At what point do people step beyond the protection of the “Unified Front” clause of the RKBA Movement?

This article was written by Rob Pincus of I.C.E Training. It is being published here with permission and in its entirety.


At what point does the cry of “unification” really just become an excuse to keep things smooth with friends or associates?

At what point do you need to start cutting people out of the club?

Better Question:  At what point do people self-select out of the club?

Last month, when Cheaper Than Dirt! responded to the tragic killings in Newtown, CT by suspending all online firearms sales in the interest of re-examining their marketing approach (presumably to emphasize “sporting” firearms) and followed that miss-step up with ridiculous price gouging of ammo and magazines (400+% markups), they got what they deserved: Swift Backlash from the firearms community and a loss of many thousands of customers. Since that time, reports of them canceling back-orders and selling the same items for the new higher prices have been rampant. Yet, I was still told by some people at SHOT Show last week that we should not ostracize or boycott them, because we need to be “united”.

For a couple of years now, I have been prodded by people in the Open Carry Movement, and occasionally questioned by those who don’t care a lick about open carry, for my criticism of those who wear guns openly to get attention, to cause confrontation and to agitate law enforcement and non-gun owners. I have taken the position that those people have done the Right to Keep & Bare Arms movement more harm than good… as I believe was demonstrated clearly in the legal changes in CA in regard to open carry of unloaded firearms (the first major negative state level firearms legislative action in over a decade up until the recent New York Restrictions) and the ‘clarification’ of Mississippi laws that outlawed OC, which had up ’til then been a gray area. I have been accused of not supporting the Second Amendment because I was not willing to give this cantankerous crowd support on the basis of presenting a “unified” front as gun owners.

Most recently, I have read a statement from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade organization of the firearms industry, calling for “unification” in regard to the Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show. The organizers of that show, Reed Exhibition Company, have decided to ban all AR style rifles and accessories. ESOS is one of the largest hunting shows in the world open to consumers and it is now dealing with many industry leading companies, including Cabela’s and Trijicon, pulling out of the even entirely in response to their decision to ostracize the fastest growing & most popular section of our community. So, why would the NSSF put out a call for people to stay in the show?  Reed Exhibitions also runs the SHOT Show… the largest trade event in the firearms industry. How is it possible that we can stay in a show to present  a “united” front, when the part of the industry that needs our support the most has been kicked out ? I am a member of the NSSF and it makes no sense to me. I do applaud the NSSF’s official statement as a step in the right direction, but I hope that there is follow up that results in a change in Reed or a change in SHOT Show Management.

So, I ask the question, “At what point does one’s actions put them outside the group?”   When your actions make you a detriment to the bigger picture, to the greater good and the fundamental principles of our cause, I think you step out of the umbrella of “unification.”  When you cut off customers, entire classes of firearms, provide the other side with ammunition to paint us as extremists or to give the impression that we have something to hide, be ashamed of, or apologize for, I think you are beyond the scope of claiming protection under the “Unified Front” clause.

Over a decade ago, I wrote a statement for a project called the “Firearms Owners Unification Project“.  The fight at that time was to unify those hunters, sport shooters and even some industry leaders who would accept capacity limits and firearms bans because their interested weren’t being threatened with the rest of us who saw the bigger picture and were being directly affected by the bans and restrictions of that era. We’ve largely won that fight and we’ve seen incremental encroachment for what it is. A temporary ban becomes permanent. A 10 round limit becomes a 7. This process continues until we don’t have any firearms left. As individual gun owners, most of us get that now.

UnknownI’m all for the unification of our movement and our community… but, not if those I am being asked to join with are making our job harder or trying to play the old game of “hide the black guns”. We know that doesn’t work. The primary reason for the Second Amendment is defense of one’s self, one’s family and, ultimately… if need be… this country.  It is not hunting and it is not competition shooting. Those who have benefitted from the amazing growth in the defensive, tactical, “military style” sector of our industry, including Cheaper Than Dirt! and Reed Exhibitions should think about what “Unification” really means.  And, it might be time for NSSF to shop around for a better ally to organize SHOT Show (OR to put some public pressure on Reed to rescind there decision) so that we can know that we are all truly unified.

-Rob Pincus

-I.C.E. Training Company

  1. I just got the new CTD catalog in the mail. They’ve got plenty of ammo listed…but no prices. As I noted a while back, their previous catalog had a 1000 round case of Lake City 5.56 Green Tip listed for $599, while they were actually selling it for $999.

    No mas, CTD.

  2. As a more liberal gun owner / advocate, I really appreciate this message. As a gun owner, especially being an AR15 owner, I get the sometimes difficult job of explaining what an AR15 actually is to those who are educated by the gun control movement. It usually ends well, most people just haven’t heard the truth. Honestly that is how I see the “Unified Front” working. Basically a good PR campaign where we can educate the undecided non-gun owners and hopefully get things back to a semblance of normalcy. Price gouging is sad but natural part of Free Market Capitalism, only they call it the effect of supply and demand. Same reason Hockey tickets are so expensive when the teams are playing well. Most conservatives would be pissed to hear that people were complaining about CTD! trying to make all the money that they can, call it anti American, but that might just be a feeling of betrayal from one of the members of the “Unified Front”.

