Anti-Gun Movement Takes Note Of Industry

It was a “we have arrived” event for the industry in April, one of those odd, welcoming moments when the opposition takes note that you are “a force to be reckoned with.”

Two days before executives from throughout the industry met in Washington, D.C., to take part in NSSF’s 2014 Congressional Fly-in, the Brady Campaign sent an email alert to its supporters, calling on them to “Outshout The Gun Lobby.”

Such messaging from the Brady Campaign and other anti-gun organizations is common; however, this time the email alert focused on the “National Shooting Sports Foundation.” To my knowledge — and I’m sure I will be quickly corrected if I’m wrong — this was the first time the Brady Campaign specifically targeted NSSF.

“If you’ve ever wondered how the corporate gun lobby gets members of Congress into their back pockets, you need only to look at their ‘Congressional Fly-In’ taking place this week in D.C.,” the email alert reads. “This three-day gun lobby power trip — sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation — features cozy meetings between industry executives and members of Congress, plus a fundraising dinner to toast their dangerous ‘Stop Background Checks’ agenda.”

Why is the Brady Campaign, arguably the major power broker in the anti-gun movement, suddenly paying attention to NSSF? Simply put, NSSF is having an impact as the “voice of the industry.” In the past, NSSF has generally been grouped with numerous other firearms organizations as part of the “gun lobby.” Now, NSSF is the “corporate gun lobby.”

In the email alert, Brady makes reference to last year’s NSSF Congressional Fly-In. On April 17, 2013, NSSF and industry executives were visiting Senators and Congressmen when the Senate failed to pass several anti-gun bills. It was a major defeat for President Obama and the anti-gun movement.
“Many of the Senators who will be meeting with these extremists voted against expanding Brady background checks just last year while taking money from gun industry executives,” the Brady email reads.

Yes, there’s an overload of hypocrisy in the “alert.” But the takeaway: the NSSF and the industry are having an impact, countering the often dishonest messages from the anti-gun movement.

In addition to other Brady email alerts, there were Brady-supported protests during this year’s Fly-In.

“To be noticed by them, to be picketed by them, frankly, means we have arrived,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO. “We are a force they feel has to be reckoned with, and if you look at it from the other side of the table, if they think we are a force to be reckoned with, that’s a pretty good endorsement of what we’re doing.”

Mark Your Calendars

This year’s Fly-In was a success, far beyond the “recognition” by the Brady Campaign.

Visiting with senators and congressmen, company executives discussed a number of important issues. These included the industry’s $37.7 billion national economic impact, funding for NSSF’s Project ChildSafe, support for the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, protection of traditional ammunition, increasing the Congressional notification threshold and additional funding to reduce ATF’s form-processing times.

However, fewer company executives took part in this year’s Fly-In compared to 2013, likely because there was no major, national anti-gun “emergency.” Yes, traveling to Washington, D.C., and visiting Congressional offices is not high on the list of favorite things to do. But it’s important. I was honored to take part in this year’s event.

At next year’s NSSF Fly-In, top executives from hundreds of companies should be represented. Yes, NSSF has established itself as the “voice of the industry,” however, it’s important Congress hears directly from those who lead industry companies.

Mark your calendars to be at next year’s NSSF Fly-in, likely to be scheduled during April 2015.

More On Fly-In

Next month we’ll take a closer look at this year’s NSSF Fly-In, including hearing from company executives who took part in this year’s event.


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Rock Island Armory Offers Dealer Rebates

Dealers, the new Rock Island Armory Stocking Rebate Program offers a high-capacity magazine worth of benefits.

The four-level program offers annual training and sales packages for your sales team, and provides you with direct firearm ordering from the distributor of your choice.

Other benefits include free firearms for your store and a “stocking dealer” listing entry in the Rock Island Armory online dealer directory, found on the company’s website.

The program offers money toward the purchase of Rock Island POS items or Rock Island and Armscor gear, accessories, parts and merchandise and features four Stocking Dealer levels, with numerous options and benefits to choose from.



SIG SAUER Chambers Its Own Ammo

SIG SAUER is in the ammo business. The company rolled out its Elite Performance Ammunition line in April. The personal-defense ammunition features a proprietary stacked hollowpoint bullet — what the company calls the “SIG V-Crown Jacketed Hollowpoint.”

The five introductory bullet weights and calibers are: 90-grain .380 Auto, 124-grain 9mm Luger, 125-grain .357 SIG, 165-grain .40 S&W and 200-grain .45 Auto.

“We are excited to enter the ammunition market and will be adding additional bullet weights for pistols as well as rifle ammunition in the months ahead,” said Jeff Creamer, SIG SAUER director of product management.

Company officials report the ammo is being manufactured in the U.S. by SIG SAUER, using custom-designed loading equipment and a proprietary loading process, with every round undergoing a hand and visual inspection.



LaserMax Gives Away Year Supply Of Ammo

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, LaserMax is giving away a one-year supply of ammunition as part of its Spring Ammo Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes highlights the importance of recurrent firearm training.

“There is simply no substitute for getting adequate trigger time,” said Celia Crane, LaserMax PR and social media manager. “The high prices and limited availability of ammunition has created a barrier to live fire training, which is crucial for the development and maintenance of a shooter’s firearm proficiency.”

Crane said the company views the sweepstakes as a “terrific opportunity to create excitement in the shooting sports community as well as encourage shooting practice with lasers.”

The Spring Ammo Sweepstakes ends June 20, 2014.



Media Backlash Handled Well

No one likes negative press, but when it happens, how you respond can make the situation better or worse. Salutes to ArmaLite for its handling of the backlash from an “offensive” advertisement earlier this year.

The company was criticized for an advertisement featuring an image of Michelangelo’s statue of David holding an ArmaLite AR-50A1 rifle. ArmaLite officials, who acquired the company in July 2013, apologized, even though they did not create the advertising campaign.

“I believe that an advertisement utilizing an altered photograph of a masterpiece such as David is in poor taste. We deeply regret that ArmaLite offended anyone by this media campaign, which we ended upon our acquisition of the company. We will make every effort to be sure that any remnants from the campaign are removed from the public,” said Mark Johnson, CEO of Strategic Armory Corps LLC, the current owner of ArmaLite.

Federal Court Nails “Fair Guide” Scammer

For years, NSSF has warned its SHOT Show exhibitors to avoid Construct Data and its deceptive and misleading trade show directory scams. Construct Data produces “Fair Guide” and “Expo Guide.” Finally, justice has prevailed.

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced a federal court has banned the Slovakia-based company from the trade show directory business and entered a $9 million judgment against them.

“That’s great news for everyone in the trade show business, and we’re pleased to pass this news along to all of our SHOT Show exhibitors,” NSSF officials said.

By Russ Thurman

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