SHOT Show buzzing about new gun control measures
LAS VEGAS — (www.utsandiego.com), On the day when President Barrack Obama announced 23 executive orders, many dealing with gun control to attack gun violence in America, membership sign-ups at the National Rifle Association booth here at the gun industry’s annual convention were brisk.
One NRA employee refused to comment on whether the amount of sign-ups were more than normal, but hardly a minute passed without someone stopping by to either become a new NRA member or renew.
It was as if the attendees were taking very seriously a warning issued the previous night by a former U.S. Governor. On the eve of President Obama’s announcement, former Mississippi Gov. Hayley Barbour warned the shooting industry that the worst is yet to come from our political leaders.
“Make no mistake about it, you are under siege . . . you are under attack,” Hayley said, speaking Tuesday night at the SHOT Show’s annual State of the Industry Dinner.
But it was clear that Obama’s announcement shook many members of the gun industry who are here for the 35th annual SHOT Show, a gathering of more than 60,000 men and women connected to the gun industry. That includes 2,000 media.
Gun dealers and manufacturers who readily talked Tuesday about their guns refused to comment on Wednesday after Obama’s announcement. It was especially true at booths here that are offering what some label “military-style weapons,” at least by Obama’s definition. It was the second day of the SHOT Show. SHOT stands for Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade Show.
At Remington Arms Co. booth, company representatives referred all questions about gun issue to Teddy Novin, the company spokesman. He passed through the booth, but said he was swamped with requests and would get back. He didn’t.
Over at NRA News booth Wednesday, radio talk show host Cam Edwards spoke out against Obama’s proposals. One of his guests, Oliver North, a combat-decorated Marine Lt. Colonel and conservative columnist and author, took a strong stance against Obama.
“I don’t see how some of these measures are going to help him do what he says he wants to do,” North said shortly after being a guest on Edwards’ show. “I don’t see how the appearance of a firearm is going to change a thing in terms of protecting kids. I don’t see how you could constitutionally say that in order to purchase ammunition for a firearm that you have to now get a background check. I don’t see how some of these things are going to be effective in accomplishing anything except an infringement on what is supposed to be an uninfringeable Second Amendment.”
Outside the NRA booth, Molly Smith, a 16-year-old member of the Smith & Wesson shooting team from Cambria, Calif., and a junior team captain, said she shoots an eight-shot 627 Smith & Wesson revolver in competitions. New York’s new tough gun laws passed late Monday night in Albany actually outlaw any gun clips that hold more than seven shots. President Obama is calling for a ban on any clips with more than 10 shots.
“My focus is to make sure there is gun safety,” Smith said. “That’s why I’m here. I do action shooting, so that means shooting on the move, shooting at moving targets. That’s what I love. But I believe in safety first.”
Randy Johnson of Ultimate Firearms out of Howell, Mich., was at the NRA booth to renew his membership in the gun advocacy group. He said he does it every year at the SHOT Show or some other gun-related show. He said Obama’s new gun laws, if passed by Congress, won’t affect his company’s biggest seller, muzzleloaders, but it will impact some of the company’s guns and many manufactured by others.
“I haven’t heard it all today, but I did hear they’re going to address the mental illness issue, and that’s good,” Johnson said. “Every state hospital I ever heard of has closed down and is not being used anymore. They’re blaming the gun, but every time I get in a car accident I’d like to blame it on the car, but I can’t. It’s not the hammer’s fault when I smash my thumb. It’s not the fork’s fault that I’m fat. It just drives me nuts. It’s just ludicrous.”
In the afternoon, the NRA issued a statement, saying in part, “Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.”