The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Board of Governors has announced that Steve Sanetti has accepted the position of president and chief executive officer of NSSF, effective May 1.
The Board of Governors began the search for a new president and CEO following its annual meeting in late February.
Sanetti is well known throughout the firearms industry, having spent 28 years with Sturm, Ruger and Company as an executive and general counsel, and been a member of the NSSF Board of Governors and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) Board of Directors.
“Steve is one of the most well-respected individuals in our industry,” said Robert Scott, chairman of the NSSF Board of Governors. “His experience and good judgment have been valued at Sturm, Ruger for decades and by the industry at large for his role in helping defeat the municipal lawsuits filed against our industry.”
Sanetti said he was thrilled to be taking the helm of the 47-year-old trade association. “Although I’ve been in this industry for 30 years and associated with the NSSF Board of Governors for 15 of those years, the challenges we all face will be new and constantly changing. The only way we will survive and prosper is to be flexible in our thinking and creative in our problem solving. New situations demand novel approaches, and I am confident that with the skilled staff and thousands of loyal members of NSSF we will continue to help increase participation in and understanding of the shooting sports we are so passionate about.
“I am excited to begin this new phase of my career at a place where I can have a positive and lasting impact on the future of hunting and shooting,” he added.
Sanetti was hired by Bill Ruger in 1980 to be the company’s first general counsel and rose up through the executive ranks to become, in 2003, president, vice chairman of the board and chief operating officer, the position he currently holds. A founding member of the Firearms Litigation Support Committee, Sanetti helped direct the successful coordinated response to municipal lawsuits that threatened the firearms industry in the late 1990s.
In addition to his legal and executive experience, Sanetti brings strong communications skills to the position, having written numerous articles and given many interviews defending the lawful and responsible ownership and use of firearms. He has spoken on 60 Minutes, ABC News Nightline, CNBC, National Public Radio and before various federal and state legislative bodies.
Sanetti is an avid hunter, target shooter, firearms collector and amateur gunsmith who was a three-year member of his college rifle team and later the team’s coach. He was the enthusiastic captain of many victorious Ruger shooting teams at industry competitions and says his favorite hobby is to spend a day target shooting with his family.
A 1971 Distinguished Military Graduate (with honors) of the Virginia Military Institute, Sanetti earned his law degree from Washington & Lee University Law School. He served as a captain in the U.S. Army from 1975-1978 and was chief of criminal law for the First Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood, Texas.
At the Board of Governors meeting last month, Doug Painter, president and CEO of NSSF for the last six years, requested a change of position to become senior advisor and trade liaison. Painter praised the choice of Sanetti as his successor, “Steve has a tremendous knowledge of our industry and a real passion for our sports. He is a true believer in our cause.”
NSSF’s Mission Statement
“Our purpose is to provide trusted leadership in addressing industry challenges and in delivering programs and services to meet the identified needs of our members.”