Gun trade group the National Shooting Sports Foundation has retained D.C. lobbying firm Hollier & Associates for Capitol Hill advocacy work on banking issues as they affect the firearms industry.
A smaller and lesser-known outfit than the National Rifle Association, the NSSF represents firearms manufacturers, distributors and dealers, as well as shooting ranges and organizations, comprising a total membership of about 11,000. The Newtown, CT-based trade group, which was founded in 1961, sponsors the annual SHOT (Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade) event, currently one of the largest trade shows in the US.
NSSF has tapped Hollier in response to “discriminatory banking actions against [the] firearms industry,” according to lobbying registration documents filed with Congress in May.
The retainer comes as the financial sector has emerged as an unlikely voice in the nation’s current gun debate, with some banks putting distance between themselves and firearms manufacturers and retailers in the wake of the February shooting in Parkland, Fla, which killed 17 and now counts as the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history.
Citigroup in March announced it would bar its business clients from selling guns to customers who haven’t passed a background check and are under the age of 21, and would also refuse to do business with any company that sells high-capacity magazines and bump stocks.
Following in Citigroup’s footsteps, Bank of America in April announced it would no longer finance manufacturers that make “military-style firearms” for “non-law enforcement, non-military use.”
That financial services giant seemed to walk back on its pledge weeks later, however, after it agreed in May to provide more than $43 million in financing to firearms manufacturer Remington Outdoor Co., which is currently climbing its way out of bankruptcy and manufactures rifles with the very semiautomatic designs the bank said it would no longer finance.
BlackRock, the world’s largest investment company, recently unveiled a series of new products allowing clients to avoid investing in funds involving companies that sell or manufacture firearms.
An April 30 Wall Street Journal report illustrated how banks and credit card companies are also currently exploring ways to identify gun purchases in their payment systems, including the possibility of implementing a special purchase code for gun retailers, in the same way, that similar codes are currently used to track purchases made at restaurants and department stores.
Managing the NSSF account is Hollier president Will Hollier, who was formerly chief of staff and legislative director to Senator and Senate Banking Committee chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).
Other Hollier & Assocs. clients include Microsoft, Visa, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, OfficeMax and The Conservation Fund.