Industry News: SAR V17N4

By Robert M. Hausman

Reed Exhibitions Out as SHOT Show Manager

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the largest trade association for the firearms industry, has announced that it has reached an agreement with Reed Exhibitions to terminate the agreement the parties had for the management of the SHOT Show. Accordingly, effective immediately, Reed Exhibitions will no longer be manager and producer of the SHOT Show.

Reed Exhibitions provided service to NSSF and the customers of the SHOT Show for more than three decades, however, the company's decision to restrict the sale of certain types of firearms (particularly AR-15 derivatives) this year at the large Pennsylvania consumer hunting and fishing show – an event unrelated to NSSF and the SHOT Show – was in conflict with NSSF's mission to serve the shooting sports industry. This Reed decision resulted in many industry firms cancelling their participation at the Pennsylvania expo and ultimately caused the event to be cancelled. As a result, both organizations (NSSF & Reed) decided it was in the best interest of the SHOT Show to end their relationship.

Some SHOT Show exhibitors were considering their non-participation at the 2014 SHOT Show if Reed continued on as its manager.

Reed’s decision to ban AR-15 type rifles from the Pennsylvania show was made during the time when the firearms industry was under severe stress and in danger of faltering from the attacks by members of Congress, led by Obama/Biden, who were predicting that an anti-gun “tidal wave” would sweep the firearms industry away.

The SHOT Show – the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show – is owned and sponsored by NSSF. It is the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries. The 2014 SHOT Show will be held Jan. 14-17 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

New SHOT Show Management Company Chosen by NSSF

After what has been described as an extensive national search involving the trade show industry's top management companies, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has selected ConvExx as its new SHOT Show management partner.

ConvExx replaces longtime NSSF partner Reed Exhibitions, which became uncomfortable with managing the SHOT Show due to its extensive displays of “black rifles.”

Based in Las Vegas, ConvExx is privately held and has produced more than 200 shows and events, working with more than a million exhibitors and attendees.

ConvExx produces the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, which at nearly 1 million net-square-feet and 135,000-attendees is ranked as the fourth largest trade show in America by Trade Show Executive magazine (SHOT Show is ranked 16th).

"We're excited to have ConvExx on board as our new management partner," said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "ConvExx offers a unique combination of extensive large-show and Las Vegas experience, which will serve our exhibitors and attendees well."

"We're thrilled to be selected to help NSSF manage the SHOT Show," said ConvExx Chairman Chuck Schwartz. "The SHOT Show is one of the premier trade show events, and we are proud to be associated with NSSF and the shooting sports industry."

Sturm, Ruger to Open Third Factory

Sturm, Ruger & Co. has announced that it plans to open its third manufacturing plant, a 220,000-square-foot facility in Mayodan, North Carolina.

This will be the company’s first major expansion in over 25-years. It is expected to be finalized in late-summer. The company currently employs over 2,000 people in its two plants in Newport, New Hampshire and Prescott, Arizona.

NSSF Files Suit Against Connecticut’s New Gun Law

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, has filed suit in federal court for the District of Connecticut alleging that Governor Dannel Malloy and the leadership of the Connecticut General Assembly misused the so-called "emergency certification" exception to circumvent the safeguards of the normal legislative process and in violation of Connecticut statutory law in order to pass Senate Bill 1160, a package of strict gun control regulations.

The suit further alleges that enactment of the new law violates fundamental due process rights guaranteed by both the Connecticut and United States Constitutions. NSSF is asking the court to declare the law invalid and issue an injunction prohibiting its enforcement. "A 139-page bill was assembled behind closed doors, bypassing both the public hearing and committee processes, and quickly sent to floor votes on the same day in both the House and Senate where legislators did not have adequate time to even read the bill.

“The governor then signed the package into law the next day. All of this is in violation of guarantees citizens are supposed to have under Connecticut State Statutes and protections in our State and U.S. Constitutions for which our forefathers fought," said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel, NSSF.

"Our suit focuses on this abuse of process that has resulted in enacted law that does nothing to improve public safety, while resulting in adverse effects on law-abiding citizens, manufacturers, retailers and sportsmen's organizations," said Keane.

Non-Licensed Exports to Canada Limit Now $500

The State Department Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) has revised sections 123.16 and 123.17 of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to increase the dollar limit of exports of certain firearms, and firearm parts, components, accessories and attachments to Canada without a license from $100 to $500 (wholesale). This has been a F.A.I.R. Trade Group effort that has been an undertaking of several years.

These amendments implement the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, which restricts DDTC from requiring an export license:

(1) for certain firearms and firearm components for end-use by the Canadian Government when the total transaction value does not exceed $500 wholesale; and (2) for certain firearms components for end-use in Canada when the total transaction value does not exceed $500 wholesale.

