You Knew It Was Coming – SHOT Show Canceled.

The NSSF sent out an email within the last two hours announcing that the 2021 SHOT Show had been canceled. You just knew that it was bound to happen no matter what was being said.

Frankly, I think they did the smart thing. It would have been interesting to hear the conversations regarding the election and Remington but those really don’t require going to Las Vegas.

From NSSF:

Statement from NSSF President & CEO Joe Bartozzi:

Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the world, NSSF, the firearm industry trade association, today makes the difficult announcement that the 2021 SHOT Show has been cancelled.

NSSF has remained in constant communication with Nevada officials throughout the year in our planning for the 2021 show. While there has been a concerted effort to expand the allowable levels for large gatherings by the county and state, with positivity rates peaking during our key planning period we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 show. Sadly, these spikes are currently transpiring worldwide. Given the sheer complexities, diminishing timeline and immense logistical planning required to conduct a trade show as large as SHOT, NSSF simply could not move forward at this point with so many unknowns and variables. We truly appreciate the guidance of Nevada and Las Vegas officials in allowing us to communicate this news to our exhibitors and attendees well in advance of the show. We would also like to thank the Sands directly for their help and efforts to navigate this unprecedented situation.

The planning and work that has gone into the 2021 SHOT Show has been nothing short of remarkable. Since the pandemic began in early 2020, the NSSF staff and our show partners have been working around the clock to plan our largest show in history while keeping the health and safety of all involved as paramount.

The support of our show exhibitors this year has also been nothing short of remarkable. With three months to go until the show, floor space for both the Sands Expo Center and our expansion to the new Caesars Forum was nearly sold out, with more companies than ever before represented at the SHOT Show.

All of this positions us for a 2022 SHOT Show that will be undoubtedly the best in our industry’s history, and we look forward to bringing our entire community together again at a show that will be one to remember.

During the coming year, NSSF asks for our industry’s unwavering support as we continue our fight to promote, protect and preserve our industry in these unsettling times.

Throughout this year, NSSF has remained at the forefront for our industry. As thousands of businesses across the country were shuttered as being “non-essential” during the pandemic, NSSF worked nonstop to have firearm retailers, ranges, manufacturers and distributors listed as “essential” which allowed them to remain open for business.

NSSF is your trade association. Everything we do—from education, safety initiatives, compliance and security resources, import/export guidance, consumer activation initiatives, government relations, and the SHOT Show—is aimed at helping businesses in our industry succeed. Now, more than ever, we need your continued support.

NRA Secretary’s Report Or Who Got Rich On Members’ Dues

People elected to non-profit boards tend to be charged with raising money for the organization. Often, if it isn’t a direct membership organization, they are selected due to their deep pockets with an expectation that they will make substantial donations.

Then, there is the National Rifle Association where it seems some – and I emphasize it is only some – see service on the Board of Directors as a way to make money. As you can see from the embedded Secretary’s Report, some of the Directors were very well compensated.

NRA Secretary Report 2020 Annual Meeting by jpr9954 on Scribd

Looking over this list, the one payment I have the least objection to is paying Bart Skelton for articles published in NRA publications. He is a gun writer so that kind of makes sense.

For those listed as independent contractors – Dave Butz and Lance Olson – I would like to know what they did in exchange as “contractors”. Likewise, I can see paying David Keene’s travel and room expenses to speak at Friends of the NRA banquets but no other compensation should have been paid. He’s a Director and speaking at events should be part of the job.

The payments to Cole McCulloch for use of a shooting facility he owns is a clear conflict of interest. This would be especially true if he was involved in any way in selecting the site.

Finally, there is dear old Marion Hammer who would characterize me as the “enemy within” because I dare question her motives. You will notice it says she was paid for consulting services on issues “other than Florida”. This is because she failed to declare herself as a lobbyist for the NRA and ran afoul of Florida lobbying regulations.

Given that Florida raised the age for all firearms purchases to 21 and imposed red flag laws, I’m not sure gun owners in other states want to end up like Florida. Being the heretic that I am, I think Marion’s primary job is to keep Wayne LaPierre in power for which he makes sure she is well compensated.

