Industry Celebrates Trump’s Upset Victory
By Russ Thurman
The upset election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, while catching many by surprise, was celebrated as a welcome victory for gun rights and the protection of the firearms industry.
Trump, while not viewed as the ideal canadate, promised to respect the Second Amendment and the business of firearms. Hillary Clinton, from the first days of her campaign, attacked firearms, gunowners and the industry.
On Nov. 8, few in the industry believed Americans would elect Trump, a political outsider, over Clinton, the veteran politician backed by a massive political machine and supported by virtually every media outlet in the nation.
However, voters created one of the biggest upsets in the nation’s history.
“Well, I didn’t see this coming. Oh, wait, no one saw this coming, but I couldn’t be happier,” said Steve Hornady, president of Hornady Manufacturing. “Keeping the Senate while getting a Republican president means the Supreme Court is secure for a very long time. The PLCAA [Protection of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act] is secure for now, and with more time, it will become the ‘law of the land.’”
“I’m pretty surprised,” said Mike Fifer, Ruger CEO. “My biggest concern was for the long-term impact on the make up of the Supreme Court. Now, there’s some good news that we will get conservative justices over the next few years. All the things Hillary threatened to go after, from PLCAA to the Heller case, hopefully, they’re off the table for now.”
“Naturally, I’m very pleased with the results,” said Bryan Tucker, Davidson’s CEO. “I urge all Americans to give Trump a chance, regardless if you’re a Democrat, Republican or Independent. Give him a change to get some things accomplished. We in the firearms industry should not gloat over this election. We must conduct ourselves with class and as professionals.”
“The big win for the industry is we actually have a chance to protect the future of the industry and the country, because of the potential Supreme Court nominations that will be coming from Trump. The Supreme Court — that’s really the big win-win for the industry,” said Bill Kempffer, Deep River Sporting Clays president. Kempffer is also chairman of the NSSF Range Advisory Council.
The November elections didn’t eliminate all attacks on firearms or the industry. Four states — California, Maine, Nevada and Washington — had gun issues on their ballots, with all of them passing except a call for expanded background checks in Maine.
“We have to remain ever vigilant. If we’re to project the Second Amendment, we have to remain very active,” Fifer said. “The average gun owner should take notice of what happened in Maine. Voter’s there approved six of seven ballot measures, but flat-out said ‘no’ to increased gun background checks. Folks in California and everywhere else don’t just have to accept that gun rights are inevitably going to be chipped away until they’re all gone. They can fight back.
They can get to the ballot. They can get their voice heard. They can lobby their legislature. People don’t have to give up.”
“We cannot get complacent, because the threats have not gone away. There likely will be more proliferation of state initiatives, because of a lack of confidence that there will be any federal initiatives concerning gun control. We have to battle those, but at the same time conduct ourselves properly,” Tucker said.
“Obviously there will be battles at the state and local level. But the wind is out of [Michael] Bloomberg’s sails, so we’ll see what we can push back. Some of the laws we’ve seen on private sales will have zero effect on crime, but will be a significant impediment for a while until we learn how to work with them. And then we can work on getting them repealed,” Hornady said.
“To continue the fight, dealers and range operators need to contact their representatives at the county, state and federal levels. They need to share what their businesses do, and how they involved in the community. For ranges, invite your representatives out for a range day. Always put your best foot forward and get involved in the community and get the community involved with you. Do something that will benefit the community,” Kempffer said.
The NSSF was deeply involved during the national campaign to educate voters through #GUNVOTE. NSSF reports there were nearly 20 million #GUNVOTE video views on all platforms, and almost 200 million impressions on NSSF’s Facebook page.
“We thank all those Americans who supported NSSF’s 2016 #GUNVOTE voter education and registration initiative. We know that we can count on you. You should know that we remain steadfast in our mission to help promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports,” NSSF said.
Berger Bullets Joins Nammo Group
Berger Bullets, producer for 60-plus years of rifle bullets for varmint hunting, target shooting, game hunting and tactical use, announces it has joined the Nammo Group.
