At the 2015 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, I had the chance to catch up with my buddy Michael Bazinet, the Director of Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association that puts on SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, in case you were wondering what “SHOT” stood for).
Mike’s a great guy and his job is to basically field questions from the mainstream media on guns, gun ownership and the gun community. Needless to say, he spends a lot of his time enlightening jaded journalists who have been indoctrinated with the anti-gun narrative propagated by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. As it turns out guns aren’t really evil personified, who knew?!” Joking aside, Mike’s job is a vital one. He helps to set the record straight on both the benefits of and the quintessential need for the Second Amendment.
We talked briefly about the show, the state of the industry, demographic trends within the gun community and how to stop the forward momentum of the Bloomberg machine, which gained ground on the universal background check front after passing I-594 in Washington State in November.
To give you a quick rundown, the show went great. It was the second highest attendance ever, with nearly 64,000 folks on site at the Sands Expo Center. Last year was the highest, with 67,000 attendees, but as Mike pointed out there was a concerted effort this year to limit the number of “gun tourists” and to make the show more business friendly (Trust me, that’s a great idea. SHOT is a total zoo at times with 64,000 attendees. I couldn’t imagine how crazy it’d be with 70,000-plus milling about the showroom floor).
As for 2014, it was another stellar year. Particularly around the holidays, where there was a huge spike in sales. As Mike pointed out, “Sales at the end of the year were the second highest ever.” I believe this bodes well for 2015. But we shall see. As Mike said, the year is still very young.
Demographics are changing. “Twenty percent of the consumer base is woman, which represents an historical high,” said Mike. Another good sign that the gun community is growing and that the industry is breaking the stereotype that gun ownership is a male-dominated niche.
Lastly, with respect to Bloomberg, Mike was candid about how to stop the gun-control czar in his footsteps.
“What is absolutely essential, is that residents in each state become active because you are the people, the gun owners, the industry within a state, that has the most effect on stopping that sort of forward motion,” explained Mike.
“We can help from a national level and for sure we will but we need activists, grassroots people in the state to stand up and talk to your neighbors, your family members to stop these ineffective laws from going forward,” he continued.
In other words, the NSSF can’t do it all. Nor should it for that matter, in my opinion. It takes activism on all fronts to stop Bloomberg, particularly at the grassroots level. If we are to defeat Bloomberg, we have to do it at the local level first.
What questions do you have for the NSSF?