FAIR has been advocating this issue on behalf of industry for quite some time. They thought they had attained victory back in 2005 when the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the appropriations legislation, but it had to continue to work with DDTC to ensure they implemented the legislation.

Following are excerpted portions from the Federal Register Notice. Please review this revision carefully, as the firearms and parts and components that qualify for the license exemption depend on the final end-user. In addition, there are several conditions that must be satisfied to use the license exemption failure to meet these requirements could subject the exporter to fines, penalties, or other enforcement action.

It is important to note that the license exemption dollar limit for all countries other than Canada remains at $100.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE 22 CFR Part 123 RIN 1400¨CAD07 [Public Notice 8371]
International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Canadian Firearms Components Exemption

AGENCY: Department of State.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The Department of State is amending the International Traffic in Arms Regulations to implement a statutory provision regarding the exemption from licensing for export to Canada of firearms components not exceeding $500 in value.

DATES: This rule is effective July 8, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Sarah J. Heidema, Acting Director, Office of Defense Trade Controls Policy, Department of State, telephone (202) 663-2792, email DDTCResponseTeam@state.gov ATTN: Part 123, Canadian Firearms Components Exemption.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Department of State is amending the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to implement section 520 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2012 (Pub. L. 112¨C55), which applies to fiscal year 2012 appropriations, as carried forward for fiscal year 2013 by the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act 2013 (Pub. L. 113-6). The Department has the authority to regulate the export control program pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act, 22 U.S.C. 2778. Pursuant to section 520, the Department cannot require a license for the export of certain firearms and firearms components for end-use by the Canadian government with a total transaction value not exceeding $500 wholesale, and cannot require a license for the export of certain firearms components for end-use in Canada with a total transaction value not exceeding $500 wholesale. ITAR 123.17 is revised accordingly. In addition, ITAR 123.16(b)(6) is amended to remove the words "for personal use," as the firearms exemption at ITAR 123.17 includes use of the exemption for an end-use other than personal use. This rule implements a statutory mandate, and concerns a foreign affairs function of the United States. Therefore, the Department is publishing this as a final rule, and is not soliciting comments.

Text of New Rule on Exempt Canadian Exports

3. Section 123.17 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
123.17 Exports of firearms, ammunition, and personal protective gear.

(a) Port Directors of U.S. Customs and Border Protection shall permit the export without a license of:

•(1) Parts and components for USML Category I(a) firearms, except barrels, cylinders, receivers (frames), or complete breech mechanisms, when the total value does not exceed $100 wholesale in any transaction, except to any of the countries or entities as provided in 126.1 of this subchapter;

•(2) Parts, components, accessories, or attachments for USML Category I firearms, except barrels, cylinders, receivers (frames), complete breech mechanisms, or fully automatic firearms and parts and components for such firearms, when:

i. The total value does not exceed $500 wholesale in any transaction;

ii. The export is to Canada for endues in Canada or return to the United States, or temporary import into the United States of Canadian-origin items and return to Canada for a Canadian citizen; and

iii. The exporter makes a declaration via the Automated Export System, pursuant to 123.22(a) of this subchapter, and the exporter is eligible to export under this exemption or

•(3) Parts, components, accessories, or attachments for USML Category I firearms, including fully automatic firearms and parts and components for such firearms, when:

i. The total value does not exceed $500 wholesale in any transaction; pursuant to 120.1(c) of this subchapter; or

ii. The export is to Canada for endues by the Canadian Federal Government, a Canadian Provincial Government, or a Canadian Municipal Government; and

iii. The exporter makes a declaration via the Automated Export System, pursuant to 123.22(a) of this subchapter, and the exporter is eligible to export under this exemption, pursuant to 120.1(c) of this subchapter.

ATF Head Confirms Straw Buyers Rarely Prosecuted

President Obama’s choice to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives told a Senate panel last month that, the arrest of “straw buyers” was a top Justice Department priority but the department rarely prosecutes cases “due to limited resources.”

The testimony from U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones came during a rancorous confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Republicans – led by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa – questioned Jones’ credentials, his leadership of the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota, and his role and involvement in the Fast and Furious gunrunning probe that let more than 2,000 weapons be “walked” across the U.S.-Mexico border to drug smugglers.

Jones acknowledged in questioning by Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, that of 48,321 cases involving straw buyers, the Justice Dept. prosecuted only 44 of them – saying that “hard decisions” to prosecute were made based on “limited resources.” He also acknowledged that as the U.S. attorney in Minnesota, he never prosecuted anyone accused of being a straw buyer.

