SHOT Show 2016 News: Trump Talks Second Amendment, Firearm Background Checks Increase
Outdoor industry members expecting a strong sales year; gun companies and enthusiasts carefully watch Second Amendment and gun control debates; Donald Trump makes an appearance at OSA show
“Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson introduces and greets Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
On the desert floor of Nevada, the 38th edition of the SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show) got underway on Tuesday, January 19 at the spacious Sands Expo Center centered along the famed Las Vegas Strip.
With more than 1,600 exhibitors occupying booths filling more than 630,000-net square feet, the show’s organizers at the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF.org) expected more than 62,000 industry members to attend from all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 countries.
Here’s a sampling of what happened and what was heard during the show’s first day of business activity:
Strong Business Year Expected for Outdoors Recreational Industry
The 2016 election year version of the SHOT Show opened with large crowds and congested aisles crisscrossing the Sands Expo Center floor as industry members anticipate another strong year of economic activity for a $6.6 billion dollar firearms industry.
With the opening bell, event officials report this year’s tradeshow finds surging firearms sales happening nationwide.
According to a news release, NSSF-adjusted figures in December 2015 showed more than 2.2 million firearm background checks, an increase of 37.6 percent over the same month during the previous year.
For the entire year of 2015, NSSF officials indicate background checks were up 8.8 percent over 2014 figures.
“Despite the political challenges being mounted against our industry, it is gratifying to see the American people supportive of firearms ownership and to see new and diverse customers taking their first shots and enjoying our sports,” said NSSF president and CEO Steve Sanetti.
Shadow of 2016 Election Looms Large at SHOT Show
With 2016 serving as a presidential election year – and with recent gun-control efforts out of Washington headlining news cycles – politics and its effect on the outdoors industry is a big topic at this year’s SHOT Show.
This become even more apparent when Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump made a scheduled appearance at the Outdoor Sportsman Awards Thursday, January 21 at The Venetian Theatre in The Venetian Hotel & Casino.
“I am honored to attend this event and meet with an important group that supports and shares my position on second amendment rights, are strong conservationists of land, water and wildlife and produce exceptional hunting and fishing shows for American sportsmen and women,” said Trump in a statement.
“My sons, Don Jr. and Eric, are excellent marksmen, avid hunters and anglers, and are also proud members of the NRA – as am I. I am very strong on the second amendment. Now more than ever, Americans want to feel safe and protected. Taking away our guns and limiting our freedoms is not how we ‘Make America Great Again.’”
“It is a night of celebration and Mr. Trump’s presence is sure to cause a welcome buzz at this year’s Outdoor Sportsman Awards show,” said Jim Liberatore, Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks President and CEO.
“We welcome the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination and can’t wait to hear the reaction he receives from our enthusiastic audience.”
Realtree’s Jordan Hopeful for Solid Industry Year
On the first day of the 2016 SHOT Show, many offered their take on the current state of the industry and what effect this year’s presidential election will have on it.
That question was posed to several, including Realtree founder Bill Jordan, longtime co-host of Realtree Outdoors on Outdoor Channel.
“You know, business wise, I think everything’s going (to) be fine,” said Jordan. “Hopefully, Americans will stay on course and stay on track. You know, from the Republican side, who knows what’s going to happen there and the same thing on the Democratic side.
“But I’m hoping as a country (that) we stay positive (with) what’s about to happen and don’t get too scared,” he added.
“I think that’s one of the biggest things that I tell all of our employees. I say ‘We’re going to stay the course, we’re going to do business like we’ve always done it and I think at the end, it’s all going to work out.’”
Sure-Shot Unveils Triple-Reed Duck Call
As the Grove, Texas-based, Sure-Shot Game Calls (www.SureShotGameCalls.com) continues to build on its longstanding heritage, the company’s resurgence continues this week with the unveiling of a new and improved version of the triple-reed duck call that former world duck calling champ Jim “Cowboy” Fernandez designed back in 1968.
On the first day of the 2016 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Sure-Shot Game Calls president and CEO Charlie Holder unveiled the new version of the call, the Sure-Shot Model #700 Classic Triple Reed (MSRP $64.95).
With the updated design being cut from a single blank of black walnut wood and being machined whole for a perfect grain finish, the call’s manufacturing process calls to mind the making of fine shotgun stocks. With a Sure-Quack Triple-Reed System in place, Holder indicates that the call will “…respond to the slightest air input which results in a rich tone, (quickly) and effortlessly making every hunter sound like a pro caller.”
Outdoor Scribe Spomer Wins Grits Gresham Award
Ron Spomer, a highly respected outdoor writer and host of Winchester World of Whitetail on Sportsman Channel, was honored on Tuesday, January 19 with the annual Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator Award.
Sponsored by POMA (Professional Outdoor Media Association) and the NSSF, the award is given to recognize outstanding achievements for outdoors communication efforts concerning hunting, shooting and responsible use of firearms.
“Personally, I have been reading and watching Mr. Spomer’s work for many years,” said POMA executive director Kevin L. Orthman. “The Grits Gresham Award is one of the highest awards POMA gives out each year and Mr. Spomer is a great example of someone who has spent his career upholding traditional American sports.”
NSSF president and CEO Steve Sanetti echoed those sentiments.
“Grits Gresham set a high standard as an outdoor communicator with his commitment to craft and by celebrating out sporting lifestyle and ideals, and Ron Spomer has met that standard using traditional and new ways of communicating about hunting, shooting and the outdoors,” said Sanetti.
“He is most deserving of this award, and he joins a select group of honored media members who have earned the iconic Grits ‘Hat.’ We congratulate Ron wholeheartedly for his many achievements.”
SHOT Show Covers Huge Territory
First-time SHOT Show attendees are often overwhelmed by the sheer size of the event, one of the largest tradeshows in the world.
How big is the 2016 SHOT Show? The more than 1,600 exhibiting companies occupy enough space to cover 13 acres of ground complete with some 12.5 miles of show floor aisles.
For those doing the math at home, that’s enough space to fill the area covered by the Great Pyramid at Giza.
- The annual SHOT Show is the largest event hosted each year by the spacious Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.
- The 2016 SHOT Show marks the seventh straight year that the event has been headquartered at the Sands Expo Center.
- According to information from NSSF, the SHOT Show’s week-long run in Las Vegas pumps into the local economy almost $90 million dollars in non-gaming revenue.
- At the 2016 SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range, organizers say more than 500,000 rounds of ammunition were fired by media and industry members attending the event.
- With new enhancements added this year, the SHOT Show New Products Center is already a big hit with show attendees. Last year, SHOT Show officials say that more than 400 new products were.