Jim’s Take On NRA v. AckMac

Jim Shepherd of The Outdoor Wires is one of the more astute observers of the firearms world. It doesn’t hurt that he helped Ted Turner found CNN. He, of course, doesn’t take credit for what CNN has become in the years since he left!

He devoted some of his column this morning to the Federal court battle between the NRA and Ackerman McQueen. Continuing the divorce theme, he said it would drive a divorce attorney to drink.

Jim’s take:

Actually, it’s more like the Borgia family chronicles than litigation between two groups of adults. Replace the “he said-she said” with “the defendant alleges” and you get the picture. Up is down, black is white, right is wrong, and inside is outside-depending on which document you’re reading.


Central to all this, as he apparently insists on being in virtually every matter, is Wayne LaPierre. The NRA characterizes him as the ceaselessly crusading reformer, out to save the National Rifle Association from the Oklahoma hordes determined to loot the treasury, burn the building and at least savage the five million members. Ackerman McQueen draws a somewhat different picture: that of a man obsessed with absolute control of everyone and everything around him except his spending habits. There, he’s more like a drunken sailor on a short shore leave.


It’s ugly, it’s personal, and it’s likely going to get worse before it resolves itself. No one on either side looks good in this situation, and that’s about as positive a face as anyone can put on it. It’s also about all I can tell you without either speculating or presenting gossip as fact.

Jim’s correct: it’s ugly, it’s personal, and none of the participants looks good.

A Great Response To Corporate Virtue Signaling

Jim Shepherd of the Outdoor Wires posted an editorial today concerning corporate virtue signaling. The grist for his editorial was something that took place at the most recent meeting of the Business Roundtable. At that event, a number of mega-corporation CEOs signed a document pledging to shift corporate governance away from shareholder value.

Yep, they decided that being virtuous would be more important (to them) than the long-accepted dictum that the goal of a company is to make money for its owners. Granted, the document they signed was described as “high level and low on specifics” it is most assuredly indicative of the current social and business environment.


Not presuming to think along the high-minded ridges of such industry leaders, I’ve never known a company to suddenly decide business-as-usual was no longer acceptable. Honestly, this kind of talk seldom passes my personal “smell test”. It’s my experience that when someone who makes millions of dollars annually starts telling me what’s best for the rest of us, I start sniffing. Especially when I start hearing a mix of solid thinking interspersed with comments about “what type of society is possible.”

I agree with Jim on this. We have started to see high technology companies in the social media realm decide that advertising and posts of a conservative bent must be censored or rejected. We have seen certain large banks try to tell firearms manufacturers how to run their legitimate businesses. The list goes on.

I have always been something of a contrarian. Thus, it was refreshing to see a company that hasn’t bought on to the “guns are evil” mantra. Jim points out that a company called Defenseshield Inc. that has gone the opposite way.

Not everyone, fortunately, is cut from that same bland cloth. Yesterday, I was forwarded a release from Defenseshield, Inc., a “preeminent designer, manufacturer, and seller of armor systems to the US Military, Federal agencies, the nuclear industry, airports and courthouses.”
Their CEO, Collins White, irritated at the latest rounds of “virtue signaling” in corporate America, announced some “pro-constitutional measures for all Defenseshield employees:”


1. Every day is “Bring a gun to work” day.
2. 1-year membership in the NRA.
3. Lifetime membership to Gun Owners of America.
4. Free FFL firearms transfers.
5. Pay for firearms training.
6. Pay for any permits that allow you to own or carry a firearm.
7. Pay entry fees to any firearms competition
8. Pay entry fees to any gun show
9. Match contributions to NRA, GOA, USA (Olympic) Shooting, 4H shooting, Scouting shooting programs.
10. $100 annual match toward firearms range or club membership.
11. $20 for every pair of jeans you buy that aren’t Levi’s.


“The attack on the Constitution by elite left-wing billionaires cannot be tolerated,” White said, “I left New York when the so-called safe act made many of my guns, accessories and magazines illegal. I’ve relocated to Florida where the environment for business and the freedoms granted by the constitution is not under such a rabid assault. I invite all corporate leaders to stand with me in upholding the constitution, and to invest in the future of America.”

Collins White is my kind of CEO. While I am not in their customer base and have little need for their product, if I was I’d be looking to them to fulfill it.

I only wish more CEOs and more companies were like Mr. White of Defenseshield. If you would like to let them know you appreciate their standing up for what is right, you can contact them at  info[@]defenshield.com

Industry Consolidation And Homogenization

Jim Shepherd, publisher of the Outdoor Wires, is at the Archery Trade Association show this week in Louisville, Kentucky. He made this observation about consolidation within the archery and hunting industries. He points out that it is not only those industries who are consolidating but it is widespread across the fishing, hunting, shooting, and outdoor industries.

Some news releases we’ve distributed this week have again pointed out something that isn’t unique to archery -consolidation is happening across the industry.

From nutritional supplements to tree stands, scents and broadheads, archery is seeing to the absorption of smaller companies into larger ones.

