2021 NRA Annual Meeting Moved To September

In a post made today at NRA Family, it was announced that the date of the 2021 NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits has been moved to Labor Day Weekend. Originally scheduled for mid-May in Houston, it will still remain in Houston but 3 1/2 months later.

From NRA Family:

The National Rifle Association’s 2021 Annual Meetings and Exhibits will be held September 3-5, 2021. Originally scheduled for mid-May, the event will remain in Houston, Texas at the George R. Brown Convention Center. 

As many uncertainties around COVID-19 restrictions persist, the National Rifle Association rescheduled its 150th Anniversary celebration to help members and exhibitors make the necessary plans to attend. Approximately 850 exhibitors will provide an exhibit hall that offers attendees a one of a kind experience with thousands of firearms on display from all their favorite manufacturers.  

The 150th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits is open and free to all NRA members. Some events require a ticket, which can be ordered in advance. Members should watch their monthly membership magazine or go to www.nraam.org for updates and the latest information.

Blade Show 2020 Canceled

Another major event in the outdoor-sporting-weapons space has been canceled due to COVID-19. The 2020 BLADE Show scheduled for August 7-9 in metro Atlanta has been called off. It had been previously postponed from June.

The BLADE Show is the major event of the year for knife lovers and knife makers. It was to have had 950 exhibitors, multiple seminars and classes, and competitions such as the Balisong Flipping Championships. Unlike the SHOT Show, it was open to the public and you could buy from exhibitors. Sponsored by BLADE Magazine, this was to have been the 39th annual show. Moreover, unlike the Gun Rights Policy Conference, it would have been impossible to hold such an event virtually.

The official announcement of the cancellation is below:

With the 39th annual BLADE Show scheduled for Aug. 7-9, we have been receiving countless questions from exhibitors and attendees about the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the show and its guests. 

Unfortunately, we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that it’s in the best interest of all concerned to cancel BLADE Show 2020.

Please know that we did not reach this decision lightly. Having been in daily contact with guests, exhibitors, local officials and the show venue for the past two months, it has become apparent that we cannot present a 2020 event that meets exhibitor and attendee expectations and BLADE Show standards. 

While the state of Georgia continues to grapple with decisions about new guidelines and restrictions to deal with the pandemic, BLADE Show too recognizes its responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all attendees. 

BLADE Magazine and the BLADE Show staff appreciate the support we received from our many industry friends who worked with us to plan for the alternate August dates after we were forced to cancel the original June event.

The 40th Annual BLADE Show is scheduled for June 4-6th 2021, at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia.  

**CURRENT EXHIBITORS & TICKET HOLDERS: Please check your emails for further instructions**

If this pandemic ever ends, events held in 2021 should have tremendous attendance due to pent up demand.

June 2020 Adjusted NICS Checks

The National Shooting Sports Foundation adjusted NICS figures have been released. June 2020, while having the most raw NICS checks on records, actually is behind March 2020 when adjusted for permit checks and rechecks.

Nonetheless, June was an impressive month and the first half of 2020 was likewise impressive.

From NSSF:

The June 2020 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 2,177,586 is an increase of 135.7 percent compared to the June 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 924,054. For comparison, the unadjusted June 2020 FBI NICS figure 3,909,502 reflects a 70.6 percent increase from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,291,066 in June 2019.

The second quarter 2020 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 5,451,599 reflects an increase of 92.8 percent over the 2,827,606 figure for first quarter 2019.

The NSSF-adjusted NICS figure for March 2020 was 2,375,525.

It should be pointed out the states of Alabama and Michigan have had their qualified alternatives under the Brady Law removed in 2019 and 202 respectively. This means in those states, you can no longer use a carry permit as a substitute for a NICS check. That raised the percentage of NICS checks in those states by over 400% compared to last June.

To see how June 2020 compared to the month of June in past years, look at this graphic. You can see that it just skyrockets!

As I remind everyone when I post these numbers, neither the raw nor the adjusted-NICS checks are a one to one correlation with gun sales. They do not capture private sales where legal, they don’t capture sales where an alternative is accepted, and they don’t figure in multiple firearms sold with one NICS check. The Form 4473 has room on it for up to four firearms per transaction. Thus, it is safe to assume the actual number of firearms sold in the month of June is well past 2.1 million.

