Last week, the National Rifle Association disinvited the United States Concealed Carry Association from the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits.
I was a bit taken aback by this. I have an affinity for the NRA and it’s no secret that USCCA is one of GunsAmerica’s great partners (You should check out our “Should I Shoot?” collaboration, a series that discusses all the what-ifs concealed carriers face on a daily basis). So, like a small child caught in the crossfire when Mom is yelling at Dad for seemingly no reason, it left me wondering what was behind the abrupt decision approximately two weeks out from the big show.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Tim Schmidt, the Founder and President of USCCA, had a similar reaction.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little perplexed myself. The truth is, I don’t really know the motive behind the NRA’s move. I mean, the USCCA has ALWAYS had a great relationship with the NRA. And the way I see it, we’re all in this together,” Schmidt said.
USCCA said the two groups had met twice over the past few months to discuss the shared goals of each organization. Everything seemed to be fine until it suddenly wasn’t.
“If I had to guess, I’d say that perhaps this is a strategic business maneuver,” added Schmidt. “I mean, the concealed carry market has really exploded over the last decade — just look at how long the USCCA has been around! Maybe the NRA recognizes us as the frontrunner in providing the absolute best education, training and self-defense insurance in the industry. And perhaps they’re starting to see us less as a partner and more as a competitor.”
Bingo! There it is. It’s about money. USCCA is uber successful. They’re doing really, really well. They’ve grown leaps and bounds over the past several years to the point where they now have hundreds of thousands of members. The reason USCCA is so successful is because they provide a great service. Funny how the free market works. You offer a great service. People will sign up for it en masse.
NRA took notice of their success and, as Schmidt indicated, began to see them as a friendly competitor instead of a cherished partner.
“Thank you for contacting us. It was a business decision,” said the NRA in response to inquiries. “We’re launching what our members want in NRA Carry Guard. Please visit https://www.nracarryguard.com/ for more information. Thank you for your support!”
USCCA is definitely taking the high road in this situation. There’s no doubt that Schmidt and his team had already spent money on airfare, travel, and logistics for the meetings in Atlanta. With such short notice, I wonder how costly it was for them to cancel their show plans. Yet, despite this, Schmidt has promised to continue to support NRA.
“As much as it sort of stings that we got ‘booted’ from the NRA Show, I believe that this sort of competition is a good, healthy and even exciting thing — especially from a goliath like the NRA,” observed Schmidt.
“Whether or not the NRA supports us, we will continue to support them,” Schmidt said. “We will continue to believe in their mission. We will continue to respect the historical significance of what they have done to preserve and protect our God-given rights. And we will always support their legislative and lobbying efforts. I personally will continue to donate to the NRA as a proud Lifetime Member.”