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ASSC hires team for anti-gun battle; NASGW gives $100,000 to war chest; others pledge thousands.

The American Shooting Sports Council (ASSC) has made a dramatic move to counter the momentum of anti-gun legislation throughout the country. The ASSC's board of directors voted unanimously to hire a professional public relations firm to coordinate the shooting industry's fight for survival.

The vote to hire the Eddie Mahe Company came during the board's meeting May 21 in Minneapolis, Minn.

"We have lost a battle, but it's just a battle. The war is not over," said Richard J. Feldman, ASSC's executive director in introducing the Eddie Mahe briefing team. "It's time for the industry to take the business and leadership role in this fight."

Eddie Mahe made it clear during his team's impressive briefing that there is a tough fight ahead, "There's no magic available to change opinions on this emotional issue. There's a lot of grunt work that has to be done. We must concentrate our efforts if we're to reach our goal, if we're to win."

The overall campaign goal proposed by the Mahe Company for ASSC is to:

"Reverse the perception that guns equal crime in such a way as to halt the gun control movement;

"Achieve real crime reduction legislation;

"Assure that individual gun ownership is preserved and maintain the long term financial health of the firearms industry."

To achieve this goal, the campaign calls for:

First: Seizing the Initiative -- Rallying the Troops: "...the campaign must provide a mechanism for activating the industry and its allies and mobilizing grassroots supporters to become actively involved."

Second, the campaign must "...reverse the momentum of the gun control movement" and third, "...neutralize the media's bias against guns, to reverse public perception that guns are the cause of crime and violence and to position the firearms industry as the premiere organization working to secure real crime reduction legislation."

The cost for such a campaign, according to Mahe, is $2 to $10 million annually. "This level of funding is essential to counter the $7.5 million budget of Handgun Control Inc. and the millions of dollars the media annually gives to the issue," the Mahe report indicated.

In reply to a question from the board, Mahe strongly answered, "Yes, there's enough time to put together a win. But you must move now and together."

Before asking for the vote as to whether the Mahe company should be hired, Mike Saporito, ASSC board chairman said, "We have to ask ourselves 'What's at stake?' We must prevent the onslaught if we're going to survive as an industry."

Without discussion, the ASSC board voted unanimously to hire the Mahe Company.

Following the vote, the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) presented a $100,000 grant to ASSC in an impressive show of support.

In making the presentation, Rebecca Maddy of NASGW said, "The ASSC is the only organization who actively supports the entire distribution channel -- from manufacturer to retailer and offers a unified voice for the industry's legislative concerns."

Maddy also encouraged others to support the ASSC's efforts. "The NASGW would like to offer a challenge to every member of the industry to make a contribution to the ASSC and support their work," she said.

Accepting the grant was Richard Feldman. "Thanks to NASGW, we will be able to mount the type of educational and grassroots organizational campaigns the men and women who are the American firearms industry deserve," Feldman said.

The grant presentation was followed by three pledges totaling $75,000. Representatives from U.S.A. Magazines, Lorcin Engineering Company Inc. and RSR Wholesale Guns Inc. each pledged $25,000 to assist ASSC in its efforts.

Since the May 21 meeting, Fieldman reports that a total of $215,000 has been received and an additional $250,000 has been pledged to support the ASSC.
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Title Annotation:American Shooting Sports Council; National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Jul 1, 1994
Words:623
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