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Shooting Sports Foundation President says he wants background checks, too


About 50 parents and students stood outside the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in Newtown last month, just before the national march against gun violence on Washington.

The NSSF is a national organization that has been around for more than 50 years. Its headquarters has been in Newtown for more than 20 years. When you look at the signs of protesters, they want to stop gun violence, and they want the NSSF out of Newtown. President Steve Sanetti says he understands their frustrations.

“They think the firearms industry only wants to sell guns to anybody and everybody no conditions, no questions asked, and that’s just completely off-base. We, the industry, are the ones that came up with the idea of a point-of-sale electronic retail background check.”

That background check, Sanetti says, failed 26 churchgoers who died in the worst mass shooting in the history of Texas. Triggerman Devon Kelly served a year in prison for assault on his spouse, and 11-month-old child, and he was dishonorably discharged from the military, yet he legally bought a firearm because that didn’t turn up in the database. 

“Dishonorable discharge, mental health records, criminal convictions, domestic abuse, that kind of thing. Believe it or not those records are woefully inadequate,” Sanetti said. “The states are not submitting those records to the federal government to be part of the background checks system because of the privacy laws. Again understandable, but misguided. These are people trying to get firearms.”

Sanetti says mental illness is protected by privacy laws, and those privacy laws shield them from a background check and allow them to buy firearms.

“We believe that denying access to people, whether it’s children whether it’s mentally disturbed people, burglars criminals, denying them access to any kind of firearm is the way to go. “

The NSSF says while some want them to leave Newtown, they are staying, and they are spending their own money to fix the background check system. Last month they were successful, and got their bill passed.

“So now federal agencies and state agencies are going to have to get these records into the system, or face penalties. And that has been an industry effort that we are very proud of.”

They also have many other programs, solutions and ideas, and they’re welcome and open to anyone who wants to sit at the table work together.

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