Rochelle Walensky, the director of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is putting out the call for increased studies into gun-related issues.
Dr. Walensky told CNN the issue of criminal misuse of firearms is a “serious public health threat” adding, “something has to be done about this.”
Dr. Walensky’s said she even wants to include gun owners. So far, Dr. Walensky hasn’t contacted NSSF.
If she does, we have a few ideas that work to reduce the criminal acquisition and misuse of firearms, firearm suicides and firearm safety called Real Solutions. Safer Communities®.
— Larry Keane (@lkeane) August 31, 2021
Those are programs with proven results. Within Real Solutions is the firearm industry’s FixNICS® campaign, that changed laws in 16 states and in Congress to ensure all disqualifying adjudicated mental health and criminal records are submitted to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Started in 2013 when there were just 1.7 million records submitted, FixNICS changed the laws in those 16 states. Today, there are over 6.14 million submitted disqualifying adjudicated mental health records, a 270 percent increase.
The firearm industry’s Project ChildSafe® forged partnerships with 15,000 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states and five U.S. territories to distribute over 40 million free firearm safety kits, including locking devices.
The firearm industry partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for the “Don’t Lie for the Other GuyTM” campaign to prevent illegal straw purchases.
This two-decade old outreach reminds the public that purchasing a firearm for someone who can’t, or doesn’t want to be associated with the sale, is a federal crime that carries a punishment of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
Another ATF-partner program, Operation Secure Store®, voluntarily increases security at firearm retailers to deter and prevent thefts and burglaries.
The ATF showed this program works, with 61 percent drop in instances of thefts and burglaries in the first six months of 2021 compared to 2020 and 74 percent drop in the number of stolen firearms.
The firearm industry also partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to provide information to firearm retailers and ranges to urge “brave conversations” to prevent suicides by firearm. This partnership was extended to include the Department of Veterans Affairs to stem and reverse the instances of suicides.
These are programs proven to reduce the criminal and negligent misuse of firearms. NSSF has stated previously, and stands by the commitment to sit at the table to discuss ways to reduce criminal access to firearms and improve firearm safety in the home while respecting the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms.
The CDC has studied firearm issues for years. It has a program that tracks firearm-related injuries, called Web-based Injury Statistics Query Reporting System (WISQARS). It recently showed that, while always tragic, deaths of children under four involving a firearm were less than one percent.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2020.“Causes of Injury-Related Death.”Accessed using the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS).WISQARS Data Visualization (https://t.co/pz60Cw5AsJ). grouped by mechanism for children and teens ages 1-19.
— RobinJRance (@RobinJRance) September 9, 2021
The Dickey Amendment doesn’t halt gun-related-related CDC studies. Congress passed the Dickey Amendment, and recently reaffirmed it, to restrict the CDC from advocating for gun control, which was occurring.
The CDC never stopped studies, including examinations of guns and suicide, noise and lead exposure at ranges, firearm violence prevention in Wilmington, Del., and a report on firearms homicides and suicides in metropolitan areas. That doesn’t include studies by the FBI, Department of Justice and Congressional studies.
President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order in 2013 directing $10 million in “gun violence” research.
The CDC announced research grants in 2020 “to Prevent Firearm-Related Violence and Injuries.” The CDC has an entire section of their website dedicated to “Firearm Violence Prevention” and another section dedicated to “Funded Research.”
The fact of the matter is criminal misuse of firearms is a concern; one that law enforcement and the courts must address. The insistence of treating criminal activity as a sort of pathogen doesn’t properly address the issue.
The mere presence of a firearm doesn’t make law-abiding citizens criminals-in-waiting. Additionally, education efforts, like those championed by the firearm industry, are proven to reduce negligent firearm misuse.
“Let’s agree, we don’t want people to die. Let’s just agree there. What can we do to stop people from dying, and what can we do to stop people from being injured,” Dr. Walensky told CNN.
President Trump is working to reduce gun violence while protecting Americans' #SecondAmendment rights.
He signed into law the Fix NICS Act last year, strengthening the existing federal firearms background check system.#DemDebate
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) October 16, 2019
NSSF is just as frustrated that real firearm safety measures have become a political football, but that’s not always the case.
The firearm industry worked with Congress to pass the FIX NICS Act. This was legislation modeled on NSSF’s FixNICS campaign. This law compelled federal agencies and incentivized states to submit all disqualifying background information to the FBI.
The federal legislation had 78 Senate co-sponsors, a clear indication that true firearm safety is where both sides can agree. It was passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote and signed into law by President Donald Trump. The Department of Justice applauded the law for making significant strides in proving background checks.
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NSSF: U.S. facing “most serious threat to hunting in decades” by radical anti-hunting group
August 24, 2021
Two anti-hunting groups are making a move to kill hunting. They’re looking to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Department of the Interior (DOI) to publish a rule that would eliminate transporting harvested wild animals and most birds across state lines.