ATF Up To No Good Again

The Gun Control Act of 1968 imposes a “sporting test” on imported firearms. It appears according to reports that it is using that to prohibit the import of many AK and AR type pistols. While there is no real definition of “sporting” under the law, ATF examiners are claiming the weight of these pistols, the size of available magazines, and that they fire traditional rifle caliber (7.62×39 or 5.56) cartridges make the unsuitable for sporting purposes. It is also important to not that these determinations are not made public but are communicated in private letters to the importers.

From Wiley Law:

Despite ATF previously stating that there is no limit to how long or heavy a handgun should be to qualify as “sporting” under section 925(d)(3), ATF private classification letters issued within the past few months indicate that the agency has shifted course by reinterpreting what constitutes a “handgun.” In company-specific letters, ATF takes the position that if a submitted firearm is too long or too heavy, it fails to meet the definition of “handgun” under the Gun Control Act, as it is not “designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.” The Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) of ATF—which conducts importability evaluations—says that it is taking a subjective approach to the statute by allowing individual examiners to determine if he or she can fire the weapon with one hand without difficulty.

This approach is resulting in inconsistent determinations, of which the regulated community should take note. Within the past few months, at least one HK91 pistol-style submission as light as 8 pounds, with a barrel length of 8-3/4 inches and an overall length of 21-3/4 inches, has been determined to fall outside the definition of “handgun.” This is a change from previous determinations where firearms weighing over 8 pounds, with 20-inch barrels, and an overall length of approximately 31-1/2 inches were held by FATD to be “handguns.” Since the letters are not publicly available, it is impossible for regulated companies to know the full range of FATD’s determinations. This has serious implications for regulated businesses.

In some of the new letters, ATF has begun listing the following “objective design features” when making its evaluations:

Incorporation of rifle sights;

Utilization of “rifle caliber ammunition” (both 5.56mm and 7.62mm have been considered as such);

Incorporation of “rifle-length barrel;”1

The “weapon’s heavy weight;”

Ability to accept magazines that range in capacity from 20 rounds to 100 rounds, “which will contribute to the overall weight of the firearm”; and

Overall length of the weapon which “creates a front-heavy imbalance when held in one hand.”

However, ATF also noted in the most recent private ruling that the above design features are “neither binding on future classifications nor is any factor individually determinative[.]” ATF explained without elaboration that “the statutory and regulatory definitions provide the appropriate standard in classifying the firearm.” ATF concluded that “a firearm that is too large, too heavy or . . . otherwise not designed to be held and fired in one hand (as demonstrated by the objective features) cannot be a handgun under the statutory definition and cannot be subject to importation criteria governing handguns.” In light of ATF’s subjective and inconsistent analysis of size and weight, it is difficult to predict how the agency will classify any given firearm under this standard.

The ATF also has sent at least one letter to an importer stating that the prior approval of the import and determination that it met the sporting test “may require reevaluation.” You can read that as either ATF saying, “Oops, we made a mistake”, or “We changed our fickle minds and screw you.”

This redetermination of what is or isn’t a pistol could also impact anyone who has a domestic manufactured pistol of the AK, AR, CZ Scorpion, or the like. In other words, they could now be considered AOW under the purview of the National Firearms Act, subject to an extensive background check, and a tax stamp.

As Wiley Law notes:

Under ATF’s new interpretation of the handgun definition, millions of AR-15 style pistols could be considered “too large, or too heavy” to fall within ATF’s new interpretation, thereby making them unregistered NFA weapons, and subjecting manufacturers and gun owners to criminal prosecution. Given the private nature of ATF’s classification rulings, and the subjective nature of the analysis, it is extremely difficult to know for sure whether specific firearms fall within the new interpretation. This appears to be part of a continuing trend at ATF to apply firearms statutes in a more restrictive manner without informing the public—a trend that appears unaffected by the IFR. In this uncertain regulatory environment, importers and manufacturers should consult counsel before making significant purchasing, importing, or manufacturing decisions for firearms that could be implicated by ATF’s heretofore unknown and undisclosed analysis.

