Making the Case for Sporting Firearms at the United
As president of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers'
Institute, a Non-Governmental Organization member of
the United Nations, Steve Sanetti today is addressing
the U.N.'s Open-Ended Working Group with the
goal of explaining the legitimate uses of firearms
and ammunition for sporting purposes and hunting by
many millions of law-abiding persons worldwide, and
urging that civilian firearms should be beyond the
scope of any proposed U.N. consideration of fully automatic
military firearms when its deliberations turn to small
arms and light weapons as part of an International
Arms Trade Treaty.
Mr. Sanetti is delivering the speech to approximately
300 delegates at United Nations headquarters in Manhattan.
Some segments of the speech are provided here . . .
--Mr. Chairman and Members:
--Thank you for this opportunity to address the Open-Ended
Working Group on behalf of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition
Manufacturers’ Institute, an NGO member of this
body and which serves to establish industry standards
for safety, interchangeability, reliability and quality
related to the manufacturing of sporting firearms .
--Sport shooting activities enjoy a deep heritage
and broad appeal worldwide, and are rooted in centuries-old
traditions built on safety, responsibility, marksmanship,
competition, fair chase, respect for wildlife and respect
for the land. That responsible civilians can, as they
have for centuries, safely own, use and enjoy their
personally-owned firearms is dramatically illustrated
by the fact that despite an estimated nearly 300 million
firearms in lawful private possession in the United
States alone, firearms accidents are at an all-time
low, accounting for less than 1 percent of all accidental
fatalities in the country, dropping by over 42 percent
in the last 20 years, according to the National Safety
--Millions of sportsmen and women have a strong appreciation
not only for the activities they enjoy, but also for
the fine craftsmanship and industrial ingenuity that
are hallmarks of the sporting firearms they use and
collect for sport shooting. On a personal note, as
an avid sport shooter and collector I can say that
owning and using firearms for sporting purposes has
enriched my life and given me untold hours of pleasure
and shared good company . . .
--The world is constantly changing, and there are
some who call for social and political reforms that
increasingly threaten sport shooting and hunting. That
is why I welcome the chance to speak to you on behalf
of a responsible and law-abiding industry and for so
many sportsmen and women throughout the world who share
--For as long as firearms have been around, they have
been used for hunting and target shooting—traditional
activities that are enjoyed with family and friends.
The stories of successful hunting trips and competition
medals won are passed down through generations and
have created the fabric of the sport shooting culture
around the world . . .
--The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute
advocates the legitimate, safe and responsible use
of sporting firearms, and the right of free passage
of those firearms through member states . . .
--It is difficult in the limited time I have this
morning/afternoon to capture the full value of hunting
in the modern world, but I will try. Hunting is at
the core of what makes us human, and contrary to what
some may think, hunters celebrate wildlife and have
done more to help conserve wildlife and habitat than
any other single group in history . . .
--The economic impact of hunting supports more than
wildlife conservation, however. Economic stimulus from
hunting is visible globally, from small towns in rural
America to small villages in African countries where
a dependable, yearly food and revenue stream is vitally
important. When wildlife is considered as a valuable
commodity to protect and conserve, it works to prevent
the illegal taking of game and the eventual devastation
of species and their habitats.
--. . . In countries such as Namibia, a popular destination
for hunters, the economic impact of hunting is substantial,
amounting to well over 100 million Namibian dollars
and totaling approximately 14 percent of the tourism
sector . . .
--So in conclusion, I urge that this group consider
carefully the benefits sport shooting and hunting convey
to hundreds of millions of law-abiding citizens around
the globe, prior to formulating any policies or directives
which address our mutual goal of creating appropriate
policies regarding the international transport and
transfer of fully automatic military weapons. These
important goals, both of them, can be addressed and
obtained, so long as we all have a proper respect for
the rights of law-abiding citizens of disparate cultures
and lifestyles that must be allowed to co-exist if
all of us are to enjoy the right to the pursuit of
happiness, each in our own way.