By John Brown
One of the things that has grown to be readily apparent is that the NFATCA is becoming what so many of us had hoped would happen since its inception. We, as an organization, continue to grow and progress to be the only NFA support group that has truly enjoyed success in working to support the entire industry on so many NFA issues. As we launched this effort five years ago many of you will remember we hosted our first meeting at Long Mountain Outfitters with guest speakers such as Lew Raden, then Assistant Director with ATF, and our Firearms Attorney. The announcement that we were forming a lobbyist group to support the entire NFA community was met by both enthusiasm and certainly a degree of skepticism by the community. Others had tried similar efforts and unfortunately had fallen by the wayside in attempts to support our community. The NFATCA has become successful!
Having already formed a board of directors and having the board fund our initial efforts, we were off and running on a ride that many of us look back on and wonder how we ever made such a successful effort reach the heights we enjoy in 2009. The truth of the matter is that a lot of hard work, determination, and energy to create industry and ATF relationships is unprecedented. Every single board member has given every ounce of their strengths, backed by nearly 150 years of experience, to create the path to success that everyone in our community is now enjoying. We truly have a full agenda ahead of us that seems to grow in stature rather than diminish. We spend countless hours in meetings and negotiations working for the good of all. For nearly five years now the board meets on a conference bridge every Tuesday to discuss issues and plan events. The efforts of the board are stronger now than ever before with a full agenda to support our community.
There are those in the industry that still today accuse the NFATCA of “Sleeping with the enemy” in our efforts to make life a little easier for all NFA owners in the country. These few won’t join our initiative for a variety of reasons and unfortunately we will miss them among the rank and file of our successes. Interestingly enough as the elections came closer last year membership rose sharply surpassing the 200 total members level. With all of that energy we published the first update to the NFA Handbook, and made substantial progress in completing major portions of the Firearms Technology Branch Procedures manual. We successfully negotiated the resolution to the FNC rifle/sear issues and held over 30 meetings during the year with ATF representatives on many issues: each one important to the entire trade. For the membership, the quarterly newsletters, the daily updated website and the plethora of information that is available to the members is staggering. Members call my office weekly and we enjoy lengthy calls on a variety of subjects and I can’t tell you the number of ideas that the board brings forward from just the members. Issues like the FNC rifle issue and the need for an NFA handbook all came from within the organization’s members. Together, the NFATCA board and our membership have become a strategic asset to the entire community.
This past year has also seen the introduction of Benefactor Members or large industry partners who have joined our efforts in supporting our objectives with funding and strategic involvement at the manufacturing level. First on board was American Heritage Arms with Remington that now is a major contributor and sponsor to our efforts. Along with AHA we have been supported by other major benefactors that have joined the NFATCA in sponsoring us in major events and bringing their expertise to the table to support our efforts. In parallel with the joining of these benefactor members we have enjoyed the support within ATF’s highest levels. Our special thanks to Director Sullivan, who has taken it upon himself to stay involved with our efforts and offer support at every step in our joint efforts. Take into consideration the total efforts of these combined energies and it is hard to beat the initiatives of this one single organization: the NFATCA.
Our efforts continue to thrive in the face of an uncertain destiny within our entire trade. What makes our effort so strong and so successful is the true understanding that any effort in our community must be supported by many and focus on the global needs of all. That understanding and that support is exactly what has made our efforts so successful, especially in the face of a politically adverse environment. Our motto is simple and the mission is strong: but only with the support of a diverse industry representation and a strong alliance with ATF. That momentum is stronger today than ever before and it is critical to keep the momentum moving forward. Strength through numbers is our success and the more of the industry, the membership, and ATF members that join the effort to create a better understanding of how we all work together will insure success.
So what are you waiting for? If after all of this you still aren’t sure on whether to join us in this success, call one of the board members and talk over your issues and concerns and finally become a part of the only successful effort that is looking after your NFA interests. We need your experience, your support and most of all your interest in our cause. Join us today at www.nfatca.org and support the success and your future of NFA ownership.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V12N5 (February 2009)|