The battle has been joined between the five million National Rifle Association members and the $50 million dollar anti-gun war chest of Michael Bloomberg. And it's already shaping up to be a tough one. As the 143rd Annual Meetings and Exhibits wrapped up i Indianapolis, it was obvious the NRA executives are more than ready for that fight.
In his members meeting remarks, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre summed the feelings of the attendees up pretty simply: "We have always been the good guys" continuing that the NRA isn't "out of date; we're not out of step."
At the same time, Bloomberg's "Everytown" campaign was rolling out a series of ads attacking the politicians who spoke to the NRA membership at the annual meetings..
The NRA's counter was a video that characterized the battle as one man with millions of dollars versus millions of Americans with their $25 contributions, ready to fight him. Bloomberg, said NRA ILA head Chris Cox, can't "lie his way, buy his way nor bully his way" through the country to strip away the Second Amendment.
But the need to get out the 2014 vote was also pushed at every turn. At risk, said LaPierre, was the character of the nation. "We will be at the polls in November, and in the November after that, and we won't rest until November of 2016- when we have stood up as America's good guys and taken back the White House."
Meanwhile, the Bloomberg organization suffered a defection over the weekend with former Bush Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge resigning, citing his discomfort with the political activity of the organization.
Interview with Alan re:SCOTUS decision imminent on third gun rights case "I'm on pins and needles". Jim Shepherd/OWDN photo.
But Indianapolis wasn't the only focus of attention of some attendees. Second Amendment founder and head Alan Gottlieb, for example, found himself sitting in media interviews on Friday while he waited "on pins and needles" to hear whether or not the Supreme Court was going to take up a third Second Amendment case.
As it turned out, the highest court didn't make a decision after the oral arguments on Friday- it's expected that a decision will come sometime late this afternoon. We're watching this one closely as it could be the third pivotal case, incorporating the Second Amendment with the Fourteenth.
Lest we forget...there were lots of products on display this weekend. Many of them were additions of existing lines, but there were some which were actually interesting twists on existing concepts.
For example, the idea of the "survival rifle" has been around for decades, but it's getting new twists from companies realizing that the consumer is probably more focused on self-sufficiency than anytime in recent memory.
Taurus had it's 24-hour hour survival box (above) containing a handgun and the other gear necessary to get you through a major cataclysmic event. Italian gunmaker Chiappa, however, took a more traditional approach to the survival rifle (below), although their take on the classic minimalist design included a shotgun barrel on top with a .22 rimfire or .22 magnum underneath. The 20 gauge, however, had barrel inserts to take the pistol calibers from 9mm all the way up through .45 ACP.
For Taurus, that means including their Judge revolver in a grab-and-go type survival box along with the gear necessary to get you through the initial chaos of a cataclysmic event.
Italian gunmaker, Chiappa, however, has taken a different approach. Their new "Caliber X" rifle looks like a straightforward over/under minimalist rifle/shotgun combo. The primary difference you notice is their "foam and steel stock".
But the reason it's called "Caliber X" is one of those big differences. The rifle itself comes set to shoot 3-inch 12-gauge shot shells over the venerable .22 LR. The buttstock is a foam composite one that contains a cleaning kit along with room for two 12-gauge shells and five rounds of .22 LR.
An 8-piece adapter kit, however, is available that slides barrels into the 12-gauge tube and gives the ability to shoot .380, 9mm, .357/38 Special, 40 S&W, 44 Magnum, .45 ACP, 410/.45 colt or .20 gauge shells.
In other words, they've incorporated the idea of barrel inserts and the survival rifle to give you a packable rifle that can accept a variety of sight options via the picatinny rail system an use virtually any popular caliber handgun round along with the two most common shotgun gauges. According to booth workers, the Caliber X -with the gauge kit- sells for considerably less than $1,000.
More new products in the days ahead.
Meanwhile, are more and more Americans getting fed up with government intervention? Seems so, especially when it comes to actions being taken under the administration's latest "initiative" to preserve public lands.
Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boat founder, Arkansas Game Commission Pres, etc, has reached out- again- to urge outdoor industry to fight back against "federal land grabs" this one is the USFWS trying to take 769 miles of rivers and streams in Arkansas with additional mileage in other states. Reasoning? President's Great Outdoor Initiative - which Woods characterized as another federal land grab.
"Folks in Arkansas, including our Governor, Congressional staff, State Chamber of Commerce, Association of Arkansas Counties, and others have already expressed their concerns/views regarding these types of infringements on personal property," his "Note to Friends" reads, "The US Fish and Wildlife Service stated last year this would not
lead to sweeping changes...this is not to be believed....Thousands of acres and hundreds of miles of personal property were taken and swallowed up by the federal government...We can't depend on their promises!"
As always, we'll keep you posted.