Gun Owners of America has called this a “rogue, secret ATF interpretation” meant to undermine President Trump with gun owners.

They said:

“Despite an executive action from President Trump prohibiting the imposition of ‘new standards’ without express authorization by law, the apparent interpretation by a rogue and reckless ATF has implications that could criminalize millions of otherwise non-violent and law-abiding gun owners,” Erich Pratt, Senior Vice President, for Gun Owners of America (GOA) said. “This continues to demonstrate why the National Firearms Act should be repealed and the agency itself should be fully dismantled.

“It also demonstrates why President Trump recently issued an Executive Order creating a new classification of ‘Schedule F’ employees. This new classification allows the President to ‘drain the swamp’ by firing policy-making employees who would rather go rogue than follow the law.

“The recent Honey Badger gun ban and revelation of absurd private classification rulings represents a pro-Biden ‘October Surprise’ by an out-of-control, anti-gun ATF. By disregarding orders to stand down, rogue ATF agents seem prepared to help usher in a Joe Biden Administration, especially because their actions appear to be purposefully timed to anger President Trump’s base immediately before an election.

I am taking a class from Montgomery Community College on gun shop management. Our homework this week was researching ATF interpretations of pistol arm braces among other things. Talk about timely!

Justice Amy Coney Barrett

After my weekend in Tucson, I was looking for some good news. Thanks to Cocaine Mitch and the GOP majority in the Senate (minus RINO Susan Collins), I got it this evening.

Congratulations to Justice Amy Coney Barrett. I hope she has a long and distinguished career on the Supreme Court.

Also, congratulations are due to Justice Clarence Thomas who got the privilege of swearing in one of his own clerks as newest justice on the Supreme Court. I am sure he is one proud mentor.

Tone Deafness (Updated)

Sometimes you just have to shake your head at the level of tone deafness of the powers that be at the NRA. Despite being under the microscope by the Attorney General of New York and despite the exposure of Wayne LaPierre’s strategy to stack the vote for the 76th Director, they still persist in pushing an establishment candidate.

When I went to vote this afternoon for the 76th Director, there had to at 10 plus “volunteers” campaigning for Jim Wallace as the 76th Director. They all had Jim Wallace stickers (see pictures) and they were passing out 4-color printed cards with his accomplishments.

I have nothing against Jim Wallace. I think he has done a great job in fighting the good fight in anti-gun Massachusetts. I appreciate that he has appeared and spoken at a number of Gun Rights Policy Conferences. It is just that I don’t think he will do anything to rock the boat at the NRA.

And that boat desperately needs rocking if it is to grow, to remain effective, and to solve its money woes.

The NRA establishment could have picked a far worse candidate to push. The problem is that they shouldn’t be pushing any candidate. It should be a decision of the members and not the leadership who serves as the 76th Director. If any of those who didn’t make it on the board really wanted to serve as the 76th Director, they should have done like Frank Tait and campaigned on their own.

Given the revelations in the Gangster Capitalism expose’, the question needs to be asked if any NRA money is being spent this year on pushing the establishment candidate. If it is all funded with private donations, that is how it should be. If it isn’t, the Board of Directors needs to be asking some hard questions and demanding answers.

UPDATE: It was announced at the Board of Directors meeting yesterday that Jim Wallace had been elected as the 76th Director. I don’t know whether that is a blessing or a curse for Jim given he had just assumed fiduciary duties. The vote totals were not announced. As it was, he was absent from the meeting and the announced reasons were due to health.

With regard to the establishment campaigning, I was told that the man in the gray suit with his back to the camera is Paul Payne who, if you listened to the Gangster Capitalism episode know, reports directly to Wayne LaPierre. Further, I had confirmation from another person that many of the people seen campaigning for Jim Wallace on Friday and Saturday were from the NRA Members Councils of California.

I don’t know who is advising the NRA these days on matters of public relations now that Ack-Mac has been kicked to the curb. Whoever it is should be cringing but I imagine he or she is as tone deaf as the powers that be.

