“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” – As unique and profound as the opening line from the Tale Of Two Cities is, the words seem to apply more often than not. In our world, the news and events surrounding the firearms industry – that cyclical ‘Yin Yang’, almost bipolar feeling – is caused by a variety of internal and external factors. On one hand, trade shows like SHOT can create excitement around a new firearm or a category of gear that is certain to be popular in the months ahead. On the other, violent criminal events can lead to rule making that effects all gun owners in the United States. Looking back, 2018 was quite the wild ride.
As we have announced many times in the past, our ‘Firearms, Not Politics’ motto can be a difficult line to walk. But both the reasoning and the goals behind the words on TFB’s masthead are pure: what brings us together is the appreciation of guns, not partisan arguments. Now, more than ever, we should be drawn together rather than pulled apart.
Take bumpstocks for example. While I tend to think bumpstocks are nothing more than range toys with little practical value, I believe that restricting access to a collection of polymer and springs is worthless as an attempt to prevent violent crime. And I also feel the new ruling sets a dangerous precedent: if bumpstocks can be effectively banned with a nothing more than comment period and a signature, what’s next?
Similarly, earlier this year a license agreement by Defense Distributed with the U.S. Department Of State came close to the release of schematics for hundreds of “3D Printable” guns. (By the way, I fully believe that many people that opposed to Defense Distributed’s work had envisioned users downloading a 5MB .tiff file, pressing a button on their laser printer, and having AR-15 rifles roll out en mass.) While the action was ultimately blocked by a federal judge, the question of both the First and Second Amendments being shaped by technological advances still remains. How far are we from replicator-style consumer equipment that could produce pistols on demand?
The answers to these questions doesn’t even require the use of partisan politics. As gun owners are often vilified for their beliefs in individual freedoms by those on both sides of the aisle, we are left to fight amongst ourselves rather than band together. One reason is because the spectrum of beliefs within gun owners runs the gamut – from leverguns and revolvers to RPGs and nukes. The other reason is because we are in the minority; one that is often looked down upon by the majority.
Unfortunately, pessimism is creeping up on optimism; my outlook for firearm ownership and the proliferation of individual freedoms is somewhat bleak for 2019. The only advice I can offer is to be the model for responsible gun ownership, take someone shooting, preach firearm safety, sing the praises and utility of suppressors and other NFA weapons and work towards “normalizing” our shared interests. I could mention some organizations to fund, letters to write and people to support, but that is a conversation for another forum.
No matter what happens, TFB will be here to report all the news that touches our industry.
Be safe everyone. Have a happy and prosperous new year.
Looking Back At 2018 – A TFB Year In Review
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. – Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 1859