Firearm Industry Leaders Flock To D.C. For NSSF Congressional Fly-In

By Matt Manda

Firearm Industry Leaders Flock To D.C. For NSSF Congressional Fly-In
Firearm Industry Leaders Flock To D.C. For NSSF Congressional Fly-In

It was perfect timing for dozens of firearm industry leaders to congregate in the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., to speak with elected leaders during the 2024 NSSF Congressional Fly-In. It’s been a confluence of numerous trends – both celebrated and concerning – for the firearm industry over the past three years and Members of Congress needed to hear firsthand how the policies they are debating impact the nearly 385,000 Americans employed within the Constitutionally-protected firearm and ammunition industry, as well as the several million law-abiding Americans who lawfully purchase – and seek to purchase – firearms every year.

All told, dozens of firearm industry leaders came into town to get critical facetime with policymakers, both in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Industry leaders met with over 80 Members and Senators, as well as congressional staffers who monitor and track Second Amendment and firearm industry-related legislation.

After two jampacked days of meetings, the unanimous feeling among industry participants was that the 2024 NSSF Congressional Fly-In was a great success and had a positive impact for the firearm industry.

House Bulwark

The firearm industry has remained strong despite the Biden administration’s continued “whole-of-government” attacks on the lawful and highly-regulated firearm and ammunition industry since the president’s first days in the Oval Office. Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden declared the industry to be “the enemy” from the debate stage in 2019 and he’s made good on his promise to do all in his power to suffocate and pummel the firearm industry.

The administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy has sicced the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on federal firearms licensees (FFLs) and run many out of business for minor clerical errors that previously would simply be corrected. The baseless Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) “90-day pause” – now beyond 160 days – of highly-regulated firearm exports has impacted at least 25 percent of firearm businesses seeking to continue doing their business. The administration’s unilateral changing of law without Congressional action to redefine arm brace-equipped pistols as “short-barreled rifles” (SBRs) and thus needing to be registered has ensnared millions of law-abiding Americans. That’s just a small sampling of what President Biden has sought to do to the industry.

Fortunately, industry leaders in town for the Fly-In met with pro-Second Amendment, pro-industry Members who are taking the fight back to the Biden administration. That includes Congressman Jamie Comer (R-Ky.), Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Accountability. Chairman Comer has been a bulldog in Congressional committee hearings, holding administration members’ feet to the fire all on sorts of industry-related concerns. That includes issuing a subpoena on Feb. 15, to BIS for documents related to its unprecedented action to stop issuing new export licenses to much of the world. Chairman Comer was the special guest at the NSSF PAC reception and spoke about his appreciation for industry members who are standing with him and congressional colleagues in these important fights.

“I don’t need to tell anyone here that the Biden administration is hostile towards your industry, and just about any industry in the private sector that won’t adopt their ‘woke’ policies,” Chairman Comer told reception attendees. “Since becoming Chairman of the committee, we’ve made it a priority to hold the Biden administration accountable for their reckless policies towards the firearm industry and their hostility toward the Second Amendment. And I can promise you, we’ll continue doing it throughout the rest of this year and hopefully throughout another two years with a continued House Republican majority and along with a new Republican Senate majority. I do believe better days are ahead.”

Legislator of the Year

Chairman Comer wasn’t the only House committee chairman to stop by and greet industry leaders. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) thanked members who attended the Fly-In but also received special recognition as the NSSF 2023 Legislator of the Year award recipient.

Chairman Jordan’s staunch support of the firearm industry is well-known and miles long. Chairman Jordan’s dogged determination for accountability from agencies within the Executive Branch have reasserted Congress’s role in the balance of authority between the three co-equal branches of government and has served as a backstop against an administration intent on decimating the firearm and ammunition industry. Accepting the deserved recognition, Chairman Jordan praised industry members as well.

“It’s great to be in a room with so many people who respect the Constitution and stand up every day to defend the Second Amendment and all the other liberties we enjoy as Americans,” the chairman remarked. “Today, if you get involved in politics and defend the Second Amendment, oh my goodness there’s a good chance you’re going to get attacked. And not just attacked but really attacked. You guys know it, you live it every single day. So, thank you for doing it – it is worth the fight.”

