National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Director Gives Views on Byrd’s Books Promoting Controversial Anti-Gun Activist and Author Shannon Watts

Report by Paula Antolini, September 28, 2019, 9:54AM EDT

Protest rally in front of the National Shooting Sports Foundation
(NSSF) headquarters on March 28, 2013, showing both sides of the protest.
(BETHEL ADVOCATE file photo, ©2013 Paula Antolini / Bethel Advocate)

We recently asked the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to give their views about a neighboring event at Byrd’s Books, where Shannon Watts, the founder of ‘Moms Demand Action‘ and a gun-control & anti-NRA activist, was scheduled to talk about a controversial topic in her book, Fight Like a Mother – How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the World. Please view their response below.

(NOTE: The NSSF has their headquarters in Newtown, CT, and some of their members have attended several protest events held in front of their headquarters during which the NSSF showed support for guns while others, from organization such as the Newtown Action Alliance, protested against guns, simultaneously. These were events that Bethel Advocate covered in January 2016 and March 2013.)

Mark Oliva, the Director of Public Affairs
for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


“This is Mark Oliva, the Director of Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association. 

“I’m writing in response to your questions about Ms. Hutchinson’s plan to host Ms. Watts. 

“We respect the Ms. Hutchinson’s right to invite Ms. Watts to discuss her views she published in her book. We believe in the value of our First Amendment rights, just as much as we value our unique God-given Second Amendment rights.

“The free flow of ideas and vigorous debate is vital for the success of all our elections. That includes those of the firearms industry to tell the public of our real solutions for safer communities. These are programs gun manufacturers conduct, including Fix NICS to ensure all disqualifying adjudicated mental health records are submitted to the FBI to make background checks work as intended.

“To date, we’ve changed laws in 16 states and gotten a 220 percent increase in the number of records submitted to the FBI.

“We also partner with 15,000 law enforcement agencies through our Project Childsafe initiative that has seen more than 38 million free firearms safety kits with gun locks distributed in every state, including Connecticut.

“We also work with the ATF to prevent state purchases of firearms and joined with the largest suicide prevention organization in America to provide resources to firearms retailers and ranges to intervene before a crisis. 

“Just as Ms. Watts shares her ideas, we believe our communities would benefit by knowing the complete truth, that the firearms industry is leading on safe and responsible gun ownership. 

“NSSF will not protest this event. We do invite anyone who is willing to discuss real solutions that contribute to public safety while respecting essential constitutional rights to join us to share ideas. We’re already working to make our communities safer.” 

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