Ganging Up to Defend Hunting

By W. Laird Hamberlin, SCI/F CEO

This article originally appeared in the 2023 July edition of Safari Times.

Things are happening on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean these days, which is great news because SCI is expanding its presence at all levels.

First, the ownership of SCI’s headquarters building in Washington, D.C., has transferred from the SCI Foundation to SCI. There will be more information soon about what all of this means. Meanwhile, this is a good move for both SCI and SCIF and demonstrates how these two organizations continue to fine-tune their strategies and activities in ways that further the critical missions of both groups.

Right on the heels of the building transfer, I had an outstanding opportunity to meet with SCI members, chapters and supporters at various locations and events in Europe.

The European Chapters meeting in June focused on further expanding our presence on the continent with more chapters and a resulting added influence politically there.

SCI European Chapters are doing amazing things, thanks to heightened levels of coordination and cooperation. In today’s high-tech world, it is crucial that SCI expands around the globe.

These latest efforts in Europe make it clear that Europe is more important now than ever, and it is heartening to see what great members and chapters we have there. They are the best of the best.

Three generations of the Beretta family welcomed SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin to their company’s facility in Gardone, Italy. Shown here, from left, are Carlo Beretta, Hamberlin, Ugo Gussalli Beretta and Franco Beretta.

Also, while in Europe, I had the pleasure to stop by two family gunmaking firms — one of which is the oldest such company in the world. I am talking about Beretta, which has been making guns and gun parts since 1526. The other is Fausti, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.

While at the Beretta facilities in Gardone, I had the pleasure to meet with three generations of the Beretta family: Ugo Gussalli Beretta, representing the 14th generation of the Beretta family; Franco Beretta, representing the 15th generation; and Carlo, representing the 16th generation.

Just a little way up the valley (Val Trompia) from the Beretta facilities is the Fausti factory in Marcheno. Fausti sisters Barbara and Giovanna were excellent hosts, and I learned a lot about how they make guns while there.

While at the Fausti factory in Marcheno, Italy, SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin met with sisters Giovanna Fausti, left, and Barbara Fausti.

Both Beretta and Fausti are longtime SCI/F supporters, and we thank them for everything they have done for the organizations and hunting overall.
On June 9, SCI’s ally, the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE), hand-delivered 360,500 petitions to the European Union’s Commissioner for Environment Virginijus Sinkevicius.

The petitions were the result of FACE’s SignforHunting campaign, in which hunters from across Europe called on the EU to recognize the contributions of hunters in conservation and to work with them to save Europe’s habitats and wildlife rather than work against them.

What all of this means to hunting is that SCI is growing bigger and stronger internally while it also is partnering effectively with like-minded organizations. See page 6 of the July Safari Times for more information.

This is a force multiplier in that SCI and the other organizations are stronger, both individually and collectively, than they could have been on their own. To put it bluntly, we’re ganging up in our fight to save hunting, and it is working.