I got an email the other day. Now, that’s typically not big news. I get hundreds of emails each day. A lot of you would call them spam, but I actually go out of my way to get on email lists because I find value in information. And if the people who are emailing me no longer provide value, I simply unsubscribe, but I digress.
This particular email came from the folks at Ruger. It stated that Ruger would not change its business practices or products despite the actions of some rogue shareholders who made silly demands. Being a publicly traded company, Ruger was bound by law to respond to these idiots in the form of a report to the shareholders. It was clear this email was an effort to get out ahead of the keyboard commandos who would invariably go off half-cocked and flood the internet with wild stories about how Ruger would no longer produce certain guns or sell them to certain people or other such nonsense.
Honestly, I trust Ruger to do the right thing, and I am more concerned with those late-night internet warriors who seem to live only to complain about things they saw online. Most of those people do not seem to care if the information is accurate or complete. If the information they read made them angry, they would forward the note along with a call for direct action and even greater anger. After all, they are at a keyboard. They can say whatever they want.
Something like this happened to Springfield Armory over the past year when some admittedly bad legislation was proposed, and there was concern that Springfield Armory would somehow be excluded from the worst of the proposal. Keyboard commandos went nuts. Suddenly people with only half the information started complaining about how Springfield Armory should be ashamed. There were calls for a boycott. The commandos wanted the world to know they would not stand for such terrible behavior.
Even now, a year later, the details of what really happened are not entirely clear to me. I know the Illinois Legislature proposed a bad law that would affect gun sellers and thus gun owners. I know there was talk that Springfield Armory would somehow be exempt. It went round and round. Springfield Armory apparently fired the offending lobbying firm that made the mistake. The company came out as opposed to the law, and the legislation either died or was changed. But angry commandos on the interwebs still continued to complain.
Well, one of those complaints ended up in my email inbox, and an angry USCCA member wanted to cancel his membership to this fine organization because we “supported” Springfield Armory.
Let’s think this through for a minute. A lobbying group made an error while representing Springfield Armory. Springfield Armory corrected this error and voiced its opposition to the legislation and continued support for gun owners across the country, but still people want to boycott the company and, apparently, any company that does business with it.
What is the end result of such a boycott? If we carry it to its logical conclusion, Springfield Armory would be driven out of business. No one wants that. Do we really want one less gun maker in this country? Do we really want to see all the employees at Springfield Armory laid off because of a mistake made by an outside entity? Do we really want to see all the ancillary businesses that support and are supported by Springfield Armory hurt because of the boycott?
Springfield Armory is a huge supporter of the Second Amendment, donating money, time and effort to pro-gun groups all over the country. Does anyone think that if Springfield Armory were to be run out of business, the other gun makers would (or could) make up that gap in donations and pro-gun spending? The loss of one gun maker weakens the entire industry.
The company may have made a mistake. I am certain the company made immediate moves to correct that mistake. If you are cynical, you might think, “They are only doing this to save their business.” Guess what? They are, and that is the right thing to do. Springfield Armory operates in the most hostile, anti-gun state in the Union. We are also in the midst of what can only be called the “Trump slump” in the gun industry. Without fear of Obama or Hillary moving to ban guns, sales have plummeted. It is a tough time for gun makers right now. But rather than lash out at them and threaten to boycott them out of business, let’s support the gun makers of this country. Let’s slow down, get all the facts and assume the best about the intentions of every gun maker struggling to stay profitable while supporting the Second Amendment.
The misguided public outcry has forced companies such as Ruger to spend time and money proactively working to stop the groundswell of anger that comes from half-truths floating around the internet. They could be using that time and money to produce more and better guns while protecting the Second Amendment against constant attacks.
Gun companies have a tough job, and they are working hard to balance all the interests of business, politics and public opinion. The best thing we can do now is direct our anger at the politicians who put them in such a tight spot and, of course, buy a gun. It will help keep the economy humming along, and it is one way to show your total support for the Second Amendment.
I want more gun makers in this country. Not fewer.
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