate, frankly. It was respectful silence," Sanetti said. "It was horrible in town here. The funerals going by and everything."

Sanetti said many of his employees knew families affected by the shooting, as well as the first responders and teachers. One of the slain teachers went to school with Sanetti's daughter. He called the incident "a punch to the stomach."

The Danbury state's attorney's office on Monday is scheduled to release its report on its investigation into the shooting.

Sanetti said the group became more outspoken as Connecticut and other states moved to tighten their gun laws.

"That's when we began visibly stating our positions on things and that's when the protesters started coming," Sanetti said. Some have held signs protesting the National Rifle Association, which is a separate organization that represents mostly individuals.

Dave Ackert, chairman of the Newtown Action Alliance, a grassroots group formed after the massacre to advocate against gun violence, contends that NSSF holds many of the same positions as the NRA.

"There are plenty of people who would wish they would leave, not because they're affiliated with the gun industry but because of their position on common-sense regulations like closing universal background check loopholes," Ackert said.

Ackert said the positions that NSSF has taken "are not welcome here in Newtown, not the rank-and-file employees."

Yet Sanetti contends gun safety is a major focus for his group.

"It has to be said, that had Mrs. Lanza in town here taken the appropriate steps to keep her guns secured from her son, who she knew to be at risk, this wouldn't have happened," Sanetti said of 20-year-old Adam Lanza's mother, Nancy. Police said Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother before committing the school rampage.

Lanza lived with his mother in a house filled with guns and ammunition, according to warrants released by investigators. Authorities haven't released details of Lanza's mental health history, but Nancy Lanza told a divorce mediator in 2009 that she didn't like to leave her son alone.

After the Newtown shooting, NSSF hired a public relations firm to promote and rebrand its Project ChildSafe effort, dedicated to gun safety and the distribution of gun locks. During President George W. Bush's presidency, ChildSafe received $92 million in federal funds and distributed 34 million gun locks across the country. NSSF is now seeking $10 million in federal funding to supplement the $1 million the gun industry provides annually. Sanetti said he was optimistic in January after attending a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, whose senior policy adviser approached Sanetti and said the administration liked the program. But there was no follow-up, he said.

The foundation's gun lock program is still being embraced by law enforcement and municipal leaders throughout the country who've made requests for more gun locks. And while it has gotten some public support in Connecticut since Sandy Hook, including at a news conference with Bridgeport's Democratic Mayor Bill Finch, an active member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, some of NSSF's friends in the state have steered clear of the initiative because it's sponsored by the gun industry.

"It's a raw nerve here," Sanetti said. "I understand that."

Comments

Restless1

They do a lot of good.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

"With a handful of the nearly 50 foundation employees confronted by angry neighbors and protesters appearing outside the foundation's headquarters,..."

= = = = = = = = = =

Clearly because the crops weren't good this year there is a witch in the village. Since Goody Greene is known to use exotic herbs that Indian Joe had in her cooking she is clearly consorting with those pagan devils and is guilty of practicing witchcraft. It's because of her our village suffers! Who needs any more evidence? Let's sack Goody Greene's house and put her to trial! If she dies and was innocent then her spirit will go to Heaven. If she was a witch then she'll have been exorcised from the community and cast down with her demonic consortium.

PyrkinsPyrate

With you witchcraft isn't just something to joke about, your livelihood depends on selling cards and kits for children to be introduced to demonology and witchcraft.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Haha, indeed!

I'm a regular paranormal indoctrination location! I don't let the kids go until they've been able to recite the ancient incantations to Nyarlathotep, or, at least mastered their patronus charm. If you can't win the hearts and minds normally, you can at least enthrall them with eldritch necromancy or the Force!

Unfortunately my sad devotion to that ancient Jedi religion has not helped me conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given me enough clairvoyance to find the rebels' hidden fortress...

SamAdams

Ha. I've always said that people who think Harry Potter (or certain role-playing games) lead kids into witchcraft and devil worship

1. Know little if anything about Harry Potter;

2. Know even less about REAL witches (followers of the Wiccan religion); and

3. Are about 300 years behind the times when it comes to setting silly superstitions aside. Or incredibly stupid. I'm pretty sure I've heard from both at one time or another.

As for YOU, Mr. Hero Zone: Figure out the Force, and you can certainly count on having won MY heart and mind! :-)

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Hmmm it all depends on how you feel about midi-chlorians!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

EDIT: The dreaded double-post strikes again!

