Last year, as the NRA’s Annual Meetings kicked off, I broke the story of Springfield Armory’s back-room dealings in Illinois. Much has changed at Springfield Armory since those events, both in Illinois and nationally. In fact, just yesterday, Springfield took the bold step of cutting off their products to Dick’s Sporting Goods stores. I welcome these changes at Springfield as should most gun owners.
Yes, Springfield and Rock River Arms, through their now-former lobbying outfit, the Illinois Firearms Manufacturer’s Association, traded their opposition to a Prairie State retailer licensing bill for an exemption to that law.
At first, both companies attacked me, The Truth About Guns and Guns Save Life. From The Gun Writer.
[Rock River Arms General Manager Sarah] Larson took after the good folks at The Truth About Guns, which she referred to as an “activist website.”
“This boils down to a small, so-called gun-rights activist website that took the majority of things out of context, to make it sound like Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory were IFMA,” she said. “We did not have control over all actions. IFMA acted autonomously on our behalf.”
As time passed, and facing tremendous customer backlash, both companies changed their tune. They pulled out of IFMA and dissolved the organization.
Springfield Armory then poured a ton of financial resources into blocking the Illinois Gun Retailer Licensing Bill (SB-1657). At the same time, company president Dennis Reese hired someone to run the day-to-day operations of the company. He also secured three lobbyists to work the halls of the Illinois General Assembly. We’ve watched them carefully and they’ve steadfastly worked towards gun rights for all. No more special carve-outs for Springfield at the expense of everyday gun owners.
Springfield Armory, to their credit, has also given big bucks to the Illinois State Rifle Association and other gun rights groups in Illinois. Those monies allowed ISRA to hire the well-liked former state legislator Eddie Sullivan to lobby on behalf of gun owners. Mr. Sullivan has proved pretty darn effective, too.
The retailer licensing bill eventually made it to the governor who vetoed it. Working together, pro-gun rights forces – including the recently-hired lobbyists for Springfield – managed to narrowly hold off an over-ride effort.
Now we see Springfield’s bold move deciding to sever sales with Dick’s. Yes, in some ways it’s symbolic, but not entirely. I’m told some Dick’s stores still sell handguns, and Springfield sells a lot of pistols. I give Springfield props for taking this stand. It took guts.
Neither Guns Save Life or TTAG are on Springfield’s Christmas card list and haven’t seen any invites to new product releases or T&E samples of new products.
That’s okay. Springfield’s no longer cutting back-room deals at the expense of gun owners and that’s what’s important. To the contrary, they’re working hard now to defend and protect our Second Amendment rights.
So, nice job, Springfield. Keep up the good work.
If they keep this up, I may start once again recommending a couple of their better products to students and fellow gun owners. The SAINT makes a fine entry level AR and the XD Mod.2 has remarkably mild recoil for a 9mm.
What say you? Has Springfield’s turn-around caused you to lessen any animus you feel toward the company and its products?