CODE OF ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
The purpose of the statement of policy on business practices is to provide all FEGA members with a clear standard of professional conduct.
FEGA encourages the highest level of professional conduct in firearms engraving that is in the best interest of the profession, clients, and the public.
Members of FEGA are dedicated to pursuing their work with the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and competence.
FEGA members recognize their obligations towards their clients, the public, their fellow members of FEGA, the guild, and their industry. It is their intention to be worthy of the confidence and respect of those with whom they come in contact in the engraving trade.
This Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct states guidelines for the conduct of Members in fulfilling those obligations.
The Code is arranged in two tiers of statements: Ethical Standards and Rules of Conduct.
Ethical Standards (E.S.) are broad principles of conduct and more specific goals toward which Members should aspire in professional performance and behavior.
Rules of Conduct (Rule) are mandatory; violation of a rule is grounds for disciplinary action by the Guild.
The Code applies to the business activities of all classes of Members, wherever they occur. It addresses responsibilities to the public and to clients, which the profession serves and enriches; and to the art of engraving - that continuum of knowledge and creation which is the heritage and legacy of the profession.
Commentary is provided for some of the Rules of Conduct. That commentary is meant to clarify the intent of the Rule. The commentary is not part of the Code. Enforcement will be determined by application of the Rules of Conduct alone; the commentary will assist those seeking to conform their conduct to the Code and those charged with its enforcement.
Knowledge and skill:
ES1. Members should maintain and advance their knowledge of the art of firearms engraving, respect the body of engraving accomplishment, contribute to its growth, thoughtfully consider the impact of their professional activities, and exercise learned and uncompromised professional judgment.
ES2. Members should make a sincere effort to improve their professional knowledge and skills and achieve a high standard of quality in work.
Rule 2.1 In practicing engraving, Members shall demonstrate a consistent pattern of reasonable care and competence, and shall apply the technical knowledge and skill which is ordinarily applied by engravers of good standing.
Commentary: By requiring a "consistent pattern" of adherence to the common standard of competence, this rule allows for discipline of a Member who more than infrequently does not achieve that standard. Isolated instances of minor lapses would not provide the basis for discipline.
Standards of Excellence:
ES3. Members should continually seek to raise the standards of aesthetic excellence, engraving education, research, training, and practice.
ES4. Members should uphold human rights in all their professional endeavors.
Rule 4.1 Members shall not discriminate in their professional activities on the basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation.
Allied Arts & Industries:
ES5. Members should promote allied arts and contribute to the knowledge and capability of both gunmaking
and the engraving industries as a whole.
Obligations to the Public
ES6. Members should embrace the spirit and letter of the law governing their professional affairs and should promote and serve the public interest in their personal and professional activities.
ES7. Members should uphold and comply with all federal, state and local laws in the conduct of their professional activities.
Rule 7.1 Members shall not, in the conduct of their professional practice, knowingly violate the law.
Commentary: The violation of any law, local, state or federal, occurring in the conduct of a Member's professional practice, is made the basis for discipline by this rule. This includes the federal Copyright Act, which prohibits copying works without the permission of the copyright owner. Allegations of violations of this rule must be based on an independent finding of a violation of the law by the Ethics Committee.
Rule 7.2 Members shall not engage in conduct involving fraud or wanton disregard of the rights of others.
Commentary: This rule addresses serious misconduct whether or not related to a Member's professional practice. When an alleged violation of this rule is based on a violation of a law, then its proof must be based on an independent finding of a violation of the law by the Ethics Committee
Rule 7.3 If, in the course of their work on a project, the Members become aware of a decision taken by their employer or client which violates any law or regulation and which will, in the Members' judgment, affect adversely the safety of the finished project, the Members shall:
advise their employer or client against the decision,
refuse to consent to the decision, and report the decision to the Ethics Committee, which shall attempt to cause the matter to be satisfactorily resolved by other means.
report the decision to the BATF, if charged with the enforcement of the applicable laws and regulations.
Commentary: This rule extends only to violations of the laws that threaten the public safety. The obligation under this rule applies only to the safety of the finished firearms project.
Rule 7.4 Members shall not counsel or assist a client in conduct that the engraver knows, or reasonably should know, is fraudulent or illegal, i.e. false serial numbers or proof marks, historical authentication, etc.
ES8. Members should be involved in civic activities as citizens and professionals, and should strive to improve public appreciation and understanding of firearms engraving and the functions and responsibilities of engravers.
ES9. Members shall honor their legal, financial, and ethical obligations.
Obligations to the Client
ES10. Members should serve their clients in a timely, competent and professional manner when performing all professional services.
ES11. Members should honor the engraver-client agreement for scope of work, compensation, timing, method of payment, schedules, and methods of communication; and should assure that unaccounted for fees are returned promptly if a client elects to stop or suspend services.
Rule 11.1 In performing professional services, Members shall take into account applicable laws and regulations. Members may rely on the advice of other qualified persons as to the intent and meaning of such regulations.
Rule 11.2 Members shall undertake to perform professional services only when they, together with those whom they may engage as consultants, are qualified by education, training, or experience in the specific technical areas involved.
Commentary: This rule is meant to ensure that Members not undertake projects which are beyond their professional capacity. Members venturing into areas which require expertise they do not possess may obtain that expertise by additional education, training, or through the retention of consultants with the necessary expertise.
ES12. Members shall act in the client's best interest within the limits of one's professional responsibility.
Rule 12.1 Members shall not materially alter the scope or objectives of a project without the client's consent.
ES13. Members should make every effort to adjust promptly any cause of client dissatisfaction.
ES14. Members should safeguard the trust placed in them by their clients. An engraver shall treat all work in progress prior to the completion of a project and all knowledge of a client's intentions and business as confidential and shall not divulge such information in any manner whatsoever without the consent of the client.
Rule 14.1 Members shall not knowingly disclose information that would adversely affect their client or that they have been asked to maintain in confidence, except as otherwise allowed or required by this Code or applicable law.
Commentary: To encourage the full and open exchange of information necessary for a successful professional relationship, Members must recognize and respect the sensitive nature of confidential client communications. Because the law does not recognize an engraver-client privilege, however, the rule permits a Member to reveal a confidence when a failure to do so would be unlawful or contrary to another ethical duty imposed by this Code.
Conflict of Interest:
ES15. Members should avoid conflicts of interest in their professional practices and fully disclose all unavoidable conflicts as they arise.
Rule 15.1 A Member shall not render professional services if the Member's professional judgment could be affected by responsibilities to another project or person, or by the Member's own interests, unless all those who rely on the Member's judgment consent after full disclosure.
Commentary: This rule is intended to embrace the full range of situations that may present a Member with a conflict between his interests or responsibilities and the interests of others. Those who are entitled to disclosure may include a client, employer, or others who rely on or are affected by the Member's professional decisions. A Member who cannot appropriately communicate about a conflict directly with an affected person must take steps to ensure that disclosure is made by other means.
Rule 15.2 When acting by agreement of the parties as the independent interpreter of an engraving contract and/or the judge of contract performance, Members shall render decisions impartially.
Commentary: This rule applies when the Member, though paid by the owner and owing the owner loyalty, is nonetheless required to act with impartiality in determining the engravers professional responsibilities.
Candor and Truthfulness:
ES16. Members should be candid, truthful, and timely in their professional communications and keep their clients reasonably informed about the clients' projects.
Rule 16.1 Members shall not intentionally or recklessly mislead existing or prospective clients about the results that can be achieved through the use of the Members' services, nor shall the Members state that they can achieve results by means that violate applicable law or this Code.
Commentary: This rule is meant to preclude dishonest, reckless, or illegal representations by a Member either in the course of soliciting a client or during performance of their work.
Rule 16.2 Members shall not, without the permission of their client, take or reproduce designs, drawings, or other materials relating to the client’s work, whether or not performed by the Member.
Rule 16.3 An engraver shall not accept instructions from a client which involve infringement of another person's property rights without permissions, or consciously act in any manner involving any such infringement.
Obligations to the Profession
ES17. Members shall apply the best efforts toward providing the best possible engraving services and to raise the general standard of engraving craftsmanship.
ES18. Members shall conduct personal and professional affairs with high standards, and maintain a distinction of manner in behavior, in the presentation of engraving and engraving services, in appearance and that of studio or place of business, and in all other forms of public contact.
ES19. Members shall honor the intellectual property rights of others and protect the copyrights and moral rights of other creators.
Rule 19.1 Members will either seek the approvals and/or agree to pay the established royalties/licensing fees before using others patents and copyrights.
ES20. Members shall earn, establish and maintain a reputation for giving maximum values at a fair price.
Honesty and Fairness:
ES21. Members should pursue their professional activities with honesty and fairness.
Rule 21.1 Members having substantial information which leads to a reasonable belief that another Member has committed a violation of this Code which raises a serious question as to that Member's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a Member, shall file a complaint with the Guild’s Board of Directors.
Commentary: Often, only an engraver can recognize that the behavior of another engraver poses a serious question as to that other's professional integrity. In those circumstances, the duty to the engraver's calling requires that a complaint be filed. Confidentiality will be maintained on a complaint that invokes professional standards, and is protected from a libel or slander action if the complaint was made in good faith. If in doubt, a Member should seek counsel before reporting on another under this rule.
Rule 21.2 Members speaking in their professional capacity shall not knowingly make false statements of material fact.
Commentary: This rule applies to statements in all professional contexts, including applications for licensure and FEGA membership.
Dignity and Integrity:
ES22. Members should strive, through their actions, to promote the dignity and integrity of the profession, and to ensure that their representatives conform their conduct to this Code.
Rule 22.1 Members shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that those who represent them conform their conduct to this Code.
Commentary: What constitutes "reasonable efforts" under this rule is a common sense matter. As it makes sense to ensure that those who represent engravers be made generally aware of the Code, it can also make sense to bring a particular provision to the attention of a representative when a situation is present which might give rise to violation.
ES23. Any self-promotion, advertising, or publicity must not contain deliberate misstatements of competence, experience, titles, or professional capabilities.
Rule 23.1 Members shall not make misleading, deceptive, or false statements or claims about their professional qualifications, experience, titles or performance and shall accurately state the scope and nature of their responsibilities in connection with work for which they are claiming credit.
Commentary: This rule is meant to prevent Members from claiming or implying credit for work which they did not do, or qualifications they do not have (i.e. "Master" or "Colt" Engraver), misleading others, or denying other participants in a project their proper share of credit.
Obligations to Colleagues
ES24. Members should respect the rights and acknowledge the professional aspirations and contributions of their colleagues.
ES25. Members should facilitate the professional development of associates when possible.
ES26. Members should build their professional reputation on the merits of their own service and performance and should recognize and give credit to others for the professional work they have performed.
Rule 26.1 Members shall recognize and respect the professional contributions of their professional colleagues and business associates.
Rule 26.2 Members shall not, without the permission of a colleague, take or reproduce designs, drawings, or other materials relating to a colleague’s work.
ES27. Engravers in pursuit of business opportunities should support fair and open competition based upon professional qualifications and merit.
ES28. An engraver must not attempt, directly or indirectly, to replace another engraver through unfair means; nor must he or she compete with another engraver by means of unethical inducements.
ES29. An engraver must be fair in criticism and shall not engage in malicious or deliberately inaccurate denigration of the work or reputation of a fellow engraver.
ES30. Members shall show a spirit of cooperation to fellow engravers, assist them whenever possible, freely exchange information with other members when requested, and encourage them individually and collectively to achieve and maintain the highest standards of quality.
ES31. Members shall obey this code of ethics and the terms and conditions of the bylaws and membership in the Guild.
ES32. Members shall refer clients, when necessary, to other qualified guild members.
ES33. Members should donate time for the betterment of the profession and to advise entry level engravers.
ES34. Members will uphold the By-Laws of our Guild and support those who are looking after the success and
welfare of the Guild and its members, and in its efforts to inform and educate all those interested in the
ES35. Members recognize the authority of this Association in all matters relating to the interpretation of this code shall also agree to be bound thereby, including the provisions in this code and the bylaws for mandatory and binding arbitration.
Rule 35.1 A FEGA member against whom a complaint is filed, by virtue of membership in FEGA, agrees to resolve the dispute by binding arbitration under the rules of this code.
Rule 35.2 Members shall comply with the Rules of this code or be disallowed use of the guild logo, or any other privileges of membership, as determined by the Ethics Committee.
ES36.Members will honor all local, State, and Federal laws pertaining to engraving and the pursuit thereof.
Rule 36.1 Members shall not violate any local, State, or Federal law pertaining to engraving.
RULES OF APPLICATION, ENFORCEMENT, AND AMENDMENT
The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct applies to the professional activities of all members of FEGA.
The Bylaws of FEGA state procedures for the enforcement of the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Such procedures provide that
Enforcement of the Code is administered through committee, appointed by the FEGA Board of Directors.
Formal charges are filed directly with the Board by Members, clients, or anyone directly aggrieved by the conduct of the Members.
Penalties that may be imposed by the Ethics Committee are:
Admonition (warning, notice, caution, advise)
Censure (condemn sternly, officially reprimand)
Suspension of membership for a period of time
Termination of membership
Appeal procedures are available.
All proceedings are confidential, as is the imposition of an admonishment; however, all other penalties shall be made public.
The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct may be amended by the Board of Directors under the same procedures as are necessary to amend the Guild’s Bylaws.