By John Brown
I have always looked forward to summer and despised it all at the same time. All winter long we sit inside and dream of the hot summer days. The problem is when summer crashes through the spring and it’s too hot to shoot and finding a good gun show is almost impossible. It seems as though the entire industry takes off for the summer. I think that I get spoiled with all of the spring and fall activities where there seems to be a gun show almost every weekend and outdoor shoots are frequent all over the country. Every season, with the exception of the summer, seems to offer a smorgasbord of gun related activities.
With the coming of the Fall with tons of gun shows and lots of gun related activities are the important and exciting meetings that are held between ATF and the NFATCA and F.A.I.R. Several years ago when the first Importers Conference was held I went just to see what is was all about. I enjoyed the conference and still reference the plethora of handouts I received at that conference. That conference initiated a series of conferences including the most recent Manufacturers Conference which started in 2008. Finding now that ATF is ever present in almost every event of note is refreshing. Answers to a multitude of questions are available at these events if you have the gumption to stand up and ask. It is amazing to see representatives from all levels at the Knob Creek events and the Small Arms Review events delivering a ton of information and answering just about every question you could possibly imagine someone asking. For me, the fall is the best, with a series of about four events taking place over a very short period of time. The Importers Conference in August seems to have always been the ushering away of summer and the welcoming of the season of gun events all across the country.
2010 will be especially interesting as a brand new team of ATF executive management begins to lay out its own agenda with the industry. Bringing the summer to a splendid conclusion again, was the Importers Conference coupled, for the first time, with the Manufacturers Conference at the Gaylord Convention Center at National Harbor in Maryland. This activity presents the most action packed meetings between ATF and the industry in the history of working together. This conference started on Monday August 2nd and concluded on Wednesday August the 4th. Guest speakers from across the country were invited for this event along with the new team from ATF. Combining the Importers Conference with the Manufacturers Conference proved to be a smart move. The precedent of combining the two conferences will allow attendees to travel to the Washington area once a year instead of twice and will allow many of the issues shared between the importers and the manufacturing community to be shared amongst the entire industry at the same time.
It was at this meeting where the industry started to realize just how the new executive team at ATF is shaping up. As most of you know both FAIR and the NFATCA had full agendas for this year and starting over with a new management team at ATF was going to present some interesting challenges, all of which made everyone nervous. In the last six years the NFATCA has put a lot of time and energy into the challenge of establishing a close relationship with virtually all the executive managers within the Bureau. We have all worked diligently to break down what we affectionately have called “The Berlin Wall.” Having every single management person change from the NFA Branch Chief to the Assistant Director made everyone wonder about the future. Having met all of the new players and discussed our issues has led to a renewed excitement for all of us representing the industry. I dare say that same level of enthusiasm for working together has also been shared by the management team at ATF. New players on all fronts will certainly mean new opportunities and new challenges.
If you have been unmindful to all of these changes it is very unfortunate because of the amount of work that the NFATCA and ATF have completed together. This year the NFATCA finally completed the draft on the Firearms Technology Branch Handbook and has made significant revisions to the already popular NFA Handbook. Take into consideration the other fourteen items on our agenda to work with the Bureau on in 2010; this year will be full of many accomplishments. In addition we have recently decided that we will work closely with ATF and develop a compliance training program that will be made available to the industry.
Watching, listening to, and seeing the performance of the new team at ATF doesn’t make me as nervous as much as excited. With new talent in ATF come fresh ideas and the knowledge to successfully make things happen on both sides of the fence.
If you missed the Importers and Manufacturers Conference you missed the time of your life in grabbing onto some of the best information available to the industry. The esprit de corps between ATF and the industry is alive and well. This fall will provide the industry with new faces, new ideas, and especially a new process for working the many issues that the industry and ATF are facing in the coming months. I can truly say excitement is in the air on what we all want to accomplish.
Still wondering what the NFATCA and F.A.I.R. are doing for you? Come join the NFATCA today by visiting us at www.nfatca.org.
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