USA - -(Ammoland.com)- On the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Larry Keane, watched the news in disbelief.
Down the halls at the gun industry group’s offices, he could hear his co-workers crying as the TV showed the school’s smashed windows and clusters of terrified children.
It had all happened fewer than two miles from his desk.
“There aren’t even words to describe the unbelievable coincidence that this occurred where we happened to be located,” Keane said in an interview with The Hill last week.
The shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn. — where the NSSF has been based for more than two decades — was among the deadliest in history, leaving 20 children and six educators dead in addition to the gunman and his mother.
For the firearms industry group in the center of the small New England town, it was a tragic irony that forced them into the epicenter of a nationwide gun debate. It also left the gun lobby with a tarnished reputation, accused of profiting from deadly weapons, that it is still trying to repair.
Until Dec. 14, 2012, the NSSF had faced little public scrutiny as it lobbied on behalf of more than 10,000 gun manufacturers, retailers and ranges. As a much smaller — and quieter — counterpart to the National Rifle Association, it wasn’t hard to avoid attention.
In the two years since the shooting, the NSSF has doubled down on its safety programs, including efforts to improve the country’s background check system.
“We’re not bad neighbors, we’re not the bad guys,” said Keane, who splits his time between his Newtown and his Washington, D.C., office — about a 10-minute walk from the Senate’s entrance.
The protests outside the NSSF started just days after the final funeral parade passed through town.
Word had spread quickly that the yellow office building at the corner traffic light was home to a lobbying group that aimed to make it easier for companies to buy and sell guns.
Hundreds of moms and dads from newly formed groups like Newtown Action Alliance brought their kids and picketed outside for hours. They wore “Sandy Hook” green and held up signs and photos of the slain children and teachers.
NSSF officials mostly kept their heads down.
The group released a statement expressing sympathy for the families of the victims, but initially stayed clear of issues like…
Read the rest or the article here:http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/lobbyist-profiles/231533-a-gun-lobbyist-from-newtown