In accepting the Legislator of the Year award, Chairman Jordan added, “This will be hanging in our office because this is special. Because it comes from an organization that respects the Constitution, which is my biggest concern. We can recover from all the BS that is happening in politics and policy right now but if they take away your First Amendment liberties, your Second Amendment liberties, your Fourth Amendment privacy rights… there’s no longer an America. That’s what’s at stake and you all understand it, so thank you.”

Bipartisan Agreement

While many in the Democrat party in Washington, D.C., are hostile toward our industry and the Second Amendment, and want to ban entire classes of commonly-owned firearms, there are still some Democrats who respect and revere the Second Amendment and the traditions it harbors. U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) is one of them. Last year, during a Committee on Natural Resources hearing, Rep. Peltola went out of her way to praise the family traditions and heritage of safe firearm education and ownership that comes when you grow up in a family that partakes in those pastimes.

“I just appreciate the opportunity to put a plug in for the many, many, many Americans who are responsible gun owners,” Congresswoman Peltola said at the time. “You look at some of the tragedies that are occurring, and those aren’t hunters, those aren’t kids that have grown up with hunting and the good values that, I think, hunting and hunting families provide.”

At the NSSF Fly-In breakfast before meetings kicked off, Congresswoman Peltola hit on many of those themes again.

Speaking to industry members participating in the Fly-In, Rep. Peltola spoke about her upbringing and how firearms played – and still play – a significant role. She discussed lessons learned about safe and responsible firearm handling and storage, the critical importance of having guns for hunting in the Alaska wild, for self-defense and for protection. In her role as a Member of Congress in the Democratic caucus, she spoke how she views it as an honor to discuss that pastime with Members who have vastly different experiences and perspectives on firearms.

“It’s been a real pleasure for me to be able to express that history and upbringing to people who haven’t grown up with firearms,” Rep. Peltola said. “I was able to share those experiences with a room of very liberal people in New York City and they were shocked by this.”

She relayed a story of how she and her late-husband were having a hard time finding ammunition to buy in the correct caliber for their firearms and she asked her husband when ammunition supplies would “return to normal.” “Probably never,” she recalled her husband telling her, “because the Democrats keep talking about banning guns and there’s a hoarding effect to that.” She added, “It was amazing explaining this to the folks in New York City.”

“I’m really proud to be one of the folks that is here to work with both parties. I’m very happy that you all are here to represent the good things about the sporting industry, the wonderful things, and I’m happy to be an ally,” Rep. Peltola finished.

Senate Allies

In addition to the many Members of the House who were present at the reception, several Senators made their support of the industry known as well. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) visited with industry members at the reception. And Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) joined industry members at the Fly-In lunch and proudly spoke of how hunting and the shooting sports are deeply embedded in Wyoming’s culture.

He criticized the Biden administration’s failed policies and unnecessary red tape that is detrimental to the industry and sportsmen and women alike, including efforts to ban traditional ammunition and standing in the way of delisting grizzly bears from Endangered Species Act regulations, despite the consensus of three prior administrations agreeing grizzly bear populations had more than fully recovered and they should be delisted.

Ending on a high note, and as the Republican co-lead of America’s Outdoor Recreation Act, Chairman Barrasso expressed confidence in the enactment of the bipartisan sportsmen’s package later this year, a collection of legislative bills which includes the NSSF-supported provision that would increase and improve outdoor recreational shooting opportunities across the nation while improving infrastructure and driving economic growth in rural communities.

All the legislative work happening in Congress to both push back against the Biden administration’s full-force attack on the industry and support industry-priority policies to safeguard the future of the firearm and ammunition industry isn’t happening in a vacuum. This March marked the 56th month in a row of more than 1 million FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verifications for the purchase of a firearm. There are millions of new lawful gun owners joining the community and they are comprising the most diverse gun-owning community ever. During the 2024 NSSF Fly-In industry leaders discussed those dynamics with dozens of Members of Congress all of whom stand ready to fight for our industry and the Second Amendment.

About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit

National Shooting Sports FoundationNational Shooting Sports Foundation

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply
Shopping cart