If you have been following any of the Facebook or other social media sites with SHOT Show 2022 information, you know that many companies have dropped out of attending. You had SIG Sauer saying a few months ago that they were not coming due to Covid-19.
The list now includes major firearm companies like Ruger, Springfield Armory, Beretta, Benelli, Weatherby, Savage (I confirmed this at DSC), and CZ. Other industry stalwarts such as Trijicon, Swarovski, Redding, Nosler, and a whole host of others.
On the face of it, the oft-stated reason for not attending is the fear of the Coronavirus and the impact the spread of it would be to their employees. However, the imposition of contract tracing, enforced masking, etc. could actually be the reason behind many companies bagging the SHOT Show.
From an email I received tonight from Larry and Stacy Lasky of Froglube who have canceled out:
Since COVID struck in 2020, FrogLube attempted to continue our participation in SHOT SHOW despite unlawful, cost prohibitive and convoluted restrictions imposed by the governor of the state of Nevada. We looked to NSSF to stand up for our industry and to pressure the state authorities into allowing our trade show to return to normal. As a small business, any attempt to engage in commercial interaction with our customers under constantly changing, unrealistic and absurd restrictions is cost prohibitive and places an undue burden on our company.
We do not question the reality of the COVID 19 disease, in fact, most of us have had it. At issue is that a disease is not sufficient cause for the removal of god-given/inalienable rights by any man, government agency or commercial enterprise. Does the governor of Nevada restrict trade show attendance for any other communicable diseases with transmissibility? FrogLube and NSSF engage in free enterprise in an industry that uses individual rights as a selling point to attract people to purchase our firearms products. We find the NSSF stance is mutually incompatible to the expression of both the 1st and 2nd amendments of the US Constitution. How can we stress the 2nd amendment at the show while yielding on the 1st amendment?
My friend Ben Langlotz, the Gun Patent Attorney, with whom I had the pleasure of having a wonderful dinner in Dallas, has been very vocal about this loss of freedom on both Facebook and in his newsletter sent around the industry.
He had this to say in his newsletter and I’ve excerpted parts of it.
I’m skipping because of the mask mandate, pure and simple. As you have read in prior months, I was an optimist that our firearms industry culture is on the free-thinking side and not too trusting of governments, especially those dominated by politicians who want to take our guns. NASGW proved me right, and I trumpeted it in this space….
The NSSF leadership is in an impossible situation, forced to do business with the devil, tied up in contracts in jurisdictions that hate our freedoms, and having no power to negotiate around mandates. BUT…I’d feel more sympathetic to the NSSF if they at least offered something that told members that they were on our side, not that of the local democrat governments. A little signal that they weren’t happy either, like: “We believe our members have the right to make their own medical choices, and we oppose mask mandates. We have done all we can on behalf of the liberties of our members, and still face an unwanted mask mandate imposed by local regulations and enforced by local authorities. We are also working to locate suitable sites for future SHOT Shows that are more respectful of our members’ liberties, especially to ensure medical privacy and freedom of choice without ever being subject to vaccine passports. Like most of our members, we are not happy to be subjected to the mandates in Las Vegas.”…
Ben goes on to add that it is time for NSSF to move out of a place that treads on us while taking our money.
I wrote above that the NSSF has the unenviable task of being forced to do business with the devil in the form of Democrat authoritarians. But at some point, it becomes a choice. There may be contracts that could be broken if there’s the will to fight. There are the compromises that come with second-choice venues lacking the capacity and comfort we all value. It’s a lot more work to having a roving location for a trade show than to have the drill down (and booth locations memorized) at a familiar location, even with its faults.
But at some point (and I think we’re past it) it’s time to move on, and get out of a bad relationship. The SHOT Show needs to be in a Red State that has shown reasonable and restrained policies respectful of our freedoms. How they handled Covid signals what to expect from Las Vegas in the future. Will it be vaccine passports next year? Is there a contingency plan for that plausible scenario in Las Vegas? Don’t forget that the Mandalay Massacre gave Las Vegas Leftists and their Casino Cronies the excuse to deny our right to keep and bear arms when attending SHOT. How much more will we put up with?
I agree with Ben. I am not a fan of Las Vegas. In the harsh light of day, it is a grungy place which looks upon the tourist and convention goer as a Rube who must be separated from his money. Moreover, the state has now been taken over by the anti-gun, anti-freedom element.
Let us not forget that many of the big casino companies have helped fund gun control in Nevada. I wrote a post in 2016 that questioned why a number of hotels that had helped fund the universal background check initiative were official SHOT Show hotels. I suggested moving from Las Vegas to Orlando which had as many hotels and an equally large convention center. I remember getting pushback on Facebook when I suggested that. While we are going to SHOT this year, we will not be staying in any of those hotels. In fact, we decided to go “off strip” where we don’t have to pay a “resort fee” nor breathe second-hand smoke.