They maintain this position despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Case in point, the 2012 SHOT Show or Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show.
Anyone who attended the 2012 SHOT Show, held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, could tell one about the crowds and the general outpour of enthusiasm for the gun community and firearm industry.
But even if one was skeptical of anecdotal comments from wide-eyed attendees, he/she could look at the record-setting numbers to get an idea of how big of an event it was.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which runs the annual event, recently published attendance numbers. According to NSSF records, more than 61,000 people attended the show, including new highs for buyers at 36,383 and media at 2,466 (Yes, Guns.com was there too).
Additionally, more than 1,600 exhibitors filled booth space, blanketing the 630,000 square foot venue. The show attracted industry professionals from all 50 states and 100 countries, according to the event organizers.
SHOT Show is the largest shooting, hunting and outdoor trade show in the world, and is the fifth largest trade show in Las Vegas, which is the Mecca of trade shows.
“We have worked hard to make sure SHOT is a great selling and buying experience, and it has resulted in our best show ever,” said Chris Dolnack, the NSSF senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
Proceeds from the show go to support many of the NSSF’s programs and initiatives designed to protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports.
“The SHOT Show allows NSSF to do many good things for industry, shooting and hunting,” said NSSF President Steve Sanetti.
Overall, the firearms and ammunition industry has been one of the few saving graces of the economy during this recession (click here to read about “How Guns and Ammunition are helping to Save the U.S. Economy”). And many see the record turnout at SHOT as an augur of good things to come in 2012.
“It’s a wonderful time to be in our industry,” Sandy Chisholm of North American Arms, a handgun manufacturer, told NSSF organizers. “We’ve seen tremendous enthusiasm on the part of sellers and buyers, and we see the prospect of a very good year ahead.”
Mark Malkowski, president of Stag Arms, maker of modern sporting AR-style rifles, also had a positive outlook on the year to come.
“Traffic is like we’ve never seen it before,” he told NSSF organizers at the show. “Retailers we’ve talked to are expecting a record year.”
Time will tell if 2012 is a record year for the gun industry. But even if it’s not, gun owners and gun manufacturers still have a lot to look forward to in the coming year.
And as for the critics and the skeptics who believe gun ownership is on the decline, SHOT Show will return to the Sands Expo & Convention Center next year, January 15-18. They can go there and see for themselves how poorly the industry is doing.