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The NSSF's Big Plans

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Over the coming months I'll be writing here about the politics of poverty, and about a variety of other subjects that I cover. For now, I'm focusing on the gun manufacturing industry, and specifically, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, or the NSSF, a pro-gun organization based, of all places, in Newtown.

After what happened in December, many of us were surprised to learn that an organization in Newtown is essentially the top PR and lobbying firm for many of the companies that make up the country's firearms industry. Over the last few years, as interest in traditional hunting has declined, the group has campaigned to promote what it insists on calling "modern sporting rifles" (it rejects the term "assault weapons" and, presumably, the bad PR that goes with it).

CNN reports that the NSSF, along with the NRA, is meeting with Vice President Biden's task force on gun violence this week. I'm eager to hear what, if anything, comes out of those meetings.

I'm also curious about a meeting scheduled to take place in Vegas on January 15th. To quote the Violence Policy Center, a group that closely tracks the efforts of the gun industry, the NSSF will launch "the 35th edition of its SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Promoted as "The Event That Keeps on Giving" that's "Too Good to Miss," profits from the show help fund NSSF's legislative activities on Capitol Hill and in states across the nation as well as its marketing efforts on behalf of the firearms industry. On NSSF's website, an ad for the show, featuring Las Vegas sights, appears on the same page as its brief statement on the December 14 school shooting."

As the press release further notes, "Among the vendors listed on NSSF's website as participating in the show are a wide range of assault rifle manufacturers, including Bushmaster, the manufacturer of the assault rifle used in the Newtown shooting (Exhibition Space 14229)."

Unfortunately, the NSSF, which has largely been silent since last month's shooting, has posted a message on its website saying that it will not accept applications for press credentials. And the event is closed to the general public. So for those of us who have questions for the NSSF, we may have to wait until they decide to speak up -- or until someone associated with them does.