By Russ Thurman
The wide scope of the attacks on guns, gunowners and the industry since the horrific shooting in Florida in February reveals the extent anti-gun organizations have advanced their agenda, tactics and messaging.
There is a reason for that, beyond their obvious disdain for all things “guns.” It’s their job. And they’ve become very good at what they do.
Today, the anti-gun movement is well-funded. Millions of dollars pour into numerous anti-gun organizations. In truth, it’s now a major “industry,” devoted to redefining gun ownership, mentoring a new generation of anti-gun crusaders and crushing the firearms industry.
Sounds bleak, right? On the surface, perhaps, but the industry is in the fight. And it’s having an impact.
In The Fight
First, some good news. In March, the FBI conducted 1,503,967 (NSSF-adjusted) background checks, a 10.8 percent increase over the 1,356,929 checks in March of last year. More importantly, it was the highest March in the history of NICS, and second only to December 2017 (1,621,261) in the number of background checks since December 2016.
The March numbers pulled the year’s first quarter out of the negative column, posting a 1.0 percent increase in background checks (3,731,375, NSSF-adjusted) over the first quarter of 2017 (3,693,502). Viewed alone, this may not create much excitement, but given the downward spiral in sales, it’s welcome.
On Capitol Hill and elsewhere, NSSF has done a lot of heavy lifting. The foundation has provided much-needed direction to the “run about and shout” insanity unleashed by legislators committed to “doing something!”
Thanks to NSSF, Fix NICS is now a law. It’s ironic Fix NICS suddenly became the must-pass legislation on Capitol Hill, given that NSSF created the FixNICS campaign in 2013, and it’s been a major topic of every NSSF Congressional Fly-In since its launch.
During NSSF’s annual Congressional Fly-In last month, industry leaders met with legislators to address age-based gun bans, the Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act, the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, the Hearing Protection Act, the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act and Export Control Reform.
In other positive news, in March, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law SB408, which makes it a Class H felony to make a straw purchase in the state. The penalty: a $10,000 fine and 6 years in prison.
In a refreshing move, Wells Fargo announced it wouldn’t stop doing business with the firearms industry, a move made by some major financial institutions.
“I don’t know if banks or credit card companies or any other financial institution should be the arbiter of what an American can buy,” said Tom Sloan, Wells Fargo CEO.
In Georgia, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle led a legislative move that denied Delta Airlines a $38 million tax exemption for jet fuel after the Atlanta-based airliner ended its discounts for NRA members.
“I’m tired of conservatives being kicked around on our values. It’s time we stand up and fight and show corporations that conservative values are important, not just to Georgia, but to the entire nation,” Cagle said.
In response to students who walked out of school to support gun control, other students in Colorado, Florida, Utah, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, conducted counter walkouts and marches.
“It’s all over the news right now that all students hate guns. I wanted to show not all students feel that way,” said Zachary Schneider, a junior at Rockledge High School in Brevard County, Fla.
Even Remington’s financial restructuring ranks high in the positive news category. For the first time in decades, Remington can truly look to the future.
“We will emerge from this process with a deleveraged balance sheet and ample liquidity, positioning Remington to compete more aggressively and to seize future growth opportunities,” said Anthony Acitelli, Remington CEO.
Spread The Word
Yes, there are plenty of cries for more gun control and restrictions on the industry. Yes, there are plenty of battles to be fought, but it’s not as dire as the media portrays. In March, an AP survey of state legislatures revealed an “uphill climb in a majority of states” for tighter gun laws.
Let’s continue that uphill climb. A good place to start is to heed the words from Springfield Armory. In the company’s February “Spread The Word” message, Springfield highlighted the final four words of the Second Amendment: “Shall Not Be Infringed,” concluding with:
“Now is the time to act. With the specter of further Second Amendment infringements looming tall over the nation, it is imperative that you contact your Legislators and demand that they uphold their oath to protect the Constitution of our beloved United States of America. Freedom is not free. It must be fought for against the forces who would happily give up our most sacred rights and freedoms.”
Salutes to Springfield! Thanks for the call to action.