Several weeks ago I mentioned attending the National Shooting Sports Foundation SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show). I’ve been asked to talk about some of the things that might be of interest to a, believe it or not, pediatrician (!) at this gathering of ‘The Evil Gun Industry’.
It almost goes without saying that there couldn’t have been many of us baby docs in attendance. The American Academy of Pediatrics is a well-known anti-gun agitator in organized medicine, after all. I’m a pretty rare bird, and have had the privilege of being a blogger in attendance for the past several years.
One of the main points I try to impress upon people is that SHOT Show is an industry trade show like any other. It’s a gathering by and for the people and businesses that make their livings in shooting, hunting, and outdoor businesses. As such, all of these people are trying to make money. NOT in ‘The Evil Gun Industry’ sense—as most anti-gunners and many physicians think. But in the this-is-how-I-feed-my-family sense.
You read correctly. Although there ARE large manufacturers of firearms and ammunition represented there, they are numerically outnumbered by the profusion of much smaller operations—many of them family run businesses. Despite the left’s frequent depiction of gun industry gatherings as being a bunch of ignorant rednecks furiously masturbating over their new death machines, this trade show is a gathering of likeminded businessmen and women, some of them just starting out with their new storefront and products. There were literally thousands of booths, miles of aisles, and upwards of 65,000 attendees.
It’s not all guns and gun parts, either. (Though I do like guns and gun parts!)
There was a father and son knife and tool business introducing a great new product, just as many others were. There were custom knife makers, and makers of hatchets, machetes and other bladed tools. There were mom and pop leather holster makers. There were female entrepreneurs with camo hunting clothing lines. There were family property owners in the outdoor adventure vacation business. There were state tourism bureaus. There were makers of decoys for hunting, makers of sleeping bags, and makers of backpacks and outerwear.
There were also many companies that make supplies and equipment for law enforcement. One held a celebratory ceremony on the show floor, recognizing a female police officer whose life was saved in the line of duty by the company’s protective equipment.
Also in the saving lives department, there were companies making equipment and supplies for EMS, wilderness rescue, and tactical medicine. There were makers of gun safes, large and small. And there were other safety devices designed to keep small fingers and other unauthorized persons away from household firearms.
In addition to for-profit businesses, there were also non-profit conservation and charitable organizations, including the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation, the National 4-H Shooting Sports, the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, and the SEAL-Naval Special Warfare Family Foundation, among many others.
As a pediatrician, my attention was especially grabbed by the booths for NSSF’s Project ChildSafe and the Kids & Clays Foundation.
The former is a safety and education initiative I have known about for years, and have even made donations to the cause. The latter, I had never heard of before attending SHOT Show a few years ago. This organization holds sporting clays events to benefit Ronald McDonald Houses associated with children’s hospitals across the country.
I know what you’re thinking— that can’t be, right? Those rednecks and ammosexuals have actual educations? Even actual engineering and business degrees?? Wait. hold the phone, you say: ‘The Evil Gun Industry’ cares about children???
Do you mean to tell me that ‘The Evil Gun Industry’ is made up of regular, hardworking, intelligent American citizens? You mean that the firearms industry itself supports and promotes safety? That shooting sports support sick children and their families??
Talk about “Thinking of the children.” I wonder if the AAP knows about this?!
Well, I’m here to tell you that it is indeed all true—but the facts just don’t fit the AAP’s narrative. Maybe we should all remember that the next time we hear from our professional organizations.
—“Dr. LateBloomer” is the pen name of a female general pediatrician (MD, MPH, FAAP) who enjoys competitive shooting sports, including IDPA, USPSA and 3-Gun. Evil semi-automatic firearms are her favorites.