My NRA Succession Planning Resolution Was Shot Down

Perhaps I was naive but I thought with the COVID-19 pandemic that my resolution asking for a formal succession plan for NRA leadership would pass. It didn’t.

Having a formal succession plan is a key to a healthy organization. This is critical for both for-profit and non-profit organization. The current NRA “succession plan” is a bylaw that states the Executive Director of General Operations will act as the Executive VP in a temporary capacity if the EVP is removed or incapacitated. This person will only serve until the next Board of Directors meeting. That’s it.

My proposal was, as follows:

Resolution submitted to the Annual Meeting of the National Rifle Association, 24 October 2020, by John P. Richardson of Arden, North Carolina, Endowment Life Member No. xxxxx

WHEREAS, the National Rifle Association exists for the benefit of its members and has a long, illustrious history as the nation’s premier provider of firearms safety, training, and competition, as well as our country’s oldest and most effective civil rights organization; and

WHEREAS, strong, effective, and consistent leadership is required for the organizational health and efficacy of the National Rifle Association; and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused great disruption to the normal activities of the National Rifle Association; and

WHEREAS, National Rifle Association President Carolyn Meadows has called COVID-19 “a wakeup-call to the importance of the NRA”; and the most vulnerable age cohort to COVID-19 are those over the age of 65 and is the age group with the highest mortality; and

WHEREAS, the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre is over the age of 65; and the premature death or disability of Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre would create an executive management and leadership vacuum greatly disrupting the effectiveness of the National Rifle Association in promoting our civil rights; and

WHEREAS, succession planning is a critical component of all effective organizations; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that, on this 24th day of October, 2020, the members of the National Rifle Association of America here gathered at the Annual Meeting of Members in Tucson, Arizona do hereby request the NRA Board of Directors to create a formal succession plan for the Chief Executive Officer and for the Executive Directors; and

RESOLVED, that we, the members here gathered, further request the NRA Board of Directors to have a draft of this formal succession plan ready for presentation and comment at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board in 2021; and

RESOLVED, that we, the members here gathered, further request the NRA Board of Directors to present this formal succession plan to the Meeting of Members in Houston, Texas on the 15th of May, 2021.

Because I thought the matter was important, I even couched in it terms of “what happens if we lose the irreplaceable Wayne!” Of course, that was BS.

After I rose to speak for the resolution and even used Charles Cotton’s mention of “best practices”, I was followed to the podium by three Board of Director members to speak against it. They were Don Saba, Joel Friedman, and Kayne Robinson. Their arguments were it wasn’t needed, that filling the position wasn’t the same as with a corporation, and that the Director of General Operations works closely with Wayne. They, of course, missed the whole point.

Frank Tait did rise to speak in favor of it which was much appreciated.

Resolutions at this Meeting of Members were pretty much doomed to failure in their original form. They best they could hope for was a referral to committee. A reasonable guesstimate of the number of voting members attending the meeting was in the 150-200 maximum range. That included 50 Board members, a number of their spouses, a number of older members from the area, and just a handful of us who want to see the NRA become a healthier organization. I really felt like I was one of the younger members in attendance and I’m 63!

I realize that change takes time and I need to play the long game. It is still frustrating but it is what it is. Just another great thing brought to you by 2020.

Off To Tucson For NRA Meeting

I leave in a few minutes for the airport to head to Tucson, Arizona. I will be attending the NRA Meeting of Members and plan to attend the NRA Board of Directors meeting while it is in open session. I fully expect that it will go to executive session fairly quickly in a replay of Indianapolis.

My friends at Save the Second put together this nice time table.

I will be introducing a resolution dealing with succession planning. I am pitching it as necessary with Wayne’s age and the impact of COVID-19 on the elderly. Wish me luck on that.

I’ll have my report on how the meeting goes up by Sunday morning. (I hope!)

