When CNN Money did a story recently on a downturn in the firearms industry since Donald Trump was elected, a single sentence jumped out of the text to underscore why firearms owners reflexively distrust the news media.
“Assault rifles,” wrote reporter Aaron Smith, “are the military-style guns the industry calls modern sporting rifles.”
If one were to read a fairly simple information sheet found online at the National Shooting Sports Foundation website, it would reveal how wrong that description is. Indeed, anyone familiar with the modern sport/utility rifle would likely say Smith got it backwards.
A modern sporting rifle is a semi-automatic civilian version of a military-style firearm that gun prohibitionists call “assault rifles” in order to demonize them to average citizens. Here’s what the NSSF says on its fact sheet:
“What has erroneously been termed an ‘assault weapon’ is a semiautomatic firearm that fires just one bullet with each pull of the trigger (versus a fully automatic firearm — machine gun — which continues to shoot until the trigger is released). Specifically, legislation has incorrectly defined an “assault weapon” as a semi-automatic firearm that can accept a detachable magazine and has two or more of the following cosmetic features (it is these cosmetic features that distinguish the firearm from other “non-assault weapons.”):
- A folding or telescoping stock
- A pistol grip
- A bayonet mount
- A flash suppressor, or threads to attach one
- A grenade launcher
“None of these features figure into the criminal misuse of firearms, regardless of their appearance.”
As for the downturn in business since Trump won in November, that picture may not be as bleak as some would like to paint it.
According to NSSF’s weekly newsletter Bullet Points, the adjusted National Instant Check Background System (NICS) figure for April was 1,111,596 checks that can be related to firearms transactions. That was an increase of 0.04 percent over April 2016 NICS checks.
While there is little doubt that firearms sales have ebbed since Trump’s election because his Oval Office occupancy poses no threat to the Second Amendment that a Hillary Clinton presidency would have, people are still buying firearms.
During the recent National Rifle Association convention in Atlanta, CFL heard from several firearms industry insiders who suggested that instead of stocking up on guns and ammunition, the public is now able to expand their horizons a bit by enjoying shooting, perhaps taking up hunting or competition, and buying another gun and certainly more ammunition.
And, contrary to what anti-gunners have been consistently arguing, there really are lots of new gun owners out there, including women, who are getting more involved in the shooting sports.
Congress has two important measures under consideration, and gun owners who were instrumental in giving Republicans control of Capitol Hill as well as the White House want action. They are national concealed carry reciprocity and the proposed National Hearing Protection Act.
The first proposal would require states to honor concealed carry permits and licenses issued by all other states. Armed citizens traveling from state to state under this measure’s protection would still have to obey all the gun laws of the state they enter, but they at least would not be leaving their self-defense rights at home.
The other bill would make it easier for people to own silencers. These devices have become increasingly popular in recent years as indoor gun ranges have sprung up across the landscape, and outdoor ranges have seen themselves surrounded by suburban encroachment, with new neighbors not liking the noise.
Gun rights groups, including the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, have been encouraging their members to contact Congress and request action.