Nemesis

OUTSTANDING, Hero Zone!!!!! This is one of the times I wish I could come up with the things you do.

Pyrate, sounds like you would have been right at home in Salem, lashing out at things about which you know nothing.

coasterfan

Guns exist for one purpose: to kill another living thing. Why not join a group whose main focus is something positive? A volleyball or basketball league at the local rec center. Community theatre or community band. A local running club or literary/book club. Church group, online video game club, Fantasy Football league or local political action group.

I can make a list of more worthwhile, positive alternatives that would be almost as long as the list of excuses made by the NRA as to why there isn't a problem in America with guns today.

Nemesis

And thus the fascism of the leftist comes to the fore.

Translation: Your interests are thoughtcrime and double-plus ungood. You are commanded to change them.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Shhh! You want steamers raining down on us?! Don't undermine the Ministry of Truth. We are fighting against whoever they say we are at the moment and that's that. You aren't happy in your Victory Mansion? Visit the Ministry of Love or something but don't get us pinched!

Erie County Resident

The wheels on the coaster go round and round, round and round.
The wheels on the coaster go round and round spewing his liberal crap!!!

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

coasterfan

LOL. That may be the worst poem ever written. Don't give up your day job. Yes, shame on me, for wishing that people won't get shot. What a ridiculous point of view, right?

Nemesis

That's not what you wished for - you commented on the sort of groups they might join and what interests you approved of them holding.

Trigger from Erie

Tell that to all of the competitive trap and skeet shooters who have no interest in hunting, you knucklehead. Sport shooting happens to be one of the most popular and safest sports in America.

Nemesis

Don't confuse him with the facts. He's learned his sound bites and when to recite them like a good subject.

coasterfan

One of the most popular sports? I'm wondering how I've made it to 56 years without meeting anyone who skeet shoots. Did I somehow miss Skeet Shooting Channel on my DirecTV?

See, it's like this: There may be reasonable and well-educated gun owners out there , but they sure don't get involved with the discussion, do they? It's always the loudmouth boors who are the voice for gun ownership. My view of gun owners is reinforced by what we all see in the news. The most recent was the redneck in Gibsonburg who shot at a family for (gasp!) picking up an empty can out by his mailbox.

Nemesis

Of course you've never met anyone who shoots skeet. You run around spouting how anyone who even looks at a gun is evil. You surround yourself with a little bubble of far-left extremists. Or maybe you don't know who shoots trap and skeet because those who do know better than to mention it to you.

Donegan

"My view of gun owners is reinforced by what we all see in the news."
____________________________________________________________________
In other words another sheep too lazy to do any research and just rehashes rhetoric from a channel that wants to push a agenda. That may be a reason no one takes you seriously, You cannot think for yourself or put in any mental effort to look into things.

Food For Thought

What do you mean your view of gun owners is confirmed by the news? What stories have you been looking at exactly, because I would like to really get into your mind. Please remember that anyone with a felony is not a responsible/legal gun owner. Someone with a crime of domestic violence is not a responsible/legal gun owner. Someone who uses a gun while intoxicated is not a responsible/legal gun owner. Someone who stole the weapon they used to commit a crime is in no way a gun owner. So do regale me if you will with all the stories that you see that support your view of us evil gun owners. Can you believe that some of us, gasp, are very active in civic & religious organizations? I was legally armed around my brother in law for over 3 years before the topic came up, maybe you have met gun owners you just don't know it... But wait, that would get in the way of your prejudices and ignorance, nope can't have that.

Licorice Schtick

Nah, not buying it, Trigger. Recreational shooting is a blast (pun intended), but it's very much about getting better at using the weapons for lethal purposes for which they were originally designed, and that's the motivation of at least some of the participants. Pistol competition uses targets that are stylized human silhouettes. And claiming trap and skeet isn't about killing is pretty silly - the targets are called clay pigeons.

Nemesis

So you're a vegan who never wears leather, right? If not, you're two-faced. Your comment is like saying all recreational boaters are about killing because the leading use of recreational boats is for fishing.

arnmcrmn

Wrong coaster. I have 3 guns specific toward trap, skeet and sporting clays. Wrong again pal.

Mommy25

And for anyone smart enough to connect the dots ......

SamAdams

Surprise, surprise.

