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EDITORIAL: Can Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms be Trusted for the Long Haul?

Springfield Armory has jumped into the gun rights fight in Illinois. They’re spending big bucks to stop SB-1657 — the very same gun control bill that they (and Rock River Arms) enabled by withdrawing their opposition in exchange for a carve-out. The bill features all manner of gun control in one tidy little package.

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For starters, SB-1657 would inflict gun rationing upon Prairie State residents and restrict private firearm transfers. Small dealers — big box retailers also negotiated a carve-out — would face steep licensing fees.

To pay for itself, the fee would be set at $5000 annually for dealers, assuming only one third of existing dealers throw in the towel. If two-thirds of existing dealers quit, the fee would increase to $10,000. Per year.

Two weeks ago, I exposed the dirty deal between Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms’ lobbying group, the Illinois Firearms Manufacturer’s Association and the bill’s gun hating sponsor, Senator Don Harmon. Again, IFMA traded their opposition to SB-1657 in exchange for a carve out exempting manufacturers from its provisions.

Springfield and Rock River claim they didn’t know of the sleazy deal. They steadfastly maintain that they didn’t know that their own lobbyist made them a really sweet deal.

Then I exposed the tens of thousands of dollars of IFMA donations flowing to rabidly anti-gun Democrats in Illinois. My research suggested that Springfield and Rock River have been the sole funding sources for IFMA.  In other words, some of Springfield and Rock River’s profits, funneled through IFMA, supported radical, gun-hating politicians and their work against our rights.

The gunmakers claim they didn’t know about that either, and officially bailed from the very organization that they, and only they, created. And funded. (Springfield StatementRock River Statement.)

Not surprisingly, outrage among The People of The Gun spiked off the charts.  People dusted off their pitchforks and torches and demanded answers. The People of the Gun vilified Dennis Reese, owner of Springfield Armory and Chuck Larson, owner of Rock River.

In an effort at damage control and to do the right thing, Springfield Armory and Rock River are working together to pull out all the stops to defeat SB-1657.

Thursday morning, FedEx delivered packages to Illinois FFLs with marketing materials opposing the bill.  Gun shops are supposed to galvanize gun shop customers to oppose this bill.

On the backside of the piece of glossy paper, they list some actions they’ve taken to stop SB-1657.

And then they tagged all that with their logo and slogan: DEFEND YOUR LEGACY.  (Parenthetically, that’s quite a legacy they’ve created for themselves.)

While I applaud both companies for their work, I’m concerned that their participation will evaporate once this crisis – the one they helped create – ends.

With that in mind, on Monday morning I contacted both companies. I asked a simple question: Will you continue your hands-on participation in gun rights advocacy after the gun dealer licensing bill is defeated/vetoed/passed into law?

I texted my query to Dennis Reese’s personal cellphone. