Springfield Armory CEO releases bizarre Orwellian ‘trust us, you must’ infomercial

Dennis Reese, Springfield’s CEO and owner has just released a powerful four-minute piece of propaganda titled: “Springfield Armory Supports the Second Amendment.”

Make no mistake, using images that are dripping with patriotic and religious symbolism, this video has strong ju-ju.

It opens with an aerial shot of a cross on top of a church steeple. There’s an American flag incorporated into a Springfield Armory logo and an overhead of a typical small-town street scene — God, country, family.

A melodic, almost hypnotic, piano plays throughout the piece.

Reese opens by mentioning Illinois’ gun dealer licensing bill, which he vows to fight “to the very end.”

The bill, SB-1657, was just voted out of committee and now heads to the Illinois House floor.

Reese never once mentions that his firm and Rock River Arms were carved out of the horrible legislation, or that his paid lobbyist funneled tens of thousands of dollars to anti-gun politicians.

Instead, the CEO talks history — how his parents had to mortgage the family farm in 1974 in order to purchase the Springfield Armory name — a mortgage, I’m sure, that has long since been paid in full.

Next comes Rob Leatham, who’s identified in the video as a “Champion pro shooter.”

Leatham is wearing a grey polo with no markings or logos. The fact he’s sponsored by Springfield Armory or that he’s been captain of the Springfield Armory shooting team is never mentioned.

“The Reese family has always been involved in the battle for Second Amendment rights,” Leatham said of his boss.

I feel sorry for Robbie.

Next to make a cameo is Geneseo, Illinois Mayor Kathy Carroll-Duda, who evokes the specter of economic harm to the community that a downturn in gun sales could bring.

Carroll-Duda says she’s “fighting to keep jobs in Illinois right now.”

Reese next explains that he was unaware of the carve-out controversy.

It was all his lobbyist’s fault.

“I had to force myself to delegate over the years, to allow the business to grow,” adding that he delegated responsibility to his lobbyist, who served as executive director of the Illinois Firearms Manufacturing Association, a now-defunct four-member lobbying group Reese controlled along with the owner of Rock River Arms.

“He, unfortunately, didn’t understand the graveness of what this bill was. We had to terminate his employment and disband the organization,” Reese explained. “We’re doing our best to prove to the folks that don’t believe us that we are taking this very seriously.”

Appearing as though he was near tears and about to cry, Reese talked about the “great pride” he has in being a member of the community.

It made me wonder how many times they had to shoot this scene, and whether Reese can cry on demand.

“I would never want to let them down,” he said. “I hope they will understand that this was completely unintentional. I own up to it, it’ll never happen again. I am asking for their forgiveness and their trust.”

My take

Never in my life have I seen anything like this video.

After watching it several times I began to wonder: How stupid do the folks at Springfield Armory think we are?

It seems like they’re not content to merely try to control the message. Now, they want to rewrite the narrative and repackage it themselves.

Leni Riefenstahl could not have done any better.

If Reese now wants to come clean and heal his self-inflicted wound, I’d strongly recommend simply picking up the phone and answering some questions — and I have a lot of questions — about who did what, when and why.

Total transparency and complete honesty are the only way out of the hole that he keeps digging deeper every single day.

Using an over-produced infomercial that’s chock-full of misdirection and Jedi mind tricks only makes Springfield Armory look guilty, and it shows they’re still unwilling to let the facts speak for themselves.

What could they still be trying to hide, and where are the droids I’m looking for?

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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.

14 Comments

  1. Old McDonald on

    You probably saw the thing at TTAG where the lobbyist guy say he just did what they paid him to do. THAT seems most plausible to me.

  2. They try really hard to go for “the feels”, but no, it is hogwash. IMHO they just keep digging deeper and deeper. Supposedly over at TTAG, the rumor is that SA and/or RRA might sue TTAG. That would be just about the worst move they could make, and believe me, I’ve got no love for Robert Farago or his site. But when you’re right, you’re right….

    • The libel suit talk will fizzle. Trust me: I know a bit about libel laws. Not only would Reese have to prove that what TTAG published was wrong, because he’s a very public figure he’d have to prove malice — that TTAG knew it was wrong but published the falsehoods anyway because they were out to get him. That’s a damn high hurdle. Besides, TTAG would get discovery. They’d get access to internal emails and other records as part of their defense. There’s no way in hell SA or RRA would want to turn over their documents. To sum, any lawsuit talk is just bravado.

      • I’m sure you’re right, although I am reminded of the Fire Clean/Andrew Tuohy thing….. It may not be the same situation though. Still, suing seems to be everyone’s answer these days.

  3. The video seems sincere to me. Should we drop reading you the first time you make a mistake? Given SA long history of supporting the second amendment, I am willing to forgive and move on to defeat the bill. I suggest we all support the effort to defeat this legislation.

    • LOL! Feel free to drop reading me the second I funnel tens of thousands of dollars to anti-gun pols and then lie about it. And don’t forget, there wouldn’t even be a bill without SA and RRA’s complicity.

  4. you and your blog suck. Change your name to “Bubba”. You don’t have any critical thinking skillset.

  5. Good article, Lee.

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall of those offices, but unfortunately we weren’t there so we’ll never know what possessed the people at SA and RR to do what they did. Frankly, that kind of back door dealing is just foreign to me. Illinois has been a tough place for the firearms industry and honest American gun owners for a very long time, so I suppose it’s not unfathomable that some people might try something like this to insulate themselves and their business interests from totalitarian government regulations. But it is disappointing. Better to have integrity like Beretta did in Maryland and Magpul in Colorado, and stand up for the entire Second Amendment community.

    BTW, have you seen the email and press release from Rock Island Armory making sure people know the difference between them and Rock River? You can see it on the Rock Island site under ‘Press releases.”

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