I miss the good ol’ days when companies operated with a sense of honor.
When they screwed up, they’d take responsibility, admit their mistakes, ask for their customers’ forgiveness and forbearance and then move forward.
Rock River Arms and their neighbor Springfield Armory have been embroiled in an ongoing controversy of their own making ever since it was learned they donated tens of thousands of dollars — either knowingly or unknowingly — to anti-gun Illinois politicians. They’d hoped the pols would carve them out of a horrible anti-gun bill, SB-1657 which, among other bad things, would require Illinois gun dealers to be licensed by the state.
The two firms’ shenanigans were outed by The Truth About Guns.
The way Springfield Armory responded to the PR crisis was, until now, the worst I’ve ever seen. But Rock River Arms’ response just set a much, much lower bar.
I had high hopes for her and Rock River Arms. I really hoped she’d do the right thing.
At the very minimum, I hoped she’d admit her firm made a mistake.
Boy, was I wrong.
Larson first said Rock River Arms had broken ties with the Illinois Firearms Manufacturing Association — which is only a four member board. Rock River Arms had one seat. Springfield Armory had two, and their now-fired lobbyist held the fourth IFMA directorship.
This was a bit disingenuous because, basically, both companies were distancing themselves from themselves.
And then the attack began.
Larson took after the good folks at The Truth About Guns, which she referred to as an “activist website.”
“This boils down to a small, so-called gun-rights activist website that took the majority of things out of context, to make it sound like Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory were IFMA,” she said. “We did not have control over all actions. IFMA acted autonomously on our behalf.”
I’ve said this before: If the two firms didn’t know how their money was being spent, they should have known. When it comes to funneling funds to anti-gun politicians, ignorance is never an excuse.
Larson then decried Illinois politics, which have almost become a blood sport.
“I can’t get into all the details of the politics, as this is still a very real threat,” she told Mark. “Now, we are left with partial truth and fake news driving wedges between the different parts of our firearms community.”
Personally, the only wedge-drivers I’ve seen are Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory, and it’s high time they knock it off!
“Now, we are all working against one another,” Larson said. “How can one call themselves a Second Amendment activist when all they do is take things out of context, present half-truths and, seemingly and purposefully, create conflict within the firearms community.”
Larson said she was perplexed by the “bandwagon” jumpers, as her firm had no history of bad acts.
“We’ve never done anything like this before, and we certainly didn’t intend to do it now,” she said. “We weren’t involved with the decisions being made, and we learned about it when everyone else did.”
Larson said the firearms community must “stay unified and continue to fight for our gun rights.”
And then she fired her final salvo: “We cannot allow a small group of Second Amendment activists to continue to drive wedges and spread fake news among our firearms community.”
After listening to Larson’s statement, twice, a couple things came to mind.
First, it appears as though she’s operating with some type of outdated misconception about public relations.
Her if you can’t handle the message, shoot the messenger attempt at damage control doesn’t work. It’s just misdirection and spin — very transparent misdirection and spin. And since her offender is The Truth About Guns, it’s patently false and almost laughable.
TTAG’s staffers did nothing wrong and should be lauded for their public service.
If they hadn’t outed the shenanigans, Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory would likely not be spending thousands of dollars — right now — to defeat this extremely anti-gun legislation.
In my humble opinion, what the activists did is pretty damn far from half-truths or fake news. Actually, the gun community could use a lot more of this type of activism.
TTAG has a cracker-jack team of writers and subject-matter experts. The BS Larson spouted about them says more about her and her firm’s desperation than it does TTAG.
One more thing: Kudos to Mark Walters for getting Rock River Arms on the record.
A lot of us have tried.
I just wish they had something substantive to say.