In these tumultuous times, it's important for gun owners to have an intelligent, rational voice to speak up for their rights.
Lucky for us, we've got NSSF President Steve Sanetti.
In an interview with CNN's Deborah Feyerick, Sanetti offered his take on the state of affairs for gun owners in Connecticut.
Specifically, Sanetti touched on the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. — where the NSSF is coincidentally headquartered — and urged lawmakers not to bend at the whim of a madman.
"What happened was a horrible, horrible, unspeakable tragedy. It's a human tendency to try to want to make some sort of meaning out of a meaningless, senseless, brutal act," Sanetti said. "But I do think they're lashing out at the wrong people and the wrong objects. ... Less than 3 percent of rifles are ever used in a violent crime of any sort, and yet, they're demonizing the rifles because they look bad. They look like machine guns, which they're not."
Sanetti added the recently passed law in Connecticut — which bans over 100 firearms and limits magazine capacities to 10 rounds, among other regulations — will do little to prevent another tragedy like Sandy Hook.
When the law was signed by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy on Thursday, April 4, the NSSF issued a statement regarding gun control legislation and its effect on violent crime — or its ineffectiveness.
"Gov. Dannel Malloy today signed into law a package of gun-control legislation that was assembled in secret by a small group of state legislators and that never received a public hearing. Most legislators had little time to even read the actual bill language," the NSSF wrote. "The unfortunate results of this process, which made it appear that all points of view were being heard when in fact true expertise was shut out when it was most needed, means that mistakes in what is now enacted law will have to be corrected."
One example, the NSSF wrote, is that the new law provides procedures by which vendors are required to carry out universal background checks in private transactions. However, that measure conflicts with federal law and essentially keeps private transactions from being carried out legally.
"We share the goal of wanting to make Connecticut safer for our citizens following the unspeakable tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School," the NSSF said. "In the end, however, public safety has not been enhanced and the unintended consequences of behind-closed-doors lawmaking will cause considerable confusion until the General Assembly corrects its mistakes."
In his interview with CNN, Sanetti built on the NSSF's statements by offering a common sense approach to gun regulations, focusing on the mental health aspect and a reformed background check system.
"Mental health records are not in the system. They're supposed to be in the system for the last 20 years, but you find that most states — for valid privacy purposes — are not transmitting the mental health records in a searchable format so that when a background check is done, they can say whether or not this person is mentally qualified to have the gun," Sanetti said. "We think that's a scandal. We need to fix the background check system to import those mental health records with due concern for the privacy and [ethics] of mental health treatment. But we need to get those records in the system so that a dealer isn't inadvertently delivering a gun to someone who's mentally disturbed."
Check out the full interview from CNN.