The state of firearms industry is optimistic

The annual SHOT Show is the firearms industry’s “premier live branding event,” and the premier “face-to-face marketplace,” officials with the National Shooting Sports Foundation said Tuesday night at the annual “State of the Industry” dinner.

The dinner, which drew more than 2,400 people, is one of SHOT’s largest gatherings.

While on the surface, the dinner features great food and camaraderie, it actually offers a lot more. It’s a chance for NSSF leaders to speak directly to their members. It’s also the best place to gauge the tenor and tone of the firearms industry, since the NSSF is the voice of the firearms industry and their leaders have always been truth-tellers who refuse to candy-coat anything business related.

If the business climate is bad, they say it’s bad.

At this dinner, they were optimistic.

Robert Scott, chair of NSSF’s board of governors, updated the members on where their money was spent over the past year.

It came as no surprise when Scott announced that NSSF had spent $20 million on the 2016 elections. Specifically, nine Senate races were targeted. Seven were won.

“The gun controllers lost!” said NSSF President and CEO Stephen Sanetti. “We look forward to a new hope, to a time when we may breathe a bit easier.”

Sanetti outlined NSSF’s “hopes” for the future.

I liked his characterization — hopes rather than goals.

He “hopes” that new shooters will continue to invest themselves into the sport — shooters of “all races, nationalities and orientations.”

Sanetti hopes that “international treaties and protocols respect the right to self-defense.”

He also hopes that shooter and hunter funds such as monies we willingly pay through the Pittman-Robertson Act will be awarded to research that is scientifically sound. Over the years, I chronicled how Pittman-Robertson benefits have been misspent on trendy junk science — sometimes decidedly anti-gun.

“We need to stay unified in the better days that look like they’re coming for this industry,” Sanetti said. “Now is the time to make things we hope for happen.”

In my humble opinion, hearing just that quote made all the money, time and energy my team has invested in covering this show worthwhile.

TV Host Mike Rowe headlined the event.

Rowe, of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” was one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard. More importantly, for this evening and this crowd, he was the perfect choice.

Featured guest speaker Mike Rowe at the start of his presentation. TGW Photo/Carrie Rasmussen

Featured guest speaker Mike Rowe at the start of his presentation. TGW Photo/Carrie Rasmussen


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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