June Soapbox – “Perfect” Storm

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does.

Thanks to COVID-19, the levels of anger and hostility many people feel have risen, largely as a function of the severity of their lockdown status, their suffering through miserable weather, possible lost jobs, etc.  For example, I plan to return to PHL later this week (crimson RED status) and I anticipate facing a very angry community – businesses closed, lockdown in effect, lousy weather – quite unlike the more comfortable, permissive (Yellow, tending Green) circumstance I’m leaving in SW FL.  News reports confirm that the “angry zone” occupies broad swaths of our country.  A lot of hostile energy, looking for an outlet.  What to do?

Enter George Floyd (R.I.P.), the most recent face of police criminal misuse of force.  Tragic.  Inexcusable.  The unlawful behavior of a reprehensible few stains the many dedicated professionals who are sworn to – and who generally deliver – necessary and important public service.  The response in this and ALL instances ought to be swift justice.  The protests can’t be loud enough.  Maybe, similar to the thoughts of many following another episode of senseless gun violence, THIS will be the catalyst to deliver enduring change.  Sadly, color me skeptical/cynical.

I shouldn’t diminish/compare the level/intensity of anger for social injustice vs. the relatively short-lived interruption of a pandemic.  The injustice component is personal, soul-felt and has been simmering for decades.  “Something should be done!”; indeed.  The pandemic is simply a momentary source for more anger.

Please stay safe and remain hopeful.  Admittedly, mine is hanging by a thread.

May 2020 Soapbox – Disruption. Just wow…

It seems like a long time ago that I wrote my last Soapbox (“March – Corona Virus”), but it’s just been two months (in the interim, my Marketing Manager, Sadie, introduced herself).  When I spoke about the then-recently discovered virus and the devastating consequences that it would likely cause to our economy, I had very little appreciation for the breadth and scale of the upset that was yet to come, and I still don’t.  This thing is far from played-out.  Most of the attention has rightfully been given to public health and safety strategies (social distancing, quarantining) but the sudden, bilateral rush to throw container loads – a.k.a. trillions – of $ at the problem speaks volumes about the devastating consequences of the economic disruption we’re only beginning to recognize.  Industry and commerce have been sent reeling, with the prospects of recovery months, if not years, in the future.  Energy, transportation, hospitality, retail, all on the verge of collapse.  A recession is a certainty.  Unemployment levels will likely exceed those reached in the Great Depression.  No sports to keep us amused but, boy, have we been binging (I recommend Tiger King on Netflix; you can’t make this stuff up).

As I had anticipated, business in the firearms industry has been robust (see below), and NAA has gotten its share and our future continues to look bright.  I’m told that new buyers have been driving this recent buying activity and while we know we’re certainly not anyone’s first gun, we also know that very few people have just one gun.  We may not be your second, or even your third, but we know, you new shooters, you are going to find – and want – us sooner or later.  We’ll be patient.
I’m the last person who can complain about what for many remains a hellish personal experience.  All things considered, life in SW FL has been pretty comfortable.  Still playing some golf and a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle about half completed.  Please know the heartfelt sympathy I feel for you if you are, like one of my daughters, on the roles of the temporarily unemployed through no fault of your own.  While the tunnel is very long, there is indeed a light at the end of it.
Stay safe. – Sandy
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and particularly their legislative affairs group, deserves great credit for their quick, effective, mulit-fronted efforts to see that firearms manufacturers and retailers were deemed “essential businesses” across the land with very few exceptions, and frequently in the face of substantial governmental pushback.  The NSSF’s engagement was timely and successful, just another example of work that makes them worthy of support.

April Soapbox – My Introduction

Hey All,

Happy April! With everything that is going on I hope that statement still applies to you and that you are finding and having happy moments amidst all the chaos that is going on. For the soapbox this month I get to introduce myself to you! My name is Sadie Sweat, and I have recently come to NAA as the new Marketing Manager. I grew up in the beautiful Heber City, Utah and currently am living here in Orem while I am finishing up my degree in Public Relations at Utah Valley University.

I am thrilled to be here with the NAA Family and have already enjoyed my three months here immensely. I grew up in Utah on a farm hunting and camping which has prepared me well to be in the firearms industry. (My dad is so proud). I am focusing right now on showcasing all of the products that we have better across all media channels and improving the aesthetic of our website. I hope you have enjoyed the awesome products that we have recently been working on, as well as the originals that are the life blood of our company.

