Gun Manufacturers Boycott Copshops in States That Fight Gun Violence With Laws

The gun industry, which is made up of large manufacturers like Colt, Smith & Wesson, Glock, and Beretta; small bespoke manufacturers like Wilson Combat and Magpul; as well as internet commerce businesses like Cheaper Than Dirt and MidwayUSA are each staking out their positions in the highly polarized battle that encompasses the gun violence debate and associated legislation. The primary tactics of the manufacturers are three-pronged. First, they are flooding their lobbyists at the NRA with money. Then, they announce variations of boycott, either threatening to move their manufacturing out of states that pass laws or threatening police, states and government agencies that, should gun regulations be applied, they will not sell firearms or accessories to cops and police agencies “that citizens can’t buy”. In other words, if a state votes to limit magazine capacity to 7 [such as New York State], none of the boycotting manufacturers would sell magazines to cops, federal agents or any other law enforcement magazines that have higher capacity.

I would point out that many of them, while “standing on principle” with their boycott are also raising their prices and price gouging current customers under the cover of current panic buying by gun enthusiasts but that would just be a cheap shot. Principles are, apparently a moving target.

Magpul, the AR-15 magazine and accessory company in Colorado was the first, most vocal protester in support of their vested economic interests. Magpul declared, in no uncertain terms that, should Colorado pass HB 1224, which limited magazine capacity they would move out of Colorado and take their 300 jobs with them.

To date the measure, HB 1224 has passed the Colorado House and it is scheduled for March 4th in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The threat of boycott remains.

Beretta upped the ante by threatening to leave Maryland should that state’s legislature pass an assault weapons ban and other gun regulations. Beretta, current supplier of the sidearm for the US Military is the US arm of Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta, the oldest firearms manufacturer in the world, in business since 1526. BerettaUSA threatened to move manufacturing away from Maryland should the bill pass. It passed the Senate earlier this week and is in House committee today. Maryland’s governor supports the measure.

The second element of the boycott is to refuse to sell to cops, to police agencies or any law enforcement firearms which can’t be bought by “civilians”. This was begun with folks like Cheaper Than Dirt and MidwayUSA, large internet gun shops that are intrinsically tied to the NRA with their extensive advertising in print, broadcast and internet media.

These retailers are joined by dozens of small, bespoke manufacturers and accessory dealers like Wilson Combat and Barrett who have said they will either 1) move out of states which pass laws and/or 2) will not sell to anyone, law enforcement included items that are not available to everyone. Their strength, however is diminished because the large manufacturers, Colt, Smith & Wesson, Glock, Sig Sauer are NOT part of the boycotts. And as the heavyweights in the discussion, if they decide to continue to sell to their primary customers…the boycott will have little or no effect.

What does this all mean? Right now the two most vocal, largest manufacturers who have decided to boycott are awaiting their respective state legislatures to finalize votes on gun bans or magazine bans. If they pass, as expected the manufacturers have to decide to either commit to their rhetoric or figure out a way to rationalize their business decisions should they stay. The rest of the small businesses…well, they will have little impact. For each of them there are multiple alternatives in the marketplace who have not restricted purchases for law enforcement.

It also means that the decisions regarding regulations that are intended to impact gun violence will be played out in both legislative houses across the country as well as in the free market with businesses and consumers alike able to “put their money where their mouth is”.  Some companies, like Barrett would likely fold if they maintain and extend their boycott to the federal government should the federal Assault Weapons Ban pass…the main customers of their $10,000, 50 caliber sniper rifle are government…and that is how the free market works.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.

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7 responses to “Gun Manufacturers Boycott Copshops in States That Fight Gun Violence With Laws

  • Sean D Sorrentino

    “This was begun with folks like Cheaper Than Dirt and MidwayUSA, ”

    No, the original statement was made by LaRue Tactical, quickly followed by many other “small, bespoke manufacturers.” CTD came later, and Midway has apparently always had this policy. It took us almost a week to drag that info out of them.

    It would make your analysis much better if it was based on facts.

    “and that is how the free market works.”

    The last company who was stupid enough to choose government contracts over their real customers was Smith and Wesson. You should ask their previous owners how much that cost them.

    We did it once. We’ll damn sure do it again. And that’s REALLY how the free market works.

    • mcallisterbryant

      LaRue put their stake in the ground 2/8/13. Others did so in January. So they may have been early, they were not “original”.

      I wrote “This was begun with folks like…” It does not imply an exclusive “first”, only listing two of the larger ones. All have been done within a 60 day period, not strung out over years. Those are facts.

      While S&W has a strong consumer market, folks like Barrett do not to my knowledge share that business model…and that was who I referenced in the discussion of government sales.

      As for “we did it once”…who is “we”? And what was done once?

      • Sean D Sorrentino

        Since I’m the guy running the boycott list, I think you ought to listen when I tell you that the people who started this movement were LaRue, immediately followed by Olympic Arms. There were companies who hauled out old policy statements and waved them after the New York Boycott started, but they were not “first” in the sense that they didn’t lead this like LaRue and Oly.

        As for Ronnie Barrett, you could always ask him. He built his rifles for long range competition and sold them for that LONG before the Army decided they might like to have some. He almost certainly still sells more to citizens than to government. And I sincerely doubt he would fold.

        We? We the consumers. We bankrupted them when we boycotted them after the Clinton agreement.

  • A leftist weighs in - An NC Gun Blog

    […] The second element of the boycott is to refuse to sell to cops, to police agencies or any law enforc… […]

  • mcallisterbryant

    Your own list shows several folks who were apparently on board before LaRue [your date] 2/8.

    FYI, it is a good list.

    • Sean D Sorrentino

      Dude, I’ve been driving this bus for over two weeks. I know who got on when, who announced the trip, and who stood up suddenly and said “Hey, we’ve been on this bus the whole time.”

      I’m not some dumb fool who is just making the list. I’m the one making it happen. I’m the one who heard voices online saying “I wish everyone would jump in on this” and started sending the emails, writing the blog posts, and starting the email campaign. I think you can safely trust me to tell you about the timeline of it all.

      • mcallisterbryant

        I understand that you have two weeks invested in your list. And it is a good list. But your own list shows others before LaRue…but the point is, who is FIRST not particularly relevant…all are less than three weeks old [except for the couple on your list from January].

        I have the impression you are stuck on the comment “This was begun with folks like Cheaper Than Dirt and MidwayUSA…” and either didn’t see or care to see the word LIKE. That’s OK. I was not trying to provide a chronological account of the boycott. Had I wanted to do that it would have been written in list format. I chose two, much like I only chose a few of the “large manufacturers”, not intending to have a comprehensive list, just a representative list.

        I know you stand by your list…you should because it is comprehensive. But neither of us knows if there are others not on the list who, because you just haven’t been told yet or because they are not propagating their opinion haven’t made it.

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