In the last week my internet feeds have blown up with a couple of stories. One in particular has me perplexed. Not because of the news itself, nor the frustration from some that is rightfully being vented, but the outright hatred that came spewing out from so many of “us” immediately upon the release of this news towards two reputable businesses in the firearms industry.
Let me paraphrase the story: Springfield Armory (SA) and Rock River Arms (RRA), two companies out of Illinois, are (were) closely involved with the Illinois Firearms Manufacturing Association (IFMA), a pro-2A lobbying group with high ranking members of each company even on the group’s board of directors. SA and RRA have donated money to the IFMA to protect and work in favor of second amendment rights in Illinois.
The IFMA recently remained neutral instead of voting against a bill (SB-1657) that passed the Illinois state senate by a 1 vote margin and, if signed by the Governor, will negatively affect many small firearms dealers and their customers in the state but not so much SA or RRA themselves.
“OH, snap, let’s make a bunch of memes and boycott!” I know, I know, fresh meat for memes, right? Well, let’s back up a little, here. Rock River Arms was established in 1993 and the current entity of Springfield Armory in the mid 70’s. So, for nearly 25 and 40 years, these companies have been providing quality firearms to the industry and as large companies, surely putting plenty of their hard earned revenue into lobbying for pro-2A causes.
Despite this, as soon as there was a mistake made, social media’s keyboard commandos have taken zero time to completely denounce them and scream to the world,
“These guys are so evil! Let’s boycott them because they must hate all gun owners and our second amendment and I hope my memes get a lot of likes and people like my page more on this awesome social media platform that I am using to spread my hastily formed opinion therefore making this platform’s owners lots of money to go fight against my 2A rights but who cares because my memes are so awesome and people are commenting with so many fist-bump emojis! [breath]”
Wait, what? Oh yeah, your rants and memes are making people money who actually want to destroy our industry and 2A rights. Are you getting the point?
Facebook, Google, and YouTube = Anti-gun:
Let’s talk about this for a minute. These days, more and more of the tech businesses whose products we use daily are taking more action regarding their anti-second amendment views. Recently, YouTube reportedly started demonetizing channels with firearms related content.
This doesn’t affect most of us. “No ads? Yay! Right?”
Well, this means that a lot of firearms related content creators whose income comes from YouTube ad revenue are in a bad place. If this continues and there is no value in time-consuming content creation, the firearms related sector of YouTube will all but shrivel up and vanish. “Wait, no more Demolition Ranch or FPS Russia? This is starting to feel uncomfortable …”
I know, right!? This is a huge push against the firearms industry. Do we boycott YouTube vowing to never watch another YouTube video? Could it make a difference in what YouTube is doing? Maybe, but my guess is that right around 99.5% of us will continue to watch videos on this outwardly anti-2A business.
We are all familiar with Facebook’s strict policies about firearms. No Ads, no sales, no giveaways … basically anything that can directly link to sales or distribution of any item from any business that sells firearms, knives, or other weapons mentioned on Facebook’s lengthy list is prohibited.
Facebook also owns Instagram, now, and the policies crossover.
“Violate” Facebook's Gun Policy, And Get Shut Down:
Firearms related pages have to be very careful about what they do or say or post, or they run the risk of being shut down. This happens all the time and is becoming more and more frequent. A couple of large pages that were recently shut down were the Tactical Shit and Daily Badass pages. I had the opportunity to chat with TJ Kirgen, owner of Tactical Shit and he said, “It was proven that we were targeted by the Facebook anti-gun algorithm.”
Really? So Facebook, this social media platform that we all use has a continuously running algorithm that was developed specifically to target and squash gun related pages.
Wow, bring on the memes and boycotts, right? Right? Anybody?
Daily Badass’ large Instagram page was also shut down without any notice whatsoever with zero correspondence from the social media side. Only after an uproar from some social media communities and many emails were these pages reinstated.
With all of this blatant disregard for our rights, do we still use Facebook and Instagram? Yep. And until the next big platform takes over social media, the same 99.5% of people will probably continue to do so. “But without Facebook and Instagram, where would we get our memes?” I know, it’s a tough decision. In 2017, memes and “likes” win. (unfortunately)
Here is a small list of large anti-2A businesses, many of which we all use on a regular basis:
- Facebook, Instagram
- The National Football League
- Cinemark, Regal, AMC, Carmike Theaters/Cinemas
The list could go on and on.