For many small businesses, it’s a matter of survival. The business climate’s tough right now, and if you’re a company with little capitalization and no margin of error, adding your niched products into a larger operation makes sense. These businesses began because their owners were passionate about the sport, and saw a real need for a product that wasn’t there. With very few exceptions, a single-product or limited-product business isn’t viable.

That’s the part of consolidation that concerns me most.

Large companies with fixed operating costs look at new products differently that an entrepreneur who’s willing to bootstrap a good product to market.

If potential sales volumes or margin are in question, most big companies tend to take a pass on the concept. That number-centric approach doesn’t encourage innovation.

When innovation dies, homogenization is the best possible outcome.

And homogenization doesn’t drive participation. Nothing other than oxygen appeals to everyone.

So while we’re looking at the latest-and-greatest from the major players, we’ll be prowling the smaller exhibits looking for those undiscovered innovators. We want to encourage them.

I wholeheartedly agree with Jim – the little guys can come up with the innovative stuff that is really interesting. Moreover, new cool stuff is what pulls people in and that applies to both the old and young.

 This is why I try to spend at least a day and a half at SHOT Show looking around the lower level which is where the new and younger companies usually end up.

Quote Of The Day – Editorial Version

Jim Shepherd of The Outdoor Wire had an interesting editorial today discussing the latest earnings report from Ruger along with some recent pronouncements from President Trump. After discussing the earnings report, he noted that much of the good news and bad news for the firearms industry seem to tied to President Trump.

He continues:

That’s because his announcement earlier this week that he wants a ban on bump fire stocks and other devices that increase the rate-of-fire of AR-style rifles is viewed as a politician, once again, throwing gun right supporters under the bus after wooing their support to get elected.

Indeed, candidate Trump and later President Trump could be characterized, at least until Tuesday’s announcement, as having a simple message for gun owners: “we will never, never, never infringe on our Second Amendment Rights.”

Now it may seem that our definitions on what Second Amendment protections really mean may differ significantly. For most Second Amendment supporters, any additional regulations on guns are beyond the pale. In fact, many gun rights groups have already begun to spread the word they will seek legal remedies should Attorney General Sessions make a move to place restrictions on either bump stocks or binary style triggers.

Seems a fight with the man gun owners helped put in the White House is brewing over gun rights. If that happens, Mr. Trump may learn that formerly ardent supports make the most fierce opponents.

Like Trump, gun owners don’t easily forgive- or forget- a betrayal.

We’ll keep you posted.

 Jim’s absolutely correct. Instead of kow-towing to a bunch of people that never supported him and never will support him, Mr. Trump needs to remember just who put him over the top in the battleground states. It sure as hell wasn’t members of Moms Demand Action.

Comment Of The Day

The comment of the day comes from Jim Shepherd of the Outdoor Wires. He concludes his discussion of the 4th Circuit’s majority opinion in Kolbe v. Hogan with this:

But don’t forget, that if this silly ruling were to survive, it wouldn’t be much of a reach- at least for lawyers and legislators- to extend the withdrawal of protections to everything from bolt action rifles and pump shotguns (trench guns in World Wars I & II and Vietnam) to the venerable cowboy action lever guns carried by the U.S. Army in the 1800s.

Will this one head to the Supreme Court?
Probably.

But with the District of Columbia and Chicago still thumbing their noses at the high court after rulings that should have repealed their oppressive anti-gun regulations, what real difference would it make?

When it comes to protecting the enumerated right defined in the Second Amendment, the United States Supreme Court isn’t just divided.

It’s toothless.

Why should any state or local official be concerned with the “supreme court” and its rulings if the court itself lacks the conviction to compel compliance?

Unenforced rules aren’t rules, they’re suggestions.

Jim is absolutely correct. The Supreme Court has had multiple opportunities to reinforce and correct misinterpretations of their rulings in Heller and McDonald. Every time they have blinked and let them go unchallenged.

Erin Palette was correct to call Supreme Court nominations “the Kardashians of politics”. By extension and given their reluctance to take another Second Amendment case, I’d call the justices themselves “the Kardashians of politics”.

Comment Of The Day

The comment of the day comes from Jim Shepherd of The Shooting Wire. He reviews the scathing decision by US District Court Judge John D. Bates in which he found that BATFE had erred in classifying Innovator Enterprises’ muzzle brake as a silencer.

Jim ends with this:

Using Judge Bates’ comparative critique of the flawed-logic used by the agency in its decision, you could draw the conclusion that possessing three characteristics of a competent police officer (a badge, gun, and arrest powers) wouldn’t qualify an individual (or group of similar individuals) to mount complicated investigations where a scrupulous attention to detail, an adherence to the rule of law, or an unswerving dedication to public safety during those investigations were essentials.

Maybe it’s just me, but this ruling makes another compelling argument that ATF is an agency in need of a top-to-bottom overhaul.

I think you’d find many rank and file BATFE agents in agreement with Jim’s conclusion.

You can read Judge Bate’s decision here.

Quote Of The Day

Jim Shepherd, publisher of the Outdoor/Shooting/Tactical Wires, has been doing a series of road trips this summer for his MyTime2Stand project. Currently he is on his western swing visiting many western states on his way out to the Crimson Trace Midnight 3-Gun event.

