By Russ Thurman
The gun-control advocacy du jour is to demand more gun laws. It seems lost on even veteran lawmakers the firearms industry is already one of the most heavily regulated in the nation.
Earlier this year, American Outdoor Brands Corp. (AOBC) and Ruger officials responded to a wide range of questions regarding how the two publicly traded companies conduct business. The responses deserve a thorough reading, even by industry veterans.
Courage To Make Us Safer
“We are a proud and law-abiding company that is rooted in the history of America — a country built on the freedoms and processes that we all treasure. As such, we support a comprehensive discussion regarding preventing violence in our communities, and we are committed to reviewing all reasonable proposals with an open mind …,” wrote Barry M. Monheit, AOBC chairman, and James Debney, AOBC president and CEO.
“[C]alls for us to monitor the illegal use of our firearms are misguided, since doing so would be ineffective in preventing such misuse. … As a practical matter, it is no more realistic or feasible for us to monitor whether our legal firearms are used in criminal ways than it is for a car manufacturer to monitor how often a drunken driver causes a tragic accident with one of their vehicles, or for a mobile phone company to monitor whether its mobile devices are used in terrorist activities.
“We do, however, work closely with the ATF and other law enforcement agencies to help trace firearms used in crimes. On average, we receive over 11,000 requests per year from the ATF to trace firearms allegedly used in crimes.
“We are not opposed to the development of ‘authorized user recognition’ or so-called ‘smart gun’ technology, nor, do we believe, is the firearms industry. We are opposed, however, to legislation that would require the use of such technology, especially when it is not yet proven safe and reliable.
“The solution is not to take a politically motivated action that has an adverse impact on our company, our employees, our industry, our shareholders, the economies we support and, significantly, the rights of our law-abiding customers, but results in no increase in public safety. We must collectively have the courage to ensure any actions are guided by data, by facts, and by what will actually make us safer — not by what is easy, expedient or reads well in a headline.”
Ruger’s Corporate Culture
“Our long-standing motto, ‘Arms Makers for Responsible Citizens,’ exemplifies our corporate culture, and is aptly demonstrated by our long history of promoting the safe and responsible ownership and use of firearms,” wrote C. Michael Jacobi, Ruger chairman, and Chris Killoy, Ruger president and CEO.
“Before a new Ruger firearm can legally reach a domestic consumer, three federally regulated transactions are typically required (manufacturer to distributor, distributor to retailer and retailer to consumer). These requirements are the baseline, as many states and local governments have additional regulations (waiting periods, additional licensure requirements, etc.) that must be satisfied before a retailer can transfer a firearm to a consumer.
“Despite assertions to the contrary, effective ‘smart gun’ technology does not exist; thus far, those devices advanced as ‘smart’ have proven unreliable, easily defeated or both. Fundamentally, the advocated purpose of so-called ‘smart guns’ is to prevent unauthorized access to firearms, a goal we have long shared. We have been shipping locks with pistols and revolvers since 1987 — for over 30 years. We began shipping cable-locking devices with long guns in 1999, and since then, we have shipped over 19 million locks.
“We do not plan to discontinue the manufacture or commercial sale of Modern Sporting Rifles. Some of the inquiries we have received suggest a misunderstanding of how Modern Sporting Rifles operate. … Although the mechanism is different, this basic operation (one shot for each pull of the trigger) is the same as the Standard Pistol Bill Ruger introduced in 1949.
“The company does not condone violence involving the criminal misuse of firearms. However, the intentional criminal misuse of lawfully manufactured, distributed and sold firearms is solely the responsibility of those who misuse them. We do not support, and cannot support, stripping millions of law-abiding citizens of their Second Amendment right to own a firearm due to the evil actions of a small number of criminals.”
There is, of course, significantly more detail in the AOBC and Ruger documents. They provide dramatic insight into what these companies do — far and above the “required” — as responsible U.S. firearm manufacturers. A thorough reading of both documents provides a better understanding of the industry.
Visit www.aob.com. Click “Investor Relations,” then select “Response of American Outdoor Brands … Letter dated March 1, 2018.”
Visit www.ruger.com/corporate. Under “8K-S8-SD Reports,” click “March 12, 2018.”