The State of the Gun Industry is ‘Alert’
By Jeff Knox
(January 21, 2016) The annual Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show is under way in Las Vegas this week, and the massive trade show is experiencing record crowds. The show is not open to the public, but is limited to people in the industry. Even with these restrictions, the SHOT Show attracts more than 1,600 exhibitors and some 64,000 attendees during its 4-day, mid-week run. Most of those attendees are gun dealers, manufacturers, or importers looking to ink deals to buy or sell guns, ammunition, knives, accessories, clothing, or other hunting, shooting, or survival gear, and to see what their competitors are offering.
As my brother Chris and I have walked the aisles of the show for the past two days, examining exhibitors’ wares and talking with them about guns and politics, we’ve found consistent concern about the upcoming Presidential Election. With Hillary Clinton the presumptive candidate for the Democrats, in spite of her many scandals and the ongoing FBI investigation of her illegal handling of classified documents, and Republicans still whittling down their perspective candidates, and suggestions that leadership has cut a deal with Donald Trump, gun guys are justifiably worried about the future.
While Clinton and her avowed Socialist opponent, Bernie Sanders, argue about which of them is more dedicated to the cause of gun control, the Republican candidates are arguing the exact opposite. Front-runner Trump has put out position papers declaring his unyielding support of gun owner rights and opposition to gun control schemes, but, as opponents like Ted Cruz have been quick to point out, only a few years ago, Trump was advocating in favor of various gun control proposals, such as a renewed “assault weapon” ban. Trump supporters counter with challenges to Cruz’s claim of being an “avid” hunter, because he has only had a Texas hunting license off and on for a few of the past several years. And Marco Rubio has been criticized for a vote he cast while in the Florida State Senate, supporting private property rights over an NRA-backed bill to forbid the banning of firearms in locked vehicles in company parking lots.