One of his stops was in Oklahoma City at H&H Shooting Sports Complex. Miles Hall of H&H likened his complex to a mall experience with its variety. This led Jim to write:

Later, while Hall gave me a tour of a bustling shooting complex he likens to a “mall experience” (more on that in a later column) I couldn’t help but believe the levels of interest in shooting, hunting, reloading, archery and almost any aspect of shooting sports was an indication of why many mainstream media outlets were concentrating so hard on negative stories about firearms: shooting is gaining in popularity-across the classic demographic lines. The mix of customers in H&H very closely resembled a typical Saturday crowd at the mall: all shapes, colors, and sizes.

If anyone understands the mindset and narrative of the mainstream media it is Jim. In another life he was one of the founders of Ted Turner’s CNN and served as their VP for News.

What If…

Jim Shepherd, publisher of the Outdoor Wires, had a very interesting column this morning regarding the new gun control legislation that has been surfacing in places as disparate as Colorado and New Jersey. The language of the bills seems to have been derived from the same source – Mayor Bloomberg and his Illegal Mayors. This is something Michael Bane just pointed out about the Colorado legislation in his weekly Down Range Radio podcast on Wednesday.

Jim asks the question what if the purpose of the legislation is really the redefinition of legal terms.

But what if the intent of this legislation wasn’t really the banning of magazines or classes of firearms? What if the real intent was to let the bans be watered down while pushing through sweeping redefinitions of terms we all think are clearly defined?

Consider, for example, the lawful transfer. That’s a transfer of ownership between two private parties or between a federal firearms licensee and a purchaser, right? To a point.

But what if language broadened to the point that the term “transfer” was applicable to any regulated item -such as a “high-capacity magazine” used in competition and not just a “firearm”?

It seems to be a very small distinction, until you realize that a lawful transfer, as stated under Colorado’s proposed statutes, would be applicable to magazines. And those definitions went on to broaden a “recognized competition” as having been run by either a state agency or non-profit. SASS, IDPA, USPSA are not, technically non-profit organizations. Under that broadened definition, USPSA/IDPA match officials picking up a magazine dropped during a competition stage would be participating in an illegal transfer.

Jim poses a very interesting question which illustrates the Machiavellian nature of some of our opponents. Read Jim’s whole column. It is a must-read.

Lies, Damned Lies, And Statistics

Jim Shepherd, publisher and editor of The Outdoor Wire, called out the Associated Press today for some of their reporting on gun sales. We all know that gun sales have been surging throughout the year. However, the AP would have you believe sales in Colorado and Connecticut, scenes of horrible tragedies, were off.

From the AP story “Fewer excited gun-buyers in Colorado and Connecticut”:

The government’s figures suggested far less interest in purchasing guns
late in the year in Connecticut and Colorado, where background checks
also increased but not nearly as much as most other states … Only New Jersey and Maryland showed smaller increases than
Colorado in December from one month earlier.

Sales must really be impacted there, right?

Not exactly as Jim notes:

Sounds reasonable, right? After all, these states are both reeling from the havoc caused there by crazies.

Not necessarily. While the story is accurate that the biggest surges in
background checks for gun purchases were in the South and West, the
numbers weren’t exactly insignificant in either Connecticut or Colorado.
The increases in NICS checks, and as may be implied, gun sales, in
those states were only sixty five and sixty-four percent,
respectively. Colorado’s checks frose from 35,009 in October to 53,453
in December. Connecticut went from 18,761 to 29,246 during the same
period.

It might be more accurate to say that “despite horrific tragedies, the
demand for firearms in both Connecticut and Colorado grew, although not
as fast as the red-hot markets in the South and West.”

But that wouldn’t fit the narrative, although the observation that
“background checks also tend to increase after mass shootings, when gun
enthusiasts fear restrictive measures are imminent.”

 Wouldn’t fit the narrative should be the new motto for the mainstream press when it comes to gun sales and the use of guns for self-protection.

Quote Of The Day

Today is the day that the House of Representatives will probably vote to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. It is also the day in which the Supreme Court will issue its ruling on the validity of ObamaCare. Jim Shepherd of The Outdoor Wire is calling this Big Thursday. With regard to Holder and the mainstream media’s play on his role in Project Gunwalker, he had this to say:

The “spinning” on that is already underway. Mainstream media is characterizing the fight between the Justice Department and the House committee charged with oversight of that agency as a test of the lobbying prowess of the “gun lobby” (that’s the NRA, Gun Owners of America, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and they myriad of other local and state organizations).

It decidedly is not. Sorry, it’s just not, and no amount of spinning will make that wish come true. It’s an investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing by officials who swore an oath to enforce our laws, not selectively ignore or violate them with impunity.

Mainstream media just refuses to accept that, and refuses to let their viewers, readers or listeners hear it reported as such. Instead, it’s been diminished and characterized as just another political cat fight.

It’s not about ideology. It’s not about guns. It is not a liberal/conservative, black/white or red/blue debate. It’s about justice – for all- including the people supposed to be equally enforcing the law.

Maybe that’s why some people are nervous at the thought of laws being equally enforced.