“The data demonstrates that it is not a priority for the Obama administration to prosecute those who illegally try to buy firearms,” Cruz said.

Jones took over as acting director after the Fast and Furious operation was made public, although Grassley noted that he served as chairman of the advisory committee to Attorney General Eric Holder from 2009 through 2011, when the operation was in effect.

Jones has now been confirmed as director of ATF. Grassley had asked that the hearing be postponed, saying Jones was the focus of an open investigation by the Office of Special Counsel on his conduct as U.S. attorney in Minnesota.

“When there is a pending investigation, the committee obviously doesn’t have the full information about the nominee,” he said. “In this case, there are allegations of gross mismanagement and abuses of authority in Mr. Jones’ office. And there is a complaint that Mr. Jones retaliated against a whistleblower. These are serious charges, and ones that are of particular concern to me.”

On April 12, Grassley said the OSC reported two pending matters involving the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota – a prohibited personnel practice complaint and a whistleblower disclosure alleging gross mismanagement and abuses of authority. A month later, he said the OSC gave the committee an update, saying the whistleblower disclosure case had been closed but the prohibited personnel practice complaint was moving to mediation.

Grassley said employees within the U.S. attorneys’ office had written anonymously to the OSC asking for “a review of the patterns, practices, treatment, and abuse that [they] have suffered.” He said they claimed Jones “had instituted a climate of fear, had pushed employees out of the office, dismissed employees wrongly, violated the hiring practices of the EEOC, and put in place an Orwellian style of management that continues to polarize the office.”

Separately, he said, Donald Oswald, former special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Minnesota division, wrote to the committee to voice his concerns about Jones.

Magpul Joins Suit Against Colorado’s New Law

Magpul Industries has joined 54 Colorado county sheriffs in filing a federal lawsuit against the state’s recently signed gun-control bills.

But even if the lawsuit is successful, the Erie-based firearm magazine marketer is still planning to leave Colorado. “Just to clarify, we are still moving, regardless of the outcome of this legal action,” said a post on the company’s web page. “That train has left the station, and we are well into the selection and negotiation process as well as arranging many elements to be prepared to launch and already moving some production out of state.”

The lawsuit challenges two bills signed in March by Dem. Gov. John Hickenlooper: House Bill 1224, which restricts ammunition-magazine capacity to 15 rounds, and House Bill 1229, which requires background checks on all gun sales and transfers – including temporary transfers. “This isn’t good public policy. These are really awful bills,” said Weld County Sheriff John Cooke at a press conference. “They are unenforceable and encourage disrespect for the law, which puts both law enforcement and the public in greater danger.”

The Democratic state legislature approved the bills, along with a third bill requiring gun owners to pay for their own background checks, with no Republican votes.

Another manufacturer, HiViz Shooting Systems, has announced that it would move from Fort Collins to Laramie, Wyo.

NYC Taxpayers Help Sponsor Bloomberg’s Gun Control Group

The webpage of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) appears to have been purchased and hosted by City of New York, the Weekly Standard reports.

The group was co-founded by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino to “share best practices, develop innovative policies, and support legislation at the national, state, and local levels that will help law enforcement target illegal guns Mayor Bloomberg’s press secretary, Marc La Vorgna, confirmed the City of New York’s involvement with the domain’s purchase and hosting, to the Standard.

When asked whether the purchase and subsequent hosting of the domain by New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications was accidental or intentional, La Vorgna replied that the purchase had “definitely been vetted.”

La Vorgna continued, saying that, “Mayor Bloomberg’s push for changes to federal firearms law was part of the New York City agenda” and compared it to other efforts Bloomberg, as mayor, has undertaken – like the effort he and other mayors are involved in to limit the use of food stamps in purchasing sugary drinks.

The Mayors Against Illegal Guns website, according to La Vorgna, like other Bloomberg efforts to lobby the federal government, was done as part of “his capacity as mayor.”

Maggie Haberman and Steve Friess of Politico add, “At minimum, the use of a city web server and city employees underscore what critics have long derided as a blurring of the lines between government resources and Bloomberg’s own multi-billion-dollar fortune, his company, and his pet interests in his three terms as mayor."

It is unclear why Bloomberg, who has a net worth of $27 billion and has given millions of dollars in donations to Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund, would involve the City of New York in purchasing and hosting the webpage for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

The author publishes two of the small arms industry’s most widely read trade newsletters. The International Firearms Trade covers the world firearms scene, and The New Firearms Business covers the domestic market. Visit www.FirearmsGroup.com. He may be reached at: FirearmsB@aol.com.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V17N4 (December 2013)
and was posted online on October 18, 2013


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