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July 2014
Issue no. 3
Topics covered in this issue:
  1. UN Fifth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider Implementation of the PoA (BMS-5) - New York, 16-20 June 2014
  2. Initiatives carried out on the firearms legislation at EU level
  3. Proposal for a lead ban at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  4. WFSA "Vito Genco Shooting Ambassador Award" 2014
  5. A study on first-time gun buyers in the US
The Knotted Gun sculpture displayed at the United Nations in New York

UN Fifth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider Implementation of the Programme of Action (BMS-5) - New York, 16-20 June 2014

The Fifth UN Biennial Meeting on the Programme of Action (PoA) on Small Arms and Light Weapons (BMS-5) was held in New York from 16 – 22 June 2014. Ambassador Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan chaired the gathering. It was extremely well attended with close to 60 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) present. Ten of the NGOs were affiliated with the firearms community and as the leading firearms group at the UN, the WFSA was asked to coordinate the efforts of these organizations. Part of the BMS-5 morning session on 19 June was set aside for NGO presentations. After intense negotiations the WFSA was allocated twenty-two and a half minutes for firearms community comments on the PoA. 
 
The WFSA itself, along with five members and affiliates, spoke under the WFSA banner. WFSA President Herbert Keusgen addressed the meeting for WFSA; Mauro Silvis spoke for the Italian National Association of Manufacturers of Sporting and Civilian Firearms and Ammunition (ANPAM); Klaus Gotzen presented for the German Association of Manufacturers of Sporting and Hunting Firearms and Ammunition (JSM); Tony Bernardo represented the Canadian Shooting Sports Associations (CSSA); Rebecca Waterman spoke for the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association (NMLRA); and Thomas Saldias represented the first Latin American firearms association, Coalicion Armas Legales Latinoamericanas (CALL), to give a presentation representing the South American firearms community. These speeches are available at the following link: http://www.wfsa.net/leg_01.html .
 
The following delegates spoke outside the WFSA umbrella: Ted Bromund for the Heritage Foundation; Sheldon Clare representing the Canadian National Firearms Association (NFA); Thomas Moore for the Defense Small Arms Advisory Council (DSAAC); Rick Patterson representing the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute (SAAMI); and Julianne Versnel for the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF).

Four anti-firearms groups also gave presentations coordinated by the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA). One of the IANSA presentations was an emotional appeal by David Wheeler, a parent of one of the victims of the tragic Sandy Hook incident. His presentation had little to do with the PoA itself, but received a sympathetic response from the much of the audience. Ambassador Tanin, chair of the BMS-5, violated his role as a neutral presiding officer when he left the chair to recognize Wheeler. The act was unprecedented and unfortunately demonstrated the anti-gun bias of the meeting and the UN itself. An official from the UN admitted that he had arranged for Tanin to make this gesture.
 
Regardless of the bias of the meeting, the report of the gathering was relatively benign.  Expanding the PoA to include regulation of civilian possession of firearms has been the goal of anti-firearms groups since the inception of the PoA. This was again avoided at the BMS-5 thanks to the efforts of the US Government. Likewise, there has also been an effort to expand the PoA to include ammunition. This too was rejected.
 
A further UN initiative which anti-gun groups wished to have referenced in the report of the BMS-5 and included in the PoA was the International Small Arms Control Standards or ISACS. Fortunately, all references to ISACS were dropped in the BMS-5 report.
 
Likewise, the PoA was not expanded was in relation to ‘smart gun’ technology. Two of the firearms community speakers, Rick Patterson of SAAMI and Thomas Moore of DSAAC, pointed out the impracticality of many of the smart gun technologies being touted by certain manufacturers. Smart guns are not favored by most military and police forces and some proposals, such as micro-stamping, can be easily defeated. 
 
Although the PoA was not expanded and the report of the BMS-5 was relatively low key, recommendations were adopted necessitating several future meeting on the PoA. These will include an experts meeting on marking and tracing in 2015, a BMS-6 in 2016 and a PoA review conference in 2018.

