NSSF: First annual National Shooting Sports month a success

The NSSF said the first annual National Shooting Sports Month, observed in August, was "embraced" by consumers and the industry. (Photo: National Shooting Sports Foundation/Facebook)

The NSSF said the first annual National Shooting Sports Month, observed in August, was “embraced” by consumers and the industry. (Photo: National Shooting Sports Foundation/Facebook)

The gun industry’s top trade association said consumers “embraced” the first annual National Shooting Sports month observed in August.

Chris Dolnack, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said in a press release Oct. 10 nearly 200 news outlets published the story, reaching more than 17 million readers. The association made contact with another 11 million through email campaigns and social media engagement in an attempt to get more people out an the gun range all month long.

“We were not disappointed,” Dolnack said. “National Shooting Sports Month, the first nationwide event designed specifically to celebrate the shooting sports and enhance the connections between today’s shooters and the firearms retailers and range owners in their areas, was a success. Hundreds of retailers and ranges held events and promotions. Thousands of people participated in an array of shooting sports. A comprehensive media campaign reached millions and raised awareness.”

NSSF first declared August as National Shooting Sports month in July 27 press release. President and CEO Steve Sanetti said the association wanted to attract new interest to target shooting and preserve the tradition of “one of America’s greatest pastimes.”

“With so much going on in people’s lives today, the shooting sports offer an opportunity to tune out distractions, learn a new skill, socialize and share their experiences,” he said. “It’s important to remember to pass on our traditions and to reflect on our unique freedoms that make participating in them possible.”

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed a proclamation Aug. 24 officially recognizing the month-long celebration.

“I grew up in the mountains of northwest Montana, where I spent my time hunting and fishing on our shared public lands,” he said. “I was lucky to take my boys out on the same land that my dad and granddad took me … I’m focused on continuing that tradition by announcing this August, and every August under my leadership at Interior will be proclaimed National Shooting Sports Month.”

Dolnack said NSSF is already planning for next year and encourages retailers and ranges to do the same.

“Our first National Shooting Sports Month was just that — the first one,” he said. “While our next National Shooting Sports month is almost a year away, NSSF is already planning for a bigger month next year. We encourage all our manufacturers, retailers and ranges to mark their calendars for August 2018 now, and begin planning your budgets, events and sponsorships.”