The 38th annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show is unfolding this week in Las Vegas, and one can already sense it is going to be an energized gathering for the firearms industry, perhaps largely due to the rhetoric from Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The show runs Tuesday through Friday, and it is the largest such event in the world. According to data on the SHOT Show information page, this year’s show covers some 630,000 square feet of exhibit hall space. There are miles of aisles. There will be a significant presence by the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
People in the know expect some 60,000 firearms industry professionals to attend. The event is not open to the public. It’s for business, and business is booming.
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The gun prohibition lobby hates this event. In 2014, the firearms industry did a reported $6.6 billion in business, and the total economic impact is about $43 billion. The industry supports more than 263,000 jobs.
All of this translates to dollars also for conservation via the 70-year-old Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration program. That’s funded by a special dedicated tax on firearms and ammunition that is administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and provides federal funding to state wildlife agencies for all sorts of wildlife-related projects. Some of that money goes to range development and hunter education.
The show is held at the Sands Convention Center, and you can bet the place will be alive with discussions about sales, product availability and Clinton’s war against guns. During Sunday night’s debate, Clinton went after rival Bernie Sanders over his votes for such things as being able to transport firearms on Amtrak, and carrying guns for personal protection in national parks.
Clinton has said on several occasions that she wants to pass “comprehensive common-sense gun measures.” But people wonder exactly what does that mean? She has talked about Australia several times, and bans on semi-automatic modern sport-utility rifles.
Gun owners consider that kind of discussion as a frontal assault on the Second Amendment, and Clinton hasn’t really done anything to change their minds.
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