It is the most serious threat to hunting in the United States since Dan Ashe, former USFWS director, attempted to ban the use of traditional ammunition on federal lands. That attempt was rolled back by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
This attempt must be turned back by every hunter in America.
The Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council are co-opting COVID-19 fears to push their radical anti-hunting agenda in a petition to the USFWS and DOI.
They are ignoring reports of China’s potential complicity on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they are faulting hunters as potential pathogen pathways and attempting to end hunting even in neighboring states.
The petition claims, “Pandemics caused by zoonoses – infectious diseases that jump from animals to people – are entirely preventable.”
The mechanisms they would impose include a complete ban on interstate transport of not just live animals, but also the meat, hide, horns, antlers and skulls of harvested animals. The petition doesn’t discriminate between a ban on species harvested internationally.
It also targets hunters who take animals in other states and transport them home, even if they’ve been professionally prepared by a butcher or taxidermist to safeguard against the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.
The groups’ petition would amend the Lacey Act regulations to prohibit the importation, transportation or acquisition of wild animals. Since the USFWS regulates interstate transportation and importation of wild animals, that’s a death knell to hunting in the United States.
That means the trophy Texas buck wouldn’t be able to be brought home to Virginia, or South Dakota pheasants to South Carolina. A lifetime dream hunt of a Rocky Mountain elk would never fill a Florida freezer and an Alaska bear rug would never be able to come home to Oklahoma.
Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
The two anti-hunting groups – Center for Biological Diversity and Natural Resources Defense Council – are known extremist anti-hunting groups. Center for Biological Diversity has made suing the government a cottage industry.
They host a page on their website boasting of suing the Trump administration 266 times.
They attacked hunting by suing the Environmental Protection Agency for denying a previous petition to ban traditional ammunition.
A federal judge dismissed that suit. More recently, Center for Biological Diversity appealed a U.S. District Court’s decision to dismiss their allegation that the U.S. Forest Service allowing hunters to use traditional ammunition in Arizona’s Kaibob National Forest is a violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
The group alleges that hunters shooting traditional ammunition is the same as industrial dumping of lead waste. The case was dismissed three times but is being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for the third time.
Natural Resources Defense Council has been party to many of the same lawsuits as Center for Biological Diversity. They found a cash cow in suing the federal government and agreeing to settle, particularly with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
They use tactics, including this one with the USFWS and DOI, to petition for a rule change and then sue the agencies when they believe the federal agency is taking too long. Natural Resources Defense Council sued the USFWS when wolves were delisted from the Endangered and Threatened Species Lists.
They were also party to the legal actions to end delisting the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
The actions by these two groups to limit the ability for hunters to move legally harvested wildlife across state lines is a direct threat over 15 million people who buy hunting licenses in America each year.
That’s particularly concerning as the COVID-19 pandemic saw an unexpected surge in hunting license sales and hunters enrolling in safety courses to obtain licenses. One report showed hunting license sales were up by five percent overall, with a growth of 15 percent of women purchasing hunting licenses. New hunters showed a 26 percent increase in 2020.
These new hunters would be frozen out from experiencing different hunting traditions in other regions of America. They would be shuttered from hunting wild animals that exist in states other than their home state.
Hunting is Conservation
What’s more is these two groups are attempting to impose legislation through regulation. By petitioning the USFWS and DOI to promulgate rules to end the ability for hunters to fill their coolers in another state and bring home the meat, hides, antlers and horns, they’re attempting to bypass the legislative process.
They’re abusing a rule-making process to impose a radical anti-hunting agenda without lawmaker input. That’s concerning since 23 states enacted laws or have it written into their state constitution of an individual’s right to hunt and fish.
It’s not just hunting and hunters that would be harmed by this petition. The wildlife these groups claim to protect would be devastated by the potential harmful impacts. The North American Wildlife Model is predicated on hunting as a management tool and is responsible for the rebound and abundant wildlife all Americans enjoy.
Further, wildlife belongs to the public, not special interest groups. This is what makes it possible for all Americans to enjoy the outdoors for recreation, including hunting. It’s not a benefit of wealth or privilege.
The firearm industry has played a pivotal role in this success. Excise taxes collected from firearm and ammunition manufacturers are responsible for the recovery of America’s wildlife through the Pittman-Robertson Act, which has contributed over $14.1 billion since its inception in 1937.
The petition to halt hunting in its tracks is beyond irresponsible. It is dangerous and potentially harmful to America’s wild scenes.
This is a moment not just for USFWS and DOI to reject political special interests, but for every hunter, outdoorsman and woman to recognize how extremist organizations are weaponizing government bureaucracies against them.
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