You'll perhaps not be surprised to know I turned the 3 days of the NRA convention into days 5, 6 and 7 of the SHOT Show. A lot of meetings and several GREAT autograph signings at the OC booth and at Burris Optics. I also ended up doing a ton of interviews; I said that I was shocked...SHOCKED!...that there had been no "active shooter events" in a big room filled with 70,000 mostly armed people!
The BANE-A-PALOOZA event at the Slippery Noodle went off just super...I don't know how many people we ended up with, but it was well over a hundred. THANK YOU Forum members and pod people! It was great to meet so many of you, and I got a LOT of ideas to steal wholesale!
I was heartbroken that I didn't get to go play with with the "substantial" crowd of antigun Bloomberg shills...there were fully 100 of them...as many seats as there was on the bus that brought them in! Wow! Unfortunately, they were apparently members of the United Federation of Shills, Lowlifes and Bums, so they were unable to protest longer than the time it took to do the interviews with MSNBC.
Here's a few random data points, and I'll be talking about Indy on this week's podcast:
• It is clear from the convention especially that women are playing a much greater role in the business and the culture than ever before. Obviously, the demo still skews older, male and white, but with this convention the effects of Gun Culture Ver. 2.0 are beginning to show. Faster, please!
• Interestingly enough on the same subject, one of the most common things I was asked by those very same older,male,white demo guys was how can we do a better job of reaching out the both the African America and the Hispanic community. I was heartened to see that, overall, our culture seems outreach as a major TO-DO list item, and it's something I'll be working on as well.
• I am a little concerned on the NRA's slight drift away from a laser-focus on gun rights. I'm going to refer you to Charles C. W. Cooke's excellent piece on NRO, tagged "The NRA Is Winning:"
The NRA is winning — and thank goodness that it is. So effective has it been that it must be tempting for its acolytes to branch out, fighting the good fight on more front than one. It should resist the lure, and — even at this moment of unprecedented success — remember what it was that made it so effective in the first place: discipline.BTW, Cooke was at the convention, obviously. I saw this same sort of drift duing the Bush The Younger years when we weren't in a DefCon One battle mode...I started getting calls from political folks that started like this: We know you're a gun activist, and that's why we think you should help us with [fill in the blank] issue. As a small "l" libertarian, I am very attuned to the depredations of our Constitutionally guaranteed liberties and the necessity to fight against those depredations. However, on a strictly pragmatic plane, movements typically can't be made to scale horizontally because of hugely differing depths of commitment on the other issues that might be tagged onto the primary issue.
I would say a large percentage of the gun culture — and an overwhelming percentage of our new shooters and hunters — fall more into my arena than the traditional GOP tent. While I will unconditionally agree with you on liberty issues, not only do a not agree with the mainstream GOP agenda, I think most of it is pure looney tunes. In the Bush years I found the big push was to draw gun rights advocates into GOP social issues. Not saying this is a huge issue yet, but it is something we need to be monitoring closely.
• When any government bans guns based on essentially "cosmetic" issues, manufacturers will simply change said cosmetic issues and motor on. It is not a question of "getting around" the laws, but the simple fact that laws drafted by cretins seldom make sense. If any legislative body should decide to ban, say, Manolo Blahnik Jeweled Pumps in Deep Sky Blue" because they cause harm and suffering to women's ankles, it should not surprise said legislators when consumers snap up Manolo pumps in Passion Purple and Vampire Lick Red (okay, I made those colors up!). The Troy Pump Action AR, the Black Rain really weird stocked New York compliant AR (which, by the way, doesn't feel nearly as weird as it looks) and the stunning Ares Defense Sporting Configurable Rifle are evolution in action and intelligent responses to stupid laws.
• It was Big Fun! As always, I am humbled and honored to meet the people who make SHOOTING GALLERY, THE BEST DEFENSE, GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA, DOWN RANGE Radio, DOWN RANGE Television and all our other projects possible. I cannot thank you all enough!