Rumors, Acquisitions and Elections

Nov 5, 2012
Don't have the minutes of the meeting (yet), but sources tell me California Senator and longtime gun-hater Dianne Feinstein's legal staff held meetings on Friday with FTB/ATF legal staff to discuss a new "Assault Weapons Ban" Madame Feinstein would be looking to push through Congress if President Obama wins reelection. This same "pretty good intelligence" says the items that would lead to a ban would ban pistol grips and "high-capacity" magazines, eliminate any grandfathering and ban sales of "weapons in possession". I don't know about you, but if these things come to pass and I'm "in possession" I'm certainly not selling. In fact, the lack of interest in the idea surprised the California liberal's legal staffers. Apparently, they believe no logical person could possible disagree with them. Ordinarily, I wouldn't begin (or end) with a rumor, but today and tomorrow aren't exactly ordinary days. Today is the final day before the general election, and in case you haven't noticed there are plenty of significant items on ballots across the nation. But the outcome of the presidential race will say a lot about where we're headed as a nation- and as shooters. If you are registered to vote and haven't already voted via absentee ballot, delay whatever you had planned for tomorrow short of life-saving surgery and get to the polls. On Friday, I began receiving the first reports of increases in gun buying by people concerned about tomorrow's election. Dealers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Indiana all tell me there hasn't been a huge number of buyers expressing those concerns, but the numbers were noticeable. Among that group -and the majority of "regular" purchasers- the core driving most of the purchasing seem to be in their mid-to-late 30s. Again, home and personal defense are the most frequently cited reasons for buying. Diversity seems to be the reason for Remington's purchase of Georgia's The American Parts Company (TAPCO) announced in this morning's news section ("Acquisitions"). It will probably trigger the latest round of panicked email alerts asking "Why is George Soros Buying Gun Companies?" Soros owns neither Freedom Group or Cerberus Capital, but no rumor ever completely dies in email. But this latest in what I suspect will be a string of acquisitions indicates that Freedom Group is broadening both their holdings and interests in the industry. TAPCO represents both a new market and additional manufacturing capabilities. Both good for a company that's made no secret of the fact it has just about had it with state governments who threaten to burden long time manufacturing facilities with additional taxes and regulations. Speed and agility aren't always easy for a company of more than 3,000 workers with facilities scattered across the country. New product categories and fresh eyes in research and development are valuable to any company. Freedom Group is still secretive, but it continues to demonstrate to skeptics in the industry (myself included) that they are a company with a gun culture. My limited conversations with either President Scott Blackwell or Vice-Chairman Wally McLallen quickly turns to shooting or hunting. And speaking of shooting and hunting, tomorrow is the opening day of NASGW's annual meeting. NASGW doesn't get the media attention of SHOT Show, but that doesn't diminish its importance to the industry and the selling cycle. In fact, NASGW is probably better positioned date-wise than SHOT when it comes to the business of the business. I'm headed there and will be looking for the latest-and-greatest products that will actually be shipping for sales soon. That's another key difference in the two shows: NASGW is about arriving products; SHOT's a lot about what's coming down the pike. The first announced items of interest we've seen are Crimson Trace's line of value-priced lasers. With MSRPs under $150, they're probably going to get a lot of attention from retailers. And a final note: tomorrow, The Tactical Wire will be producing it's annual Concealed Carry Special Edition. It will contain news of new products, reviews, and some very good writing on the topic of concealed carry. I look forward to reading it -and don't want you to be surprised when your edition shows up. Busy week, and we'll keep you up with what's happening. --Jim Shepherd