“Having Berger Bullets on board is the perfect match for Nammo. Their products, which are complementary to our other premium brands, will strengthen our group’s strategic position in the U.S. commercial ammunition market,” said Morten Brandtzæg, president and CEO of the Nammo Group.
Berger Bullets joins Nammo’s premium commercial ammunition components and ammunitions brands SK, Vihtavuori and Lapua. The four brands will continue to operate as unique brands servicing precision rifle shooters, while working together to enhance their collective offerings and services.
“Supported by Nammo, Berger will continue to produce the highest-quality rifle bullets in the world. Written words fail to describe how excited we are about the future of Berger Bullets and the growth of the other premium Nammo brands within the U.S. market,” said Eric Stecker, president of Berger Bullets.
Walt Berger and Bryan Litz, along with the rest of the existing Berger team, will continue on as part of Nammo’s U.S. growth plan.
The completion of the acquisition will be subject to regulatory approvals by U.S. governmental authorities.
NSSF Assists Firearms Retailers, Ranges After Louisiana Floods
The NSSF has undertaken a disaster relief effort to help its members whose businesses were impacted by the late-summer floods in Louisiana’s Baton Rouge region.
“We want our member companies to know that their trade association stands with them in these challenging times, and that this assistance is another benefit of membership,” said Bettyjane Swann, NSSF director of member services.
With the recent approval of its board of governors, NSSF has made $100,000 available in dedicated aid for business loss or damage resulting from the Baton Rouge area floods to qualifying member companies, with emphasis placed on providing relief to store-front federally licensed firearm retailers and shooting ranges. Funds are available to members suffering significant financial hardship and unable to pay for critical and immediate expenses to resume business.
“This is a real pick-me-up for businesses that sustained damage,” said Bill Kempffer of Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School in Sanford, N.C. “As a range that was affected by a hurricane in the 1990s, and knowing the struggle of returning to normal operations amid the cleanup and repairs that need to be done, I am proud to be a part of an organization like NSSF that is willing to provide such help.”
Applicants for relief may contact NSSF Member Services at (203) 426-1320 ext. 209. A Flood Relief Fund Application is available online at www.nssf.org/floodrelief.
Vista Outdoor Acquires Camp Chef
Vista Outdoor Inc. has acquired privately owned Camp Chef (Logan Outdoor Products LLC and Peak Trades LLC), a provider of outdoor cooking solutions. Camp Chef was founded in 1990 in Logan, Utah, and has approximately 50 employees. The company is being integrated into the Outdoor Products segment of Vista Outdoor.
Camp Chef’s products offer efficient ways to cook for outdoor gatherings. The brand offers more than 250 products including camp stoves, barbecue grills, pellet grills, smokers, fire pits and a full line of cast-iron cookware and accessories.
The completed transaction enhances Vista Outdoor’s position within one of the camping market’s most attractive categories, complementing its existing portfolio of 50 brands in shooting sports and outdoor recreation.
“The Camp Chef transaction aligns with Vista Outdoor’s strategy to deliver long-term value through acquiring complementary, market-leading brands that will benefit from Vista Outdoor’s balance sheet, distribution network and sales and marketing expertise. Led by an entrepreneurial management team, Camp Chef has a nimble and responsive product development process,” said chairman and CEO Mark DeYoung.
“The opportunity to be part of this dynamic company will provide for the future growth and success of Camp Chef as a leader in our market. The hard work and dedication of Camp Chef employees, past and present, has made Camp Chef what it is today. We look forward to the opportunities ahead,” said Ty Measom, Camp Chef president.
Vista Outdoor will pay a total purchase price of $74 million for Camp Chef, comprised of $60 million in cash paid at closing and $14 million in cash to be paid out in equal installments on the first, second and third anniversaries of the closing date, subject to certain agreed-upon conditions. A majority of the payment of $14 million of the deferred purchase price will be contingent on continued employment of key members of management and certain other conditions. The purchase price will also be subject to a customary working capital adjustment.