by James C. Fulmer | Past President, NMLRA
The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Founded in 1933 during the Great Depression, the NMLRA has grown and changed with the times, moving into the 21st century while holding on to the past. The NMLRA continues to promote this country’s firearm heritage through shooting, hunting and competition with muzzleloading rifles, pistols and shotguns. Last year during the September NMLRA Board of Directors’ meeting the directors voted in the first woman president of the NMLRA, Becky Waterman. She was born into an NMLRA family and grew up living and breathing muzzleloading firearms and American heritage.
During the 2013 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, as newly elected president of NMLRA, Becky met with Tom Mason, secretariat of the World Forum on Shooting Activities in America (WFSA).
The NMLRA is an associate member of the WFSA and has worked with them in the past. Here the NMLRA again offered to give any assistance to the WFSA.
The WFSA is an association of hunting, shooting and industry organizations.
For over 15 years the WFSA and its member associations have attended every major UN conference affecting hunting or sport shooting. The WFSA is an official United Nations Non-governmental Organization (NGO) recognized by the Economic and Social Council of the UN General Assembly. It is one of the few NGOs in the world to be invited to speak before one of the five committees of the UN General Assembly.
When the WFSA asked the NMLRA to speak at the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty on March 21, the NMLRA didn’t hesitate to represent and defend the muzzleloading shooting sport at the world level.
NMLRA President Rebecca Waterman and NMLRA Managing Director Morgan Mundell made the trip to the UN in New York City. Here late Thursday afternoon with many other members of WFSA the president of the NMLRA presented the following remarks before the UN: “Mr. President, I am Rebecca Waterman, President of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, an association member of World Forum on Shooting Activities. Our primary membership is in the United States, but I believe I speak for the many, many users of antique and muzzle loading arms in other jurisdictions.
“Mr. President, I will be extremely brief. I wish to address the question of the inclusion of antique firearms and their replicas, which most muzzleloaders are, within the scope of the ATT.
“Mr. President, there is no need or justification for the inclusion of antique firearms within the category of small arms. There is substantial international commerce in antique firearms and their replicas, but by no stretch of the imagination are they some kind of threat that should be included within the ATT.
“Mr. President, examining the record, we have not found one mention of antique firearms and their replicas being perceived as a threat.
“Mr. President, subjecting the international commerce in antique firearms and their replicas to an ATT will be an unjustified and unnecessary burden on that commerce.
“Indeed, Mr. President, this very issue was addressed during the drafting of the UN Firearms Protocol.
Article 3 (a) excludes antique firearms from the Protocol. It says, and I quote, ‘Antique firearms and their replicas shall be defined in accordance with domestic law. In no case, however, shall antique firearms include firearms manufactured after 1899.’ “Mr. President, we have submitted a version of this Firearms Protocol language to effectuate the exclusion of antique firearms and their replicas from the ATT.
“We sincerely hope that you and this body will follow the precedent of the Firearms Protocol.” The UN Arms Trade Treaty was followed by the media. The Shooting Wire, The Outdoor Wire, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and many, many others including this publication. They all gave excellent coverage to the treaty in many press releases. The sad part about all this is why would the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association even have to attend? Why has common sense become so un-common? In the treaty itself it reads, “This Treaty shall apply to all conventional arms within the following categories: Battle Tanks; Armored combat vehicles; Large-caliber artillery systems; Combat aircraft; Attack helicopters; Warships; Missiles and missile launchers; and small arms and light weapons.”
Why would it be so hard to separate out antique or replica muzzleloading firearms from other modern military small arms and light weapons?
The Treaty will be talked about and discussed by everybody over the next few weeks. The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Senior Vice-President and General Counsel Lawrence Keane stated, “We hope that the Members of the US Senate are closely watching the White House abandon its principles and promises in the rush to ramrod the flawed treaty into effect.
Not only will they later be asked to ratify this attack on our constitution and sovereignty, but they will also be lavished with new promises from the administration in its drive to push a broad gun control agenda through the US Senate when it returns from recess. They would be right to question those promises strongly.”
What this all means to the reader is be informed! Read, watch, listen, get your facts and act. I am sure in the next few weeks you will be asked to contact your state senator. Do it! This is not about letting the other person do it; you are the other person. If you are reading this and don’t vote, change that: get registered—your vote counts. Talk to everybody you know, and if they are not registered to vote, get them registered. It is time for common sense. It is time for action.