  3. Yes, they can charge what they want, we just don’t have to support them in their efforts. The power of the purse.

    However, when they blatantly agree with the enemies of our rights by ceasing to sell LEGAL guns, that makes my decision not to patronize them permanent, not just based on a “supply and demand” reason.

    It then becomes personal, a point of principle not merely a money issue.

    I think that is how to answer the question posed here. Is it merely a monetary decision by a company or is it a principled decision?

    In the instances mentioned in the article, I think both would be considered principled decision. Based on the principles of the company at the time they made decisions in opposition to what our principles are.

    To me, it’s logical, they then move themselves off our list of friends and on to a list along with other opponents of our Creator given Natural rights.

    They do not receive our support. That sounds united to me.

  4. I really don’t care if the trademark has changed hands numerous times, I still refuse to have a S&W product in my house. Gun owners who care about RKBA have very long memories. Hell will freeze over before companies that behave like Cheaper Than Dirt or Dick’s Sporting Goods see another dime of my hard earned money.

  5. Rob,
    While I respect your reputation and your work at training people. I have recoiled in revulsion every time you demonized open carry. Open carry is the bedrock of the right to “bear” arms. You have called it stupid. The entire purpose of open carry, and what you have called a confrontational approach, is to wake people up to the fact that they DO HAVE this right! Policemen who harass peaceful citizens who exercise this right, just because they are not accustomed to seeing it done, need to be exposed for the bullies they are. If they are educable, they need to educated.

    What the State of California has done is paint itself into a corner. They have essentially banned the “right” to “bear” arms. This will not survive a constitutional test in federal, if not the Supreme, Court. A challenge from California could be the turning point in the RKBA movement. The tide is in our favor. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of gun owners and shooters who became so directly because of the ’94 gun ban. There is a generation of young adults who do not remember a time without “Evil Black Rifles”.

    Unity? Anyone who declares by his actions, “Eat me last!” is not with us. How about this, the entire industry should boycott the State of New York. Millions in sales lost, you say? What is that compared to the loss of the entire bill of rights? That would be a message of Unity.

  6. ANYONE who acquiesces or is complicit in ANY way with the gun grabbers for ANY reason is “the enemy.” Let the, feel the wrath of boycotts.
    I have Beene promoting the boycott of the Eastern show and anything that Reed is involved with.
    I am glad that Cabellas and others have pulled out.
    Any vendor who DOES attend the show will not get any business from me ever in the future, and I hope others will follow suit.

  7. For those who waited until President Ogabe started openly calling for bans of this and that, If you had to spend 50-150% more for weapons, ammo and mags: You had YEARS since the AWB expired to arm yourself properly, you have no excuse. Pay what it costs, and suck it up.

    As far as CTD goes, I see no excuse for reneging on orders so they can sell the same items for more. CTD is DEAD to me.

    I’ll never buy another thing from them.

    Business weasels like that deserve no customer loyalty.

  8. Discourage open carry?
    Limit mag capacity?
    Ceding your rights rather easily, aren’t you? By ceding yours, you cede mine, too! You must be an NRA Board member…….

  9. Gotta agree with Longbow here. Lumping open carry folks in with ESOS and CTD is insulting. Yes, unification doesn’t me we have to accept everybody when they are selling out rights. You know, like those who are selling out open carry rights- something constitutionally protected and in certain states completely legal (like PA).

    Hiding something that is legal to do- and a right on top of that- because it might cause trouble, is a bad policy. Sometimes you have to cause trouble. Sometimes you have to make the servants understand our rights. Sometimes you have to show what is legal. Sometimes you have to force the issue.

    An excellent example is the right to photograph and video cops in public. Many, many people did it knowing they might get in trouble, even though its a constitutionally and legally protected right. They knew that they had to force the issue because its the RIGHT thing to do. And they (mostly) succeeded in getting it widely accepted by police and courts.

    So I’m going to take your advice, and say its time to kick people like you out of the club. Since you seem to not understand that open carry is a right, and should be supported fully.

  10. It’s sad that the major cities of California control the politics since what I’m about to say affects the ‘right’ leaning folks that live there too, but it seems to me that the entire state has earned the right along with New York to be expelled from the group. That is, it’s time for us to stop doing business with those states and for companies to stop selling the government of either of those states ANY guns or ammo.

    That would get their attention in a hurry.

  11. yeah i’ve heard plenty about the “greater good” from history. no thanks.

    i support anything that’s peaceful, no matter how marginalized, no matter the impression it makes on the mushy. the idea of “police your own” has reasonable limits, too.

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