Initiatives carried out on the firearms legislation at EU level

As a result of the DG Home Communication “Firearms and the internal security of the EU: protecting citizens and disrupting illegal trafficking” published on 21 October 2013, DG Home of the European Commission is currently promoting a series of activities in order to contrast the illicit market for and trafficking of firearms without damaging the legal civilian firearms market and users. Among the initiatives carried out this year are two studies commissioned by DG Home:
  1. "Study to support an Impact Assessment on a possible initiative related to improving rules on deactivation, destruction and marking procedures of firearms in the EU, as well as on alarm weapons and replicas" by Ernst & Young/SIPRI;
  2. “Study to Support an Impact Assessment on Options for Combatting Illicit Arms Trafficking in the European Union” by CSES.
The results of these studies and the main problems encountered have already been discussed at the first two meetings of the Experts Group on Firearms created by DG Home, of which IEACS and AFEMS are members representing the industry. The reports of the two studies will be finalized shortly and a final version will be published at the end of July 2014.

In addition to the above mentioned studies a further study has been commissioned by DG Enterprise from Ernst & Young/Technopolis to evaluate the Firearms Directive.
 For further information, please do not hesitate to contact the WFSA Secretariat at: 
wfsa.secretariat@anpam.org 
 

 

Proposal for a lead ban at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

This proposal is related to a research paper published by a Canadian expert shortly before the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games last February. This paper urged the International Olympic Committee to ban the use of lead shotshells for all Olympic shooting and qualification events worldwide following the 2016 Olympics. ISSF took immediate action at IOC meetings in Sochi to inform the IOC of the real facts related to the use of lead in Olympic shooting.
 
WFSA also took swift action, creating an ad-hoc working group to collaborate with ISSF in order to determine the best strategy to counter this proposal. After a conference call and a meeting held in Munich between WFSA and ISSF, the threat to the use of lead shotshells appears to have diminished. However, WFSA will continue to monitor the situation.  

Ms. Theresa Vail

The WFSA "Vito Genco Shooting Ambassador Award" 2014
The annual Plenary Session of the World Forum on Shooting Activities was held in conjunction with IWA, the International Trade Fair for Hunting and Sport Shooting, on 6 March 2014, under the title: “On Target for the Future”. The WFSA Vito Genco Shooting Ambassador Award 2014 was granted to Ms Theresa Vail from the USA.

Theresa Vail was Miss Kansas 2013. In the Miss America 2014 contest she was placed in the top 10 and won the ‘America's Choice’ award. The platform on which she took part in this contest was ‘Empowering Women: Overcoming Stereotypes and Breaking Barriers’. This platform was inspired by the way that taking part in outdoor sports with her father helped her to overcome being bullied as a child. 
 

A study on first-time gun buyers in the US

A study commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reveals that first-time gun buyers are largely active in one or more shooting activities and that women are motivated to purchase their first firearm predominately for personal defense.
The study was undertaken to help determine the motivations for a first firearm purchase and how these firearms are being used. 
The online research was conducted in March/April 2013 and involved consumers aged 22 to 65 who bought their first firearm during 2012. InfoManiacs Inc. carried out the research. The majority of first-time buyers (60.3 percent) tend to be active, using their gun once per month or more, with one in five reporting usage of once a week or more.
 
Target shooting is by far the most popular shooting activity among first-time gun owners, with 84.3 percent of respondents saying they used their firearms for this purpose, followed by hunting (37.7 percent) and plinking (27.4 percent). Practical pistol shooting (17.3 percent) and clay-target shooting (14.6 percent) were shooting sports also enjoyed by first-time buyers.
The top-ranking factors driving first-time gun purchases are home defense (87.3 percent), self-defense (76.5 percent) and the desire to share shooting activities with family and friends (73.2 percent). Women, in particular, are highly focused on personal defense and self-sufficiency.
Most first-time buyers purchased their guns through local gun shops (43.6 percent) and mass retailers such as Walmart and Cabela's (33.6 percent). First-time gun buyers spent an average of $515 on their first gun and nearly as much on accessories ($504). Nearly a quarter of first-time buyers bought at least one more firearm within the first year after their first purchase spending more, on average, on the later purchase.