Now if all those new gun owners will vote the Second Amendment, we should be in good shape. Time will tell.

The SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic Has Given Us Two Very Successful Experiments In Social Control – One Global, One National

The following editorial was written by my friend “ScotShot”. He is a resident of New Jersey and a firearms trainer. ScotShot is a NRA Training Counselor, a USCCA instructor, and a CCW instructor. He is also the co-founder with Klint Macro of National Train-A-Teacher Day. He has a greater appreciation for the US Constitution and especially the Second Amendment than many. That is because he grew up in a country which has no written constitution and no such protections.

More to the point of this editorial, “ScotShot” has a PhD in immunology from the University of Strathclyde and served for a few years as the Director of Research at a university center on biodefense.

It seems like an interminable time since the first recognized case of COVID-19 hit places in Europe (Northern Italy) and the USA. At the time of writing it’s been five months. There are many timelines out there that you can find, and the question of whether it actually came earlier is real. However, there’s a great interactive published by the New York Times that is well worth a look:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/22/world/coronavirus-spread.html

In these five months, the United States and other Western countries have been transformed by this event. Your present correspondent, who writes from the aggressively confinement-orientated New Jersey, has been struck by how much and for how long we have allowed this to modify our behavior and change our lives.

I’m not going to discuss the various successes and errors nor whether the Orange Man did well or poorly. I also am not going to discuss whether it was correct or wrong for Western governments to fall over themselves to follow the apocalyptic modeling of a certain Dr F from Imperial College, London after it became clear that it was only older people who were generally at significant risk. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We always, as they say, fight with the tools of the previous war, and this was fought with the tools built during the emergence of HIV. No foul, Drs F’n’B.

Let’s talk, Gentle Reader, about two Great Experiments.

EXPERIMENT ONE – “OK, we didn’t plan a biowarfare attack, but…”

Take another look at the NYT interactive linked above and remember that while this was taking place, China had essentially shut down, or was in the process of shutting down, internal travel. The Chinese Authorities very likely knew about how contagious this new virus was and the morbidity/mortality it carried. While we can’t know exactly what they were thinking, it’s interesting to speculate that some bright spark may have come up with the idea of letting a bunch of very likely infected people leave the epicenter of the outbreak to a whole bunch of countries just to see what would happen. That is, just to see how Europe, Australia, the USA would react at the levels of their governments and their citizens. I’d say that they are happy beyond their wildest dreams right now.

The whole Western economy disrupted, (multi?)-generational debt accrued, lockdown frustration amplifying civil unrest here in the USA (and whether the murder of Mr F was a deliberate trigger-act is for others to discuss). Oh, they learned a lot about us. Importantly, they learned that certain parts of our manufacturing capabilities were so dependent upon them that countries would order protective materials only to find that they were, for example, defective upon shipping or would buy back their own previously charitably-given supplies . They also learned that the political process here is so fractured that parties would use the pandemic to further their venal political ends. This brings us to…

EXPERIMENT TWO – “Wow, I never thought they’d do this…”

It is perhaps surprising (but only in retrospect) that only one or two countries, e.g., Sweden, didn’t follow the others in the mass-lemmingization of the West into the economic and social chaos of the pandemic lockdown. The UK, well England to be more precise, did make an attempt, but it was half-hearted at best and they basically caved at the first sign of trouble. Scotland, with its more socialist political environment, went for it whole-heartedly and are this week rejoicing that the affectionately-known “wee Nichola” has allowed them to once again go out and socialize but “at a distance.. over your garden fence, and not going into your neighbors’ homes..”. This is remarkably like it is in more blue-hued States here in the United States: NJ, NY, WA, OR, CA…. As we now begin to emerge armed with actual data about the effects of the pandemic and the entrepreneurial economy re-emerges in the red states, we see the true political agendas laid bare on the beach like little blue puddles as the tide of pandemic caution recedes.

Don’t wear a mask… everyone wear a mask… you don’t need a test… everyone needs to be tested… two weeks to flatten the curve… could be six months till we get a vaccine… back to normal…. emerge into the New Normal…

The “New Normal?” What is this New Normal that Democrat Governors are talking about? I’d say that they too have had a very successful experiment going in enhanced social control over their citizens. Well, I guess when you force small business owners to close down while letting corporate giants (naming no names) stay open, you are garroting your opposing political base. Who really cares whether people wear masks properly so long as they cover their faces somehow and you get the bonus of a bunch of Karens hounding those who do not, live-streamed on Facebook. You issued an Executive Order and people rushed to squeeze through the Overton Window just so that they could get out of the house.

