As we gathered together this past weekend in Atlanta for the NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits, I couldn’t help but think back to last year’s NRA meetings in Louisville. There was so much uncertainty headed into the election, but we were looking forward to hearing from all the NRA leaders and Presidential candidate Trump. Being in that venue and seeing all the people who came out to support the NRA and their 2nd Amendment Rights was inspiring. You tend to forget just how expansive the reach of our industry is. After our time in Louisville, I left with a sense of optimism. I was reminded how deep the heritage of the shootings sports industry runs, how ingrained the 2nd Amendment is in the founding principles of our country, and how passionate Americans are about their rights. I believe this is what pushed Trump to victory over Hillary back in November, and I believe that is what will continue to carry our industry into the future.
NRA is one of my favorite events of the year. I always enjoy connecting with people within our industry and seeing familiar faces. However, this year’s atmosphere was a bit different. We didn’t have the uncertainty of the election hanging over our heads, but we did have an uncertainty of a different kind. Consumer demand has been a bit shaky to start the year and some in the industry are worried. For those of us who have been around to see the ups and downs of the shooting sports industry, that uncertainty isn’t as daunting. It isn’t the economy, the policy from the Trump administration, or the new products that are in the works, that will get us back on track. The confidence I have in our industry lies in the hard-working Americans that represent the heritage and tradition that make our industry special. It’s those people who make the trip to NRA every year. It’s those people who will drive demand and get us back on track. And, it’s those people who we need to listen to as we make decisions to steer the ship. Those people are the consumers, and their voice will continue to grow stronger. My time in Atlanta reminded me that we need pay attention to those conversations, ask questions, dig deeper, and listen. Times are changing, and it is up to us to adapt.
I hope that you had a good time in Atlanta and I look forward to seeing you all at the next industry event.
Until next time,