When I am not taking photos of Mini’s or posting new products online, I like to spend my time outdoors. I love all sports, playing and watching but especially soccer, running our cows up in Star Valley, Wyoming with my family, or reading a good book in the comfort of my home. I am excited for what is to come and for my future with this great company.

Take all precautions to stay safe and healthy! Until next time!

Sadie

March Soapbox- Corona Virus

Who knew?  A month ago, I’d never heard of it.  One of those curious, foreign calamities that had a news value but otherwise appeared to present very little threat to “us”.  Boy, has that changed, and who knows what the endgame is.

Here’s a small patch of silver lining: the existence/threat of this virus has (at least temporarily) squelched the growing crisis in Hong Kong regarding human rights.  It appeared inevitable that the Chinese government would ultimately launch a Tianamen-style crushing military response.  That threat (temporarily) no longer exists, but no thoughtful individual imagines that the underlying issues that led to the rioting are anything but momentarily dormant – the conclusion of that story has not yet been told.

The first signs of an economic impact – the almost unprecedented, precipitous decline of the stock market – have become blindingly apparent and they resonate across the entirety of the economy (reality check: the DJIA average now stands at roughly what was a record high as little as five months ago).  While fear has exaggerated the decline, there are clearly real supply chain disruptions that make tariffs look like a speed bump.  Ask Apple how this will impact their business.  The ripples are beginning to circle the globe.

For example, next week’s IWA exposition, the international equivalent of SHOT annually held in Germany, has been “postponed”.  The liklihood of the NRA Convention being conducted in Nashville in about six weeks?  I doubt it.  The prospects for the Olympic games being contested in August in Tokyo?  I doubt this “thing” is going to be fixed in time to assure the safety to the potential attendees.

We’re just getting a taste of the impact of this virus here at home and while it’s far too early to imagine the possible outcomes, I’m not reassured about our ability to combat the contagion.  It’s my increasingly cynical nature to fear the worst when my government echos Franklin Roosevelt (“The only thing we have to fear …”).  My imagination runs wild.

History has shown the impact that the threat of social unrest has on the firearms market.  I’d very gladly forgo the likely increase in business for a solution to, or even mere mitigation of,  the problem.

BTW, Bernie vs. Biden?  (Biden at a town hall 02/20: “Gun manufacturers, I’m coming for you, period”.  Oh please … bite me).  A titanic struggle between Lilliputians.  A war of wits between unarmed opponents.  The Democrats will deserve the outcome of the nomination/election process that appears increasingly likely.

So, that’s my story.  Happy March!

February Soapbox – NSSF Real Solutions

It’s nice to be back.  I missed you guys and girls.

I’ve just returned from SHOT, a little the worse for the wear, but I was happy to reconnect with so many old friends and industry associates.  Our response to the inquiries “What’s new?” was a relatively modest one.  You’ll have seen or will see some additional barrel lengths, specifically the 4” Ranger II (California: you’re welcome).  We’re also looking at offering some additional colored finishes (bronze and dark blue were shown at the show) as well as a faux case-hardened look (not my personal favorite, I’ll admit, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder).  You can probably expect to see these offered as TALO special editions.  Otherwise, I answered the question with “Same old low prices, same old high quality and same old good customer service”.

I wanted to briefly redraw your attention to the state of the firearms industry and last year’s stunningly abrupt reversal in the anti-gun rhetoric spewed by Joe Biden, echoed by several others of his fellow candidates, where he shifted his sights away from the NRA and refocused them, instead, on the universe of firearms manufacturers who he characterized as “the enemy” of public safety https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/450807-biden-enemy-is-gun-manufacturers-not-the-nra.  I use that as counterpoint to a campaign designed and supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation called “Real Solutions” https://www.nssfrealsolutions.org/ which illustrates the policies and programs created and championed by the industry which actually have a demonstrable, positive impact on public safety.  This is joined by a companion program recently launched called “Gun Owners Care” https://gunownerscare.org/, an effort intended to deflect the broad-brushed criticisms that gun owners like you and me are inherently bad people because of our enjoyment of firearms and the rights and traditions they embody.

We are not the enemy and I’m tired of the slander routinely heaped upon us.  How about you?