What can we conclude…

So, what can we conclude, Gentle Reader, about the outcome of these two experiments? To date, they have been very successful and those who conducted them have learned a lot about their experimental subjects. Personally, I think it’s more important to think about what we, those very subjects, have learned about the experimenters and our fellow subjects.

As the lockdown is eased in red states and not blue, we see a picture emerging that is disturbingly similar to the cover of Kurt Schlichter’s book, “People’s Republic”. Blue State Governors working with the DNC to maintain control and build a New Normal up through the Election, and they do not care that they are now in plain sight. It’s probably wishful thinking to hope that there will be a move away from China as the source of inexpensive essentials and towards more domestic manufacturing, too. Too many of us are like the bunnies in Watership Down… “Look! Free Carrots!” and never mind where Fred went.

So I leave you with a question. Will those of us who believe in self-reliance and paying our own way simply become a thing of the past, turned to dust and blown away on the breeze, or we once again turn and say that we are ‘we’, “WE, the People”?

Social Distancing Made Understandable

“Social Distancing” seems to be the word of the year along with “flatten the curve”. All of this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You go into many stores and you see “X” on the floor indicating just how far apart you should be from the next person. X’s are fine but I stumbled across an easier explanation that will appeal to those in the gun culture.

Instead of trying to figure out if that is 6 feet or is it merely 5 1/2 feet, the picture below makes it simple. I found it on Reddit.

I’m sure if you wanted to be pedantic you could say that an AR15 with an A2 stock is going to be longer than the M4gery with a collapsible stock throwing off the suggested distance.

Whatever.

Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day this year is different. While the country is starting to reopen from government-ordered quarantines and stay-at-home orders, there won’t be the parades, Boy Scouts haven’t been allowed to put out flags at veterans graves, and access to Arlington National Cemetery is restricted to family members with the requisite passes.

Some things will remain as they always have. The Tomb Guards from the Third Infantry Regiment will still guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The difference this year is that they will do it without spectators.

Perhaps this is how it should be. The solemnity of their job as sentinels for the fallen is not to impress the tourists but to honor those who died for this country who are known only to God.

Interesting Chart On Population Density

This chart came to me in an email I get daily from Strategas. I’m not sure how I got on their mailing list but I get daily charts regarding economic issues from them.

They noted in reference to New York City reopening for business:

Population Density Will Cause Trouble for NYC Reopening
Reopening is underway in many areas of the country but New York City may have a more difficult time than other major cities for one reason: population density. NYC has a population density that is more than 1.5x that of the second densest city. With social distancing playing a large role in stopping the spread of the virus, New York City faces many challenges and may take longer to return to normal.

This reinforces my introvert’s desire to have 50 acres with the house smack dab in the center of the property. Oh, and to have a thorn-filled hedge of bramble and other thorny stuff surrounding all 50 acres.

Does Aurora Sportsmen’s Club Look Like A Golf Course To You?

Take a look at that picture above. It is an aerial photo of the Aurora Sportsmen’s Club in Waterman, Illinois. It has rifle and pistol bays ranging from 50 feet to 600 yards. It has two Skeet fields, three Trap fields, a 5-stand course, a 12-stand Sporting Clays course, and an archery range. On top of all of that, it has three stocked fishing ponds.

Now tell me who in their right mind would confuse this with a golf course and want to regulate it in the same manner.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) issued Executive Order 2020-10 on March 20th. It explicitly lists firearm and ammo dealers and suppliers as essential businesses. It also said “outdoor activity” was a permitted reason to leave home so long as social distancing was observed. This included both golf course and shooting ranges.

A week later, Gov. Pritzker issued a subsequent order that ordered golf courses closed and shooting ranges such as those of the Aurora Sportsmen’s Club which didn’t have an attached gun store closed as well. They closed upon the advice of legal counsel when golf courses closed.

As a letter this week to Gov. Pritzker from Eric Callis, President of ASC, makes clear, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity does not consider them an “essential business” and have said they have to remain closed.

