National Shooting Sports Foundation

National Shooting Sports Foundation
Abbreviation NSSF
Motto To promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports
Formation 1961
Type Industry trade group, and lobbying
Legal status Foundation
Headquarters Newtown, Connecticut

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is an American national trade association for the firearms industry that is based in Newtown, Connecticut. Formed in 1961, the organization has more than 8,000 members:[1] firearms manufacturers, distributors, retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's clubs and media.[2][3]

The NSSF mission is "To promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports". In addition to promoting gun ownership[4] and the shooting sports, the NSSF helps write safety and instruction standards.[5] The NSSF sponsors the annual Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, the (SHOT Show).[3] The NSSF has advocated specific positions on gun rights, including arguing against limits on high capacity magazines and the broad use of the term "assault weapon".[5] It has also supported legislation allowing concealed carry and has offered proposals to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating chemicals in ammunition as well as other sports such as as fishing where lead is routinely used for its density.[4]

"SHOT Business" is the publication of the NSSF.[6]


Steve Sanetti, the president since 2008, is a former Army captain and former president of Sturm, Ruger & Co. where he "helped direct 'the successful coordinated response to municipal lawsuits that threatened the firearms industry in the late 1990s,' according to a 2008 press release".[7]

Doug Painter, a former NSSF president, was featured in a video released by the group in 2009.[7] According to the Sunlight Foundation, the NSSF spent $1.7 million on lobbying efforts from 1998 to 2012.[8] The NSSF launched its voter education website Gunvote in 2012.[9]


The largest gun show in the United States is the annual SHOT Show, sponsored by the NSSF. It attracted over 60,000 attendees to its 630,000 square feet of exhibition space in Las Vegas. It is among the top 25 trade shows in the country.[1]

Industry and NSSF history

The state of Connecticut has a long history in the manufacture of guns, going back to Eli Whitney and Samuel Colt. Since 2000, as the national interest in hunting has declined according to one report, gun manufacturers have increasingly relied on the sale of high-powered semi-automatic rifles. In that context, NSSF has concentrated on marketing semi-automatic rifles.[7]

Between 2000 and 2003 the Federal Trade Commission conducted an anti-trust investigation of gun industry players including the NSSF. It was alleged that they were boycotting Smith & Wesson due to that company's agreement with the Clinton administration to require background checks on purchasers and provide gun locks. The probe was suspended in 2003 by the Bush administration, with the NSSF's general counsel claiming it had been politically motivated.[10]

The NSSF alleged in a September 2008 letter that Barack Obama's presidential campaign had unlawfully obtained an NSSF proprietary name and address list of media attendees of that year's Shot Show, and that the campaign had then used the list to e-mail a press release concerning National Hunting and Fishing Day.[11][12]

In response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that occurred on December 14, 2012, three miles from the organization's headquarters, the NSSF expressed its sympathies on its website and declined to immediately comment out of respect for those affected.[13] The following month, Sanetti noted that his employees were personally affected by the Newtown massacre,[14] saying in a speech at the 2013 SHOT Show: "Who among us has not been moved by that unspeakable tragedy that was inflicted by a deranged man upon the children of Newtown, Conn., our very home as the NSSF?"[15]

NSSF and Shooting Range Development

Within the firearms industry the National Shooting Sports Foundation promotes the development of state-of-the-art target shooting facilities by providing leadership in information, communication and partnerships between ranges, industry and community.[16] To meet the National Shooting Sports Foundation's criteria of a Five Star facility, a range must demonstrate excellence in all aspects of management and operations. Ranges are rated on appearance, management, customer service, amenities, customer development and community relations. The first range to receive this distinction was H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,[17] there are currently 33 ranges with the distinction of a Five Star facility.[18]


The NSSF supported the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014 (S. 2363; 113th Congress). The NSSF thanked Senator Thad Cochran for co-sponsoring the bill, saying that "Senator Cochran's advocacy will help in the fight to promote, preserve, and protect our cherished outdoor heritage and defend against the radical anti-hunting activists determined to derail this important legislation."[19]

See also


  1. 1 2 Valentine, Matt (Sep 12, 2013). "The Gun Lobbying Group You Don't Hear About". The Atlantic. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  2. Firearms Industry's Trade Association | About NSSF,, Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  3. 1 2 The History of The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF),, Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  4. 1 2 DePillis, Lydia. The Second Most Powerful Gun Lobby Is in Newtown, Connecticut, The New Republic, December 14, 2012, retrieved, December 20, 2012.
  5. 1 2 Rawlings, Nate. In the Shadow of Sandy Hook, a Powerful Pro-Gun Organization Keeps Silent, Time, December 15, 2012. Retrieved, December 20, 2012.
  7. 1 2 3 Wilkie, Christina and Saki Knafo, "National Shooting Sports Foundation, Newtown Gun Lobby, Keeps Military-Style Guns Legal", 12/22/2012. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  8. Gun Control and Gun Rights: Legislation, Policy and Influence, Sunlight Foundation, Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  9. Piccione, Mike (5 March 2012). "NSSF Launches Voter Education Website and #gunvote". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 1 November 2016. With so many Americans having become first-time gun owners in recent years, NSSF says voter education efforts are particularly important in the 2012 election.
  10. "US regulators call off antitrust probe of gun industry", TerraNet, August 28, 2003. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  11. "Obama Campaign Unlawfully Misuses Proprietary Firearms Industry Media List",, October 8, 2008, Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  12. Folco, Mark. "OPEN SEASON: Gun owners have a clear-cut choice", South Coast Today, October 19, 2008, Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  13. McShane, Larry. Gun lobby thrives just 3 miles from Sandy Hook school where shooter killed 26, New York Daily News, December 15, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  14. Knafo, Saki (15 January 2013). "National Shooting Sports Foundation Breaks Silence On Gun Control, Newtown Shooting". Huffington Post. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  15. Daly, Michael (24 January 2013). "National Shooting Sports Foundation Fights Gun Control From Newtown". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 1 November 2016. Minutes from the scene of the Sandy Hook massacre, a leading gun-industry trade association is rallying against those 'seeking to destroy the Second Amendment.'
  17. H&H Shooting Sports Complex
  19. "Firearms Industry Thanks U.S. Sen. Cochran for Co-Sponsoring Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act". Sacramento Bee. PRNewswire. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
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