Memphis Officials Partner with Gun Lobby

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NATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTS FOUNDATION/FACEBOOK
  • National Shooting Sports Foundation/Facebook

Memphis officials teamed up Tuesday with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the official lobby group for gun manufacturers, retailers, and more.

Officials with the city of Memphis, Memphis Police Department (MPD), U.S. Attorneys Office, Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Nashville Field Division (ATF), stood shoulder to shoulder Tuesday with the group, which represents more than 8,000 firearms manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, shooting ranges and more.

NSSF and the local groups met at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid to kick off the national “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” campaign, an effort to prevent legal gun customers from buying guns for those who can’t legally have them.

”As evidenced today, the firearms industry is proud of its longstanding cooperative relationship with the ATF and the entire law enforcement community by assisting them in their efforts to combat the criminal acquisition and misuse of firearms,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.

Memphis was chosen for this special campaign by ATF, reads the statement from NSSF. It will remind the public in the Memphis area that stiff penalties — up to 10 years in jail or up to $250,000 in fines — are in place for individuals convicted of such purchases.



The “Don’t Lie” campaign is fully funded by the firearms industry, according to the NSSF.

A statement from a city spokeswoman said the city partnered with the ATF.



"The city partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a law enforcement agency on this project," said Arlenia Cole in a statement. "ATF’s mission serves to protect communities from the illegal use and trafficking of firearms. The ATF agency also supports the call to action for gun safety practices needed to keep our children and our communities safer."

When asked if city officials knew the ATF had partnered with the NSSF on the project, Cole would not say, specifically. She only reiterated that "the city agreed to partner with ATF on this one community project to support safer communities."

NATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTS FOUNDATION/FACEBOOK
  • National Shooting Sports Foundation/Facebook
What You Should Know About NSSF

After a 2013 editorial in the Houston Chronicle criticized the National Rifle Association (NRA) for making “sure the corporations that make guns and ammunition continue to turn huge profits,” the NSSF took offense.

The NSSF — not the NRA — is the group responsible for making sure the industry made huge profits, according to a statement at the time from Keane, who spoke in Memphis Tuesday. The statement was headlined, “An Intended Insult to NRA, But A Mission Statement for NSSF.”

Here’s a key statement:

“Of course, the NRA is not, nor has it ever been, the representative body of the firearms industry. The NRA is an organization of individual members advocating on their behalf. And while this paper and many others apparently consider the insinuation to be some kind of insult, NSSF proudly claims the role as the true representative of the firearms industry.

NSSF is the industry’s voice – representing more than 8,000 manufacturers, wholesalers, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, and more. NSSF keeps close tabs on the legislative and regulatory issues affecting the industry and goes to bat every day to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports industry.”

The NSSF issued a statement more than a week after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 students and faculty and injured 17 others.

"The senseless loss of life that occurred on February 14 in Parkland, Florida is unimaginable and heartbreaking," reads the statement. "Members of the firearms industry share the goal of all Americans in wanting to see violence in our society reduced and our communities and children made safer."

Just a few days after that statement, however, Keane — the group's VP and general counsel — was back with this retort to the gun control conversation happening across America:
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In that piece, Keane called the Parkland shooting a "tragedy" but lit directly into an argument against "proposals that would raise the age requirement to purchase an AR-15, or Modern Sporting Rifle, to 21 from 18."

In that defense of gun rights, Keane said that not allowing 18-year-olds to own handguns is a “denial of rights.”
“Here’s why it matters,” Keane said. “Data clearly show that violence is often committed by young men involved in gang activity, with illegal handguns as the firearms of choice. This is important. Legal gun ownership isn’t the issue. It’s criminals who flaunt the law to prey upon those who obey it.“

A call for a statement from city officials about the partnership with the NSSF was not immediately returned.

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