Like many businesses, our not-for-profit club is being impacted by the stay at home order and shutdown of non-essential entities. We have followed the guidelines as proposed and with the revisions of March 27, closed the Club except to law enforcement agencies that needed to complete training to maintain certification and proficiency.

During this time we have watched as marijuana dispensaries remain open. We now see that dog groomers are going to be allowed to open. Even golf courses are being allowed to resume limited operations. Yet each time we reach out to DCEO through our elected officials, we continue to be told we can not reopen under any conditions.

So while golf courses, dog groomers, and pot shops (cannabis dispensaries) are allowed to reopen, a huge outdoor facility spread out of hundreds of acres is ordered to remain closed. Of particular relevance to this issue was the 7th Circuit’s ruling in Ezell v. Chicago which noted in reference to shooting ranges, “The right to possess firearms for protection implies a corresponding right to acquire and maintain proficiency in their use; the core right wouldn’t mean much without the training and practice that make it effective.”

In the letter cited above, Callis asks Gov. Pritzker for a written explanation with specifics as to why they aren’t allowed to reopen.

Ranges, training, and practice for proficiency protected under Heller, McDonald, and Ezell are not afforded the same opportunities as golf courses, dog groomers, and marijuana dispensaries?

Non-constitutionally protected activities are given more deference and protection than those enumerated via the Bill of Rights under the Second Amendment and court rulings?

Are hundreds of people allowed at indoor stores, yet we are not allowed to open up a 300-acre outdoor facility?

Can’t we re-open if we follow the same type of guidelines as golf courses?

The club has also appealed to US Attorney General William Barr who has told US Attorneys to be on the lookout for overly strict state and local orders which tread upon constitutional rights.

We, therefore, ask you to determine if those orders barring the use of indoor or outdoor ranges for the “training and practice” of firearms to maintain proficiency as enumerated in Ezell violate fundamental constitutional rights and are an overreach as you described in your memo.

We find it odd that dog grooming businesses in confined spaces are allowed to open, conduct business, and see people while our 300-acre outdoor range is not.  We find it troubling that there appears to be a political double standard for outdoor recreational activities that are not protected by the Constitution with enumerated rights but may be more politically correct.  We also find it inexplicable that drugs still considered to be illegal for sale and possession under Federal law are allowed to be sold, used, and shops that sell marijuana are open for business while actual legal conduct and constitutionally protected activities are being denied.

We appreciate your help in this matter and look forward to hearing from either your office or your representative.

According to the DeKalb County Health Department, they have had 101 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The overwhelming majority of the over 50,000 cases of COVID-19 in Illinois are in Chicago and Cook County. What might be appropriate for the dense urban areas of Chicago and its suburbs is not the same for rural DeKalb County where the club is located. Indeed, the Illinois Department of Public Health maps show zero cases in the club’s location of Waterman, Illinois.

Keeping the Aurora Sportmen’s Club closed is not good public policy nor, in my opinion, constitutional. I hope someone in Springfield wakes up sooner than later.

COVID-19 Causes 2020 National Matches To Be Canceled

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused another major event to be canceled. The 2020 National Matches at Camp Perry have been canceled according to an alert from the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

After thoughtful consideration and reflection, the Board of Directors of the Civilian Marksmanship Program announces the cancellation of the 2020 National Matches at Camp Perry.    

“This decision was not arrived at lightly, but was prompted by restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  These matches date back to 1903 and have been held at Camp Perry since 1906,” said Judith Legerski, CMP Board Chairman.  

“The health and safety of our competitors, participants, vendors, military support, volunteers and staff members is of the upmost importance — overriding even the historical imperative of maintaining the continuity of the Matches,” agreed Legerski, with Chief Operating Officer Mark Johnson and Programs Chief Christie Sewell.    

“We were unable to come up with a manner in which we could safely produce the Matches.  Housing and pit duty were amongst the many insurmountable problems faced by the CMP Board,” Legerski explained.     The CMP looks forward to the 2021 National Matches at Camp Perry as the best marksmanship celebration ever!  In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy at home, as we prepare for the new normal ahead of us.

All CMP operations have been shut down since mid-March and a full resumption of business remains undetermined.  Full refunds will be made to those who have already registered.  

The last time the National Matches were canceled was in 1950 due to the start of the Korean War. They resumed in 1951 and returned to Camp Perry in 1953.