By Russ Thurman
The beginnings of the 2018 business year are in sharp contrast to a year ago. Then, there was a lot of optimism regarding doing business in a non-Obama era. A year later, there is apprehension in the industry. What will the new year bring?
While the industry may be unclear as to how business will fare this year, there is one element we can count on: The anti-gun movement will continue its battle against firearm ownership and the industry.
It’s important to note those in the anti-movement are as dedicated and passionate about their goals as those of us in the firearms industry. Make no mistake, the movement is making progress — one cut at a time.
In recent years, with the failure to pass any national anti-gun laws, the anti-gun movement has shifted most of its emphasis to the states. From California to the Midwest to the Northeast, increases in state and local laws have chipped away at the rights of gunowners, and hindered how dealers and ranges do business.
Amplifying that message are the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown For Gun Safety, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, along with others.
Last year, the Brady Campaign suddenly changed leadership. Co-presidents Kristin Brown and Avery Gardiner replaced longtime president Dan Gross. With the change came a shift in tone of the organization’s messaging to attract more “middle-of-the-road” citizens. The group also profiled those “fighting the gun industry,” such as Jon Lowy, who “celebrated” 20 years as a Brady lawyer.
“Lawyers can be a jaded, unhappy bunch, but the truth is, most days I would pay to do what I do. And I’m ready to keep fighting the gun lobby for another 20 years, if that’s what it takes to make America safe,” Lowy wrote.
Yes, those on the “other side” are dedicated and passionate.
Everytown For Gun Safety, funded in large part by Michael Bloomberg, hasn’t modified its approach. It continues to spew anti-gun, anti-industry messages, many of them inaccurate.
In December, House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) cited information from Everytown in a tweet regarding the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R.38).
“Inviting violent criminals to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives. Inviting domestic abusers to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives. Inviting convicted stalkers to carry concealed weapons doesn’t save lives. Yet the @HouseGOP just voted to do exactly that,” Pelosi wrote.
Well, that’s not true. Even The Washington Post, not exactly a champion of gun ownership, gave Pelosi “Three Pinocchios” out of a possible four.
We all know even if the anti-gun message is false, the impact is often the same: Minds are changed. People are nudged in the direction of more gun laws and restrictions on the industry.
In December, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence coordinated a letter to Congress from 16 senior retired military officers, urging lawmakers to address the “gun violence crisis.”
“I think we need to have reasonable people come to the table and have a discussion, and need to understand that they have a responsibility to carry this conversation forward so we can deal with the risk that’s currently in our society,” said retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen.
The challenge is finding “reasonable people” who will represent the anti-gun movement.
What is the impact of all this?
In April 2017, in a CBS News Poll, 54 percent of those surveyed said “the sale of guns should be made more strict.”
October 2017, 52 percent of respondents to a CNN poll said they favor “stricter gun control laws.”
Also in October, Gallup reported 60 percent of those polled believed “laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict.” This reflects a gradual increase from a low of 43 percent in October 2011.
We in the industry who are concentrating on our businesses may not notice the change, but the anti-gun movement is making progress. It’s gun control by a thousand cuts.
It’s not just the job of NSSF, NRA and other organizations to battle the anti-gun movement. It’s all of our jobs to know what laws are being proposed in our communities and states, and to get involved in the fight.
Failure to do so relinquishes the battlefield to the enemy, along with our businesses.