Remember, if you are a NRA member, life or annual, and are in Tucson area, you are eligible to vote for the 76th Director. I am 100% behind Frank Tait. I get the feeling from reading Facebook posts by some NRA Directors that the establishment candidate is Jim Wallace, executive director of Massachusetts’ GOAL. Jim is an OK guy but we need Frank Tait to start the process of change.

Sheriff Gerald Baker Allowed To Slow Walk Permits

Wake County Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins has denied Grass Roots North Carolina’s lawsuit motion for temporary restraining order against Wake Sheriff Gerald Baker over dragging his feet on the processing of pistol purchase and concealed handgun permits. The law states that the sheriff must issue pistol purchase permits within 14 days but Baker’s office has been taking much longer.

From CBS17 in Raleigh:

Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins wrote that the sheriff’s office continues to insure that permits are properly processed to prevent convicted felons and other non-qualified persons from obtaining handguns, while also complying with Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders concerning the pandemic, a release from the sheriff’s office said.

The court also said that the manner in which the sheriff’s office processes applications for the permits was not unreasonable.

“I’m very pleased with ruling rendered by Judge Collins,” Baker said in the release. “As I’ve stated before, I will continue to ensure and protect the Second Amendment rights of all qualified citizens, while continuing to protect the safety and welfare of my staff, Wake County citizens and the jail residents housed in the Wake County Public Safety Center, during this pandemic.”

If this judge rings a bell in your memory, it is because he is the same judge who tried to strike down voter-passed amendments to the North Carolina constitution that mandated voter-ID and capped the income tax. Collins argument was that both constitutional amendments were invalid because the General Assembly was gerrymandered. Interestingly, he did not declare that every other law passed by the General Assembly was similarly invalid.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals overturned this ruling in September. That decision concluded:

We conclude that the superior court erred in holding that our General
Assembly lost its power granted by our state constitution, while retaining other powers, simply because a federal court had determined that the maps contained too many majority-minority districts, such that some members elected to that body were from districts that were illegally gerrymandered based on race. It is simply beyond our power to thwart the otherwise lawful exercise of constitutional power by our legislative branch to pass bills proposing amendments. Accordingly, we reverse the order of the superior court and declare the challenged constitutional amendments duly ratified by the people to be valid.

One other note here – Judge Bryan Collins is the husband of NC Appeals Court Judge Allegra Collins who was elected in 2018. I would presume the judicial ethics would force her to recuse herself from any case decided by her husband.

More on the Baker case here.

Safari Club Cancels Vegas Convention

Safari Club International announced late yesterday that they had canceled their convention scheduled for February 3-6, 2021 in Las Vegas. They noted that the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the State of Nevada and Clark County health officials made it impossible to have a successful event. Included in the Clark County restrictions reported on Monday, are a limit of 1,000 attendees or registrants for trade shows, conventions, conferences, and other large events.

Other large shows that have been previously canceled include SEMA and the Consumer Electronics Show. The SHOT Show says they still plan to go on but realistically I don’t see how. The Complementary Spouse and I are registered to attend as media but will likely cancel due to all the restrictions. Friends in Las Vegas also have told me that the hotel discounts along the Strip have attracted the wrong crowd and crime is up significantly.

From their post:

For 49 consecutive years SCI has conducted its annual convention, bringing together from around the world, hunters, exhibitors, conservation stakeholders, and generations of SCI members. This annual event celebrates hunter advocacy, raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for wildlife conservation, and enables the planning of hunts that further support conservation on every continent. It is one of the most anticipated gatherings of the year not only for the reasons above but also because it is the one week that our community can rely upon to renew friendships and reignite the fire that drives us all to carry on the traditions of hunting.  We did not reach this decision lightly…

Despite our disappointment with this development, SCI will be there for our members and exhibitors in 2022 to reflect on all these accomplishments and celebrate them together. The 2022 Convention will take place in Las Vegas and will be a celebration of our hunting heritage and the perseverance we all needed to get through this, together.

Jim Shepherd of The Outdoor Wire covered the cancelation in his column this morning. He noted:

As SCI and SCI-Foundation’s CEO Laird Hamberlin told me, “we couldn’t make it work with the box we’d been put into by Las Vegas, Clark County and Nevada officials.”