Every so often a new shady news story will surface, exposing their most recent anti-2A actions and the keyboard commandos will get frothy at the mouth about it and proclaim their disgust in whatever these businesses are doing at the time, and the memes flow like the salmon of Capistrano.
The NFL, For Example:
Remember how the NFL denied Daniel Defense an ad spot during the Superbowl? “They did? Oh yea, I remember all the memes. I still have some saved in Google photos!” I’ll bet you do, too. But when the froth dries up, and the meme content is yesterday’s news, the commandos go back to using their oh-so convenient services and scrolling past or watching those ads that generate these companies billions, a part of which is surely spent on lobbying for laws that go against our second amendment rights, not to mention continually censoring and stomping as much gun-related content as they possibly can. Oh, the irony.
The Benefit of the Doubt:
So back to this recent social media explosion: Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms have since taken accountability for this mistake, apologized, and broken ties with the lobbying group that remained neutral. Was there a huge oversight here?
Is there work to be done by both of them to try and reverse this? Yes. But should we jump to conclusions and call for a boycott and wish bankruptcy and closure upon these companies and the hundreds of people who they employ?
I hope this is an easy answer for you. Of course not. This isn’t Facebook, Google, or YouTube here. This is a firearms company. This is one of “us.” Why are so many, so hasty to form what seems like a final, rock solid opinion on these guys who have been on our “team” for 25+ years?
I don’t blame anyone for being upset about this bill. It could do some damage to people in Illinois.
But let’s give these firearms manufacturers a chance to fix their mistake. Let’s not immediately try and strike down an asset to our community. If it were Facebook or Google, I’d be singing a different tune. Those obviously have a long track record of anti-2A views and policies.
But Springfield and Rock River? Shouldn’t they be considered long-standing teammates? I think I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, and as long as they are working towards a solution to this problem, I’ll consider them on our “team.”
Honestly, the reactions to this remind me of how liberals jumped all over any shred of negative press that was released about Donald Trump’s past and current views, actions, words, and tanning preferences. But the majority of America came together and gave him the benefit of the doubt, and despite a seemingly infinite amount of negative press he received, he won. No, scratch that … WE won.
WE came together and recognized that this guy, regardless of his sometimes tactless way of dealing with the media, or locker room style conversations, or the way he poorly worded some of his views for the world to hear and cringe at, and despite his past interactions AND friendships AND business deals with the liberal left and some of their agendas, at the end of the day we came together and realized that this guy is on our team. I’m proud to have voted for him, and to now call him my president.
Should We Roast Them? Or, Is It Time To Forgive?
The moral to this long, rambling story is this: Let’s not help the liberals destroy every piece of the firearms industry that they are able. Let’s look at this as a mistake and put our energy into helping. Making memes and calling for a boycott and whining isn’t helping anything. Regardless of whether or not you own or like the firearms from these companies, they are a valuable part of the industry and have been for a very long time.
Up until 2013, there were zero concealed carry permits in Illinois which is almost as bad as Commiefornia when it comes to gun laws. Well, some laws have actually changed, and some second amendment rights have been restored. I’d wager that the 2 largest firearms manufacturers in the state of IL had a little something to do with that HUGE forward progress. Springfield alone has donated over 1 million dollars to the NRA, which, as we all know, fights and lobbies for these changes around the country.
Being based in Illinois, SA and RRA have no choice but to work with liberal lawmakers. They have no choice. That’s who they’re surrounded by.
I’ll repeat for you that this was a big mistake, error, oversight, whatever, on SA and RRA’s part. People make mistakes and things DO slip through the cracks when there is not enough time in the day to see to every task and call and meeting that some business executives have on their plate. Let’s also realize that in every arena of politics, cooperating and working with people who don’t always have the same views as us is often how we move forward as a nation.
If neither side cooperated with each other, there would be zero progress made. Zero. Let’s give these companies the benefit of the doubt that this was an honest mistake, and move forward with them, still on our team. Let’s focus on the real enemies to our industry and put our energies into forward progress rather than fighting against each other.
As a disclosure, I do know personally a handful of the people over at Springfield Armory, and in my opinion they are some of the best people I know with a true concern for our industry and our rights as Americans. I don’t know anybody at Rock River Arms. Regardless of this, it just disappoints me to see how quickly this community is to cannibalize its own. We are better than this.
*Editor's Note: The Above was an opinion piece from a reader. What we want to know, is if, after reading this, do you feel ready to move on and if not; what would it take for Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms to earn back your trust? Let us know in the comments below.