RATIONAL reaction to a mass murder such as Newtown: That's HORRIBLE! What can we do to ensure mental illness is better diagnosed and treated, and/or how can we make our schools safer?

GUN-GRABBER reaction to a mass murder such as Newtown: THE GUN DID IT! THE GUN DID IT! THE GUN DID IT!

Nemesis

Guns are as responsible for violence as spoons are for obesity.

Licorice Schtick

Oh, cut it out. Ridiculous arguments like that destroy the credibility of REASONABLE defenders of the second amendment.

"More guns" is a stupid response to too much gun violence. Guns make violence more lethal. The can also keep us free. The militia clause was a compromise; The truth is, we were given right to keep and bear arms at least in part so that ordinary citizens could, presumably as a last resort, defend themselves against tyranny with lethal force or the threat thereof.

Ask yourself, who can tyrannize, and who does?

Nemesis

Who? Our dear leaders who have turned this country into something the Founders wouldn't recognize.

coasterfan

So. If we all agree that they problem isn't guns, but rather people who are mentally ill, why do many gun owners and the NRA fight against background checks for ALL gun purchases?

That's ok, you don't have to answer that. We know there is absolutely no answer you could give that be an adequate, reasonable response.

Licorice Schtick

When did we all agree to THAT?!!

goofus

I'll answer that we fight against background checks like liberals fight against showing an I.D. to vote!!!!!

Nemesis

Well, goofus has a good point, but the simple reason is that the background check system can be used to create a de facto registry.

There's a simple solution that most gun owners would support. Open up the instant check system so anyone, not just FFL holders, can use it. Anyone can go to a website or call a toll-free number, provide the information, and get a go or no go response as to whether a buyer is under disability, and a confirmation number to keep as proof that they ran the check. Then pass a law that indemnifies a seller from liability for subsequent actions of the buyer, provided the seller ran the background check and it came back clean. It's voluntary, but with a strong incentive. The key is, anyone, anytime, can run a background check on anyone else, whether they're selling them a gun or not, so you could run one on your aunt in the nursing home, your kids kindergarten teacher, or the anti-gun crusader next door. It enables data obfuscation such that it could never be used as an effective registry, so there's no reason for gun owners to object, and it gets anyone who would comply with a mandatory check to run a check voluntarily.

Of course you won't like it because it's not authoritarian enough for you - or else because you actually DO want it to become a backdoor registry scheme.

Nemesis

The other problem is how do you define mentally ill and who gets to set the definition? Throughout the history of psychology, the definition of mental illness has more often than not been a matter of how inconvenient one's actions were to those in power. For an example that should hit close to home for a leftist like you, homosexuality was defined as a mental illness for most of the 20th century.

SamAdams

You're right. And there are other considerations as well.

First, even a relatively mild and temporary depression is technically a "mental illness." But with a diagnosis of "depression" on your record, is that or is that NOT defined as a "disability?"

Secondly, MOST mental illnesses aren't deadly to the person suffering from them OR to the people surrounding them. So how do we justify tapping into the most private of medical information for licensed dealers or, as one other suggested, for pretty much everybody?

Thirdly (and perhaps most importantly), it's not those who've been diagnosed AND TREATED that are usually the problem. It's the few suffering from truly serious illnesses who are diagnosed and UNtreated (or worse, those who are never diagnosed at all).

And Nemesis, to further address your point concerning defining mental illness, it's VERY interesting to note that Barack Obama himself exhibits the classic symptoms of something called "narcissistic personality disorder" (as well as many of the symptoms that tag a sociopath). These are not NECESSARILY dangerous, but they CAN be. What do we do about someone like that in a position like that, hmmm?

Nor'easter

If you research the causes of the mass shootings, you will find these are the indirect result of the HIPPA law that prohibits Mental Health professionals from releasing information without the written permission of the patient. These events started happening after HIPPA was passed and will continue until this "government solution" is properly revised.

arnmcrmn

Nemesis, thats a good idea in regards to selling guns (person to person) and I think most would go for that. You could even throw in a $5.00 charge per check or call so the government doesn't feel left out. Print out a certificate, transfer all the info….etc. HOWEVER, it still will not stop all sales.

Nemesis

The idea is that you could spend your Saturday afternoon calling in background checks on all your neighbors who DON'T own guns, and thus obfuscate the data so it's useless as a gun owner registry. Charging a fee makes that cost prohibitive and takes away the feature that gets gun rights advocates to support it.