The box in Las Vegas is, indeed, a small one. Using its latest guidance, Las Vegas’ rules limit events to 250 people. In some instances, that rule can be maximized to 1,000 people.

SCI’s exhibition space alone covers 625,000 square feet. Each evening during the Convention, SCI holds banquets and social events routinely attended by as many as 2,000 people.

Considered by many to be essential elements of every SCI convention, they were non-starters under the Las Vegas restrictions.

Changing the dates, I’m told, wasn’t an option. Restrictions on crowds and uncertainties about international travel were also concerns.

Collectively, all the challenges and unknowns just made the kind of extravaganzas the SCI Convention has become, impossible.

Heavily impacted by this decision will be the guides and outfitters who would have exhibited. For many, bookings done at the SCI Convention account for 80% of their annual business. SCI, according to Shepherd, intends to expand its “Share the Impact” program to these guides and outfitters.

“Gun Owners for Safety”

The Cult of Personality known as Giffords is creating another astroturf organization called Gun Owners for Safety. As you can tell for their description of it below, it is supposed to be composed of gun owners, hunters, collectors, and sport shooters who support “commonsense gun laws”.

The gun control industry always tries to come up with these organizations before an election. I think they want anti-gun politicians to be able to say, “I support the Second Amendment and this organization of real gun owners supports me.” We in the gun culture and the gun rights community recognize it as a crock but there will always be some that are gullible.

From the announcement:

We are excited to announce the launch of our newest nationwide initiative: Giffords Gun Owners for Safety! We hope you’ll join us for a special launch event.

Here at Giffords we know that the vast majority of Americans support safer communities—including gun owners. We know that preventing gun violence and responsible gun ownership go hand-in-hand. That’s why we’re launching Gun Owners for Safety, which unites hunters, sport shooters, and collectors who support commonsense gun laws like background checks.

Together, we will rally support from all corners of the country to fight for lifesaving laws and promote responsible gun ownership.

The event details are below and you can RSVP for FREE. During the event, you’ll be able to hear directly from our founder, Gabby Giffords, about how we plan to work together to make our communities safer from gun violence.

Join us for our Gun Owners for Safety National Launch Event

Date: Friday, October 16th
Time: 3pm ET
Location: Online Event
Cost: FREE

If you follow the embedded link, it will take you to the sign-up page. I find it interesting that they are targeting Colorado, Michigan, and Texas. Michigan and Texas could or should end up going for the Republicans and I think they are trying to prevent that.

An Alternative Scenario

Now let me give you an alternative scenario about why they are creating such a group. It may sound a bit like a conspiracy theory but so be it.

Let’s say that NY Attorney General Letitia James is ultimately successful in dissolving the National Rifle Association. As this article from the anti-gun, anti-NRA, Washington Post makes clear, the assets must be distributed to a like organization.

What if the courts decide the like organization isn’t a true gun rights organization like the Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, FPC, or the like but rather Gun Owners for Safety. The NRA is composed of gun owners and they promote safe handling of firearms. Doesn’t Gun Owners for Safety do the same thing as evidenced by their name? I could see Letitia James colluding with the gun control industry to push this line of thinking.

It turns out I’m not the only one thinking along these lines. Walter Olson writing in the Cato Institute blog came to the same conclusion in August.

Would anyone be surprised, given her record, if James asked for the funds to go to groups at fundamental odds with the organization’s Second Amendment advocacy mission? You can just imagine the line her office and her allies would take — the NRA always claimed to be a leading voice for gun safety and the outdoors, so let’s use their money to fund this group promoting “safe storage” along with this other group that represents our sort of hunters, the right sort.

Let’s say Giffords has a staffer doing opposition research and this staffer just happens to read the Cato column. Do you think it would be a real stretch for that staffer to propose to create Gun Owners for Safety for electoral purposes now and to get the NRA’s assets later? I’d say not much of a stretch at all.

If Giffords can come up with it, then I doubt Brady and Everytown are that far behind. I’m not saying it is going to happen but it does bear watching.