National Shooting Sports Foundation Celebrates 50 Years

In 1961, when John F. Kennedy was president, Roger Maris and
Mickey Mantle chased Babe Ruth’s career home run record and digital
music meant tapping a rhythm with your fingers, the leaders of
America’s firearms industry boldly acted to form a new organization
to meet the era’s growing challenges to hunting and the shooting
sports. The National Shooting Sports Foundation was born.

The year 2011 will mark the 50th anniversary of NSSF, the trade
association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting
sports industry. A special notation that highlights “50 Years” has
been added to the NSSF logo for use during the anniversary

“Our goal in celebrating this milestone is to remind our more
than 6,000-member companies how much NSSF has done over the past 50
years to help their businesses thrive and to protect our great
American pastimes of hunting and shooting,” said Steve Sanetti,
NSSF’s president and CEO. “We’re proud to share our history, our
accomplishments and our story with all those who support what NSSF
stands for–to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the
shooting sports.”

As recounted in “The National Shooting Sports Foundation: A
History 1961 to 2011,” authored by former NSSF President and CEO
Doug Painter, NSSF’s story begins when Field and Stream magazine,
encouraged by longtime shooting editor Warren Page, organized the
First National Conference on the Shooting Sports in 1960 in New
York City. From this gathering, a recommendation was made the
following year to start a new industry organization–NSSF–which was
chartered with 30 founding members. Research uncovered a
fascinating Guns & Ammo magazine article that covered the
Second National Conference on the Shooting Sports, helping to shed
light on the formation of NSSF and providing photographs of the
historic meeting.

In addition to Page, early NSSF Executive Directors Charlie
Dickey and Arnold H. “Rock” Rohlfing helped establish the
Foundation. Others included Bill Talley of Winchester and chairman
of the NSSF Board of Governors from 1972 to 1981, who summed up
NSSF’s inclusiveness as a trade association by remarking, “The
entire shooting-associated industry, from gun maker to boot maker,
should speak with one voice.” Such unity is a hallmark of
present-day NSSF.

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