This time last year when the firearm community gathered in Las Vegas for the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show the tone was decidedly negative.
Preparing for a likely Hillary Clinton administration in the White House, firearm advocates were preparing for a fight on their hands to preserve their rights under the 2nd Amendment. Clinton was campaigning in part on strengthening criminal background checks and limiting action to assault-style firearms such as the AR-15, which was outlawed during her husband’s administration under the assault weapon’s ban.
But this year the mood has changed. With the inauguration of Donald Trump on the final day of the conference on January 20th, gun rights advocates believe they have a friend in the White House.
“Just a few short months ago, I had absolutely no idea what kind of speech i would be making tonight,” National Shooting Sports Foundation president and CEO Steve Sanetti told a crowd gathered for the State of the Industry dinner on Tuesday.
“We saw for all the plans being made to fight the good fight, that strategy thankfully was sidetracked,” Sanetti said. “Now we look forward with new hope to a period in which we may breathe a bit easier.”
But Sanetti warned against becoming complacent.
“Now make no mistake. There remain many who are of the belief that firearms and their makers and owners are not entitled to our beliefs, our livelihoods, or our way of life,” he said. “Their will is determined and their resources are enormous… It is in times of peace when we must allocate our resources to prepare for the next battle, whenever it may come.”