Here is the declaration which was created by participants
of NSSF's sponsored Summit meeting in Phoenix, AZ.
I am pleased to have been a participant and contributor.
CPT. Ray Carney (USA-Ret.)
Declaration of Investment in Tomorrow.
Whereas, the shooting sports consists of hunters, target shooters, reloaders, firearms craftsmen and collectors, as well as conservation groups, outdoor media, fish and wildlife agencies and membership organizations, as well as the businesses that serve them; and
Whereas, the shooting sports are valued traditions enjoyed by 30 million responsible and law-abiding Americans; and
Whereas, the shooting sports teach responsibility, safety. and discipline; and
Whereas, the shooting sports make significant contributions to our society and to our national, state, and local economies; and
Whereas, excise taxes on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment provide some $250 million annually for state wildlife agencies and programs that benefit all citizens and the environment; and
Whereas, the shooting sports have borne the major cost of wildlife restoration and provisions of places to hunt; and
Whereas, the cost of managing wildlife and providing places to hunt exceed revenue from shooting sports-supported excise taxes; and
Whereas, firearms and hunter safety education programs sponsored by national, state and local groups have helped reduce accidental firearms fatalities to the lowest level in nearly 100 years; and
Whereas, public and private shooting facilities provide important venues for the implementation of such safety programs and there are insufficient ranges; and
Whereas, a combination of demographic and societal factors have combined to cause a gradual and modest decline in hunting participation that has reduced funding for state wildlife agencies; and
Whereas, research reveals a considerable demand and interest in entry level target shooting opportunities with more than 140 million Americans who would accept an invitation to receive target shooting instruction; and
Whereas, the American public is being provided a distorted view of the use of firearms which often blames crimes and violence on the responsible firearms industry and creates a negative perception of the shooting sports; and
Whereas, politically motivated efforts to restrict the legitimate and responsible use and commerce in firearms jeopardize the right of millions of Americans to participate in the shooting sports; and
Whereas, such politically motivated actions jeopardize the funding for state wildlife agencies and their successful wildlife programs; and
Whereas, some 30 municipalities have filed lawsuits against the legitimate manufacturers of firearms seeking to force the adherence to regulations and restrictions that are contrary to the U.S. Constitution, to the will of Congress and the American people; and
Whereas, the Constitution protects the unique and empowering right to bear arms for self-defense, and provide the firearms for that purpose is a necessary responsibility of the shooting sports industry; and
Whereas, shooting sports activities are among the safest forms of outdoor recreation and with appropriate training lead neither to crime nor accidents but instead enhance the family experience in a wholly appropriate fashion; and
Whereas, we shall continue to use our expertise to offer and publicize firearms safety programs, demonstrating our long-standing commitment to actually improving an already safe activity instead of attempting to exploit victims for political gain or offering unworkable politically expedient solutions;
Therefore, we the undersigned stakeholders in the shooting sports community nationwide, make this Declaration of Investment in Tomorrow, and do hereby commit our collective support to the following:
To Regain Our Rightful and Responsible Image, We Shall Aggressively
Increase media access to and awareness of Olympic champions and current USA Shooting Team Members by providing materials to facilitate editorial coverage on television, in newspapers and magazines, and through personal appearances.
Expand and support intensive shooting sports educational seminars for key individual members of the media.
Develop and expand efforts to encourage celebrities active in the shooting sports to speak put on behalf of our sports.
Create a universal and uploadable web site that provides a wide range of facts and stories that underscore the values and contributions of our sports.
Develop and expand a nationwide grassroots program that will encourage and support efforts of individual firearms owners to provide their local newspapers with letters that provide accurate and appropriate information on a wide range of firearms, hunting and shooting sports topics.
Support existing programs and seek partnerships to promote the safe use and responsible storage of firearms.
Support existing programs and seek partnerships to promote the positive values and life-long family recreational opportunities afforded by the shooting sports.
Promote and support the newly created Professional Clay Target Association jointly formed by the American Trap Shooting Association (ATSA) and the National Skeet Shooting Association (NSSA) and the National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) for the purposes of developing a professional nationally
televised clay target tour.
To More Effectively Recruit and Retain Hunters, We Shall Aggressively
Encourage and support the development of flexible hunter education delivery systems that allow convenient access to programs for all students.
Encourage and support the further development and implementation of mentoring programs that serve to introduce newcomers to our sports.
Continue to explore and evaluate new strategies that encourage and promote youth interest in the out-of-doors, including outdoor "adventure camps" and similar innovative concepts.
Continue to explore and evaluate landowner programs that provide hunting access and that recognize landowners who are active in such efforts.
Encourage and support the development of programs that focus on recruitment from non-traditional audiences.
To Remove Barriers and Build Bridges to First-time Target Shooters, We shall Aggressively
Conduct market research and develop or modify programs based on the quantitative and qualitative data from parents and young adults.
Encourage adoption of new shooter orientation as practiced by cowboy action shooting groups.
Enhance communication and coordination among existing youth shooting programs to promote "cross-over" opportunities, sharing of information and creation of strong, new partnership programs.
Support and expand existing programs to enhance the opportunities and the enjoyment of the shooting sports by women, and consider new programs that enhance the effectiveness of these efforts.
Continue to develop and support efforts aimed at expanding existing high school sports programs and starting new high school programs that provide continuing shooting opportunities for young adults.
Support and expand existing programs to enhance the opportunities and the enjoyment of the shooting sports by minorities, and consider new programs that enhance the effectiveness of these efforts.
To Provide Modern, Safe and Environmentally Responsible Shooting Facilities, We Shall Aggressively
Promote the environmental benefits of the significant tracts of land saved from commercial and residential development by shooting facilities, and urge operators where appropriate to refer to gun clubs and shooting ranges as "shooting sports parks."
Encourage states to pass appropriate range protection laws based on model legislation developed by recognized technical experts for recreational shooting facilities threatened by frivolous legal action.
Distribute model business plans, provide financial and marketing seminars, and encourage range operators to adopt appropriate pricing and practices that achieve business excellence.
Provide professional materials and advice to help ranges develop and implement an effective marketing plan and advertising outreach program.
Develop more efficient ways to use federal funds for shooting range construction and promote more partnerships among government agencies, industry, and third parties.
Provide range developers with quality information including basic marketing data, range site criteria and design, business operations, and public relations.
Expedite construction of public and commercial ranges in those metropolitan areas where there is a lack of accessible and convenient shooting opportunities.
Encourage new and existing ranges to create and maintain an inviting environment, including appropriate signage, landscaping and other factors affecting physical appearance of the facility.
To Achieve Political and Legal Victory in 2000 and Beyond, We Shall Aggressively
Support enforcement of existing laws rather than pass more restrictive gun laws.
Support pending Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) legislation to use outer continental oil receipts to fund state and federal acquisition of lands for shooting, hunting and other outdoor recreation, and expand wildlife management by the states.
Explore a national funding mechanism to collect funds for distribution to state associations for use in fighting legislative and regulatory issues on the state and local level.
Work to ensure that shooting sports interests are involved in state and community planning for use of land and water conservation funding to supply recreational lands, including shooting facilities.
Support and participate in a coordinated voter registration and "Get-Out-The-Vote" effort to ensure that the rights and the interests of the shooting sports stakeholders are properly represented in the 2000 election - and beyond.
Urge, to the full extent of election law, contributions to the industry's Political Action Committee, SJHOT-PAC, and the contribution of AHOT-PAC funds to critical national and state races.
Develop a coordinated system to allow voters to obtain prompt and accurate information on each candidate's policies and positions on key shooting sports issues.
Recognize those manufacturers, publishers and others who have committed one percent of their sales to the defense and promotion of our sports through participation in the Hunting and Shooting Sports Heritage Fund.
Urge those manufacturers, publishers and others who have yet to commit to the Hunting and Shooting Sports Heritage Fund to add their support to this united effort.
Signed this 3rd day of June at the conclusion of the 2000 Shooting Sports Summit, in Phoenix, Arizona.