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The Reinvention of an Unyielding Firearms Industry, Continued

Steve Comus

Keeping on. Because that’s what we do.

The shooting sports industry and its consumers are unique in the world for a number of reasons ranging from the lethal products that protect individual lives and even entire nations to human rights to social responsibility.

Complicating the equation is the fact that the shooting sports industry and its consumers also are under constant attack from people and governments intent on putting the industry out of business and taking the products of that industry away from the consumers.

Over time, the two major elements of the shooting sports industry have been represented by a pair of organizations, each focused on half of the equation. The National Shooting Sports Foundation represents the manufacturers, distributors and retailers of the products, while the National Rifle Association of America represents the consumers.

Rather than go through the added verbiage it takes to list both interests separately when talking about the entirety of the industry and its consumers, I coined the term “Gundom” years ago, because it not only includes both of the major segments involving guns, but it also includes the concept of the “gun culture.”

The gun culture was critical in the formation of the nation, witnessed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It results from an underlying distrust of government combined with a concurrent view that government is more like a necessary evil than a paternal or maternal protectorate.

Frankly, it is that basic view of government combined with a corresponding view of personal freedom that separates those in Gundom from the gun grabbers. This schism is so deep and so pronounced that common ground is all but precluded.

This inherent reality was not so pronounced in bygone days, very much because of the lower population density. As humans are crowded into tighter surroundings, their problems with each other become more pronounced. At a point in all of that, there is a critical mass shift in which the balance switches from individual freedom to social subjugation.

It is in the interpretation of “greater good.” Traditionalists see individuality as the key to realizing the greater good, while socialists see sacrifice of individuality as necessary for the greater good.

Gundom is bigger now than ever before, thanks to the unprecedented recruiting phenomenon of the Obama administration. That was then. Now is now.

So, what’s wrong with more shooters shooting more guns more often? Not a thing. Celebrate it.

Truth is beautifully brutal in nature, as it is in Gundom. Truth is what is left when all the BS has been stripped away. Truths in Gundom are self-evident:

1. We are right.

2. Antis are wrong.

If truth is the interpretation of fact, what are some of the relevant facts? There are more companies making more guns and gun-related gear than ever before in the history of the world.

Consumers have access to a wider variety of guns and related gear at more competitive prices than ever before in history. Bluntly, Gundom is a pretty nice place these days.

GPP Owner/Publisher/Editor Bob Rogers and I had an interesting discussion while cooling our heels in the Press Room at the NSSF’s Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show last month. It focused on the way the gun industry always seems to be able to reinvent itself when it needs to, and that it is reinventing itself again by finding new normals in the post-Obama era.

The sales slumps early in the Trump era that followed the incredibly frenzied buying of the Obama era were predictable. No industry can sustain such sales spikes long-term. That was the news over the past couple of years.

Now, however, Gundom is settling into a more predictable period, which, among other things, sees a higher base point than BO (Before Obama). Now any building into the future begins at a higher level because the overall number of shooters and gun owners is much higher. In the process, residents of Gundom now include many more women than ever before – a social and political demographic that portends to be politically significant in the future. That’s nice.

Yet the situation Gundom finds itself in justifiably could be viewed positively, negatively, or both. It is kind of like a battery – it has to have both + and – poles for it to work.

The good news is that companies keep coming up with more and more new products, most of which are valid and move the industry and its consumers forward.

The bad news is that anti-gun forces continue to attack all the time from every angle, often putting a crimp in freedoms and opportunities.

On balance, that’s fine because it results in making Gundom what it is and what it will be. It is akin to a forge that turns soft steel into a harder and tougher metal.

Or, as German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche put it: “Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich starker,” which more or less means: “What does not kill me makes me stronger.”

There are few industries or subcultures in the world that could withstand the kinds of attacks and setbacks the shooting sports industry has faced. Yet, Gundom is bigger, better and stronger now than before.

Rightness works that way. It is more important for all in Gundom to understand and act on that rightness than it is to dwell on the antis’ wrongness.

The fight is not merely to counter attacks as they occur because that results only in a zero sum result. Success means expansion on all fronts. If that happens, the rest will take care of itself.

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