By Russ Thurman
The industry continues to focus on rebounding from the steep drop in sales across most segments earlier this year. While there is still volatility, there are encouraging signs the market is improving. Reports of improved sell-through of products from distributors to dealers are a welcome signal the clogged inventory channel is clearing.
In addition, there was an abundance of excitement at the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in April, with thousands of NRA members and their families swarming company booths, reflecting continued enthusiasm in the consumer base. President Trump’s address to NRA members in Atlanta contributed significantly to the excitement, and comfort level, in knowing we have a pro-gun president.
All pretty encouraging, indeed.
But, there’s also a danger in all the excitement — and comfort. Such moods create complacency, a dangerous diversion away from those who believe firearms and the industry are evil.
The election of President Trump and a pro-gun majority in Congress did not derail the anti-gun movement. Rather, it energized the movement and unleashed a greater level of viciousness.
“What do gun lobby lapdogs in Congress and ISIS have in common? They love permissive gun laws that allow absolutely anyone, no matter how dangerous, to buy guns. In fact, ISIS’ top propaganda magazine is once again encouraging recruits to buy their guns in the U.S. Why? Because in most states you can buy a gun at a gun show or online with no background check and no questions asked — even if you’re a terrorist. And Congress is letting them get away with it,” wrote Dan Gross, Brady Campaign president, in an email to supporters on May 5.
Gross’ email embraces the anti-gun propaganda presented in a May 5 article in The Washington Post: “Islamic State magazine steers followers to U.S. gun shows for ‘easy’ access to weapons.” The article reflects The Post’s anti-gun policy and is overloaded with misleading information.
In a fact-packed response, the industry fired back.
“According to The Washington Post, terrorist propaganda materials argue it is easy to obtain a firearm in the U.S. with no ID and no background check. While the materials make it clear that one cannot walk into a federally licensed firearm retailer (FFL) and expect to walk out with a firearm without undergoing a background check, there are, not surprisingly, plenty of other facts that ISIS gets wrong,” wrote Larry Keane, NSSF senior VP and general counsel, in a May 8 posting, which is available at www.nssfblog.com.
Keane debunks the article’s misinformation regarding firearm purchases at gun shows, pointing out, “The vast majority of guns sold at guns shows go through federal background checks.”
“This is why so few criminals obtain firearms at gun shows. According to the Justice Department, less than one percent (0.7) of state and federal prison inmates that possessed a firearm during their current offense acquired their guns from gun shows,” Keane wrote.
Keane also addresses the article’s misleading information regarding robbing gun dealers, the terrorist watch list and the suggestion that it’s easy to purchase a “fully automatic assault rife.”
Putting it in all into perspective, Keane concludes with, “One would think that The Washington Post would be more concerned about the sources it uses for its reporting. We wonder if ISIS has written about how to fool the mainstream media.”
Fighting The Movement
So while we in the industry are focused on building our businesses, the anti-gun lobby — and their eager allies in the media — is focused on destroying those businesses.
Twenty years ago, I wrote, “In the industry, you open the door to your business, check on employees, inventory, deal with your customers and hundreds of details and fight the anti-gun movement. It’s a daily part of doing business.”
Today, it’s the same.
Yes, it’s encouraging to have a pro-gun president and pro-gun majority in Congress; however, it’s extremely dangerous to relax our all-out fight against those who would put us out of business. And the “us” is all of us. Yes, it’s great to have NSSF, NRA and other organizations in the fight, but each of us must be involved.
Firing off emails to legislators, visiting lawmakers, ensuring each of us know what is going on in our local governments is vital to countering a well-funded, determined — even outraged — anti-gun movement.
To do otherwise is foolish and disastrous for each of our businesses and the future of the industry.