The industry begins 2013 much differently than any of us predicted. The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School ignited a full-out assault on firearms, gun owners and the industry.
While the outrage over the shooting of young children is understandable — I’m outraged — much of the anger is misdirected. Yes, I’m outraged. How could anyone commit such a crime, one of such hideous proportions? As a father (my oldest daughter is a schoolteacher) and grandfather, the shooting in Newtown, Conn., is heartbreaking — really, words fail to describe the horror of it all.
So, yes, I share with you the outrage over this horrific crime. However, I have the wherewithal to separate the firearm from the person who uses it illegally. Unfortunately, that ability has long been lost on those who abhor firearms and those who own them — along with those who manufacture, distribute and sell them. The anti-gun/anti-industry movement, aided in massive proportions by many in the media, is once again exploiting a tragedy to advance its agenda.
The “movement” has found new life, calling for new laws, banning of certain firearms, criminalizing gun owners and maximizing this opportunity for more “commonsense gun laws.”
And the media know no shame. No detail of the lives of the schoolchildren and their families, no matter how personal or sensitive, was off-limits. Sensationalism and exploitation were what mattered. Screaming headlines, outrageous accusations and belittlement of gun owners were and continue to be the signature of many segments of the media that exploit disaster for its “entertainment” value.
In truth, the exploitation of violence is one of the major problems in our country. It permeates movies, TV, video games, the Internet and the news, all in the name of “entertainment.” Our culture of violence needs to be addressed far beyond exploring new ways to prevent law-abiding citizens from owning firearms.
For the industry, and gun owners, it remains to be seen how far all this will play out, as we face new gun laws and restrictions. Already, laws have been passed to ban certain firearms and to restrict how others may be purchased. More bills will follow.
It’s more important than ever for the industry to stand together and stand strong.
As an added note, the shooting at Sandy Hook has impacted the folks at NSSF headquarters in Newtown significantly. We must remember that those who work at NSSF on behalf of the industry also have families. They are also part of the community, many of them making Newtown and the surrounding area their home for many years. Their lives, just like all those who live in that part of Connecticut — and really all of us — have been changed profoundly forever.
Winchester Model 73
Winchester Warms Hearts
It may not be the “newest, most innovative, unique, industry changing” rifle introduced for 2013, but Winchester’s return of the Model 1873 is a heart-warmer.
How can anyone resist picking up “The Gun that Won the West” and working that lever? Just like the original, this Model 73 has a classic blued steel crescent buttplate and 20-inch round barrel, and an oil-finished walnut stock. It is chambered in .357/.38 Special and carries a $1,299.99 MSRP.
By Russ Thurman
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