Stand Together, Stand Strong


The past few days have been difficult for me, both as a father and passionate member of this industry. I have two young boys, with my oldest just finishing his first year of preschool this week. When the news came in about a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, my heart sank. I stopped what I was doing and gave each of my boys a huge hug. As more details unraveled, I was struck with anger, shock, sadness and disbelief — what happened is tragic. How could anyone have the capacity to commit such a heinous, evil, cowardly crime?

In the fallout, the instant politicization from the other side has made it all the harder. We’re hurting, they’re hurting — we’re all human. But as members of this dynamic industry, we’re able to separate the firearm from the person who uses it illegally. Those who abhor firearms and firearms ownership are once again using a tragedy to advance an anti-gun/industry agenda, and we need to be ready for it.

There will be renewed calls to ban certain kinds of firearms, reduce magazine capacities, red flag laws and more. (Already, at the state level, N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul is pushing for age-based gun bans.) In addition, Friday, May 27, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform reportedly sent letters to five manufacturers (Bushmaster, Daniel Defense, SIG SAUER, Smith & Wesson and Ruger) — stating, in part: “The Committee is investigating the sale and marketing of your company’s AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles and similar firearms to inform legislative efforts to achieve common-sense gun safety reform to save Americans’ lives.”

In his remarks the evening of the school shooting, President Joe Biden said the idea an 18-year-old can walk into a gun store and buy an AR “is just wrong.” He added it’s time to turn “pain into action.”

“For every parent, for every citizen in this country, we have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: It’s time to act,” he said. “It’s time — for those who obstruct or delay or block the commonsense gun laws, we need to let you know that we will not forget.”

Now, more than ever, we as an industry need to stand together and stand strong. We can engage the “other side” of this issue, presenting them with facts and educating them on successful industry-led programs like NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program.

NSSF released a statement following the Uvalde tragedy, which read, in part: “It is impossible to rationalize the irrational acts of a depraved individual who would harm innocent children and the schoolteachers who care for them. We continue to pray for the victims and their families. NSSF has long advocated – and will continue to advocate – for real solutions to prevent unauthorized access to firearms by criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, children and others who cannot be trusted to handle firearms in a safe and responsible manner.”

The industry has made a lot of inroads over the past two years, with an estimated 14 million first-time gun buyers from diverse backgrounds, and we’re going to need to dig in and get ready for an all-out assault on firearms, gun owners and the industry.

Highlighting industry-led safety programs with a proven track record, like NSSF’s Project ChildSafe,
will be one way to educate an engage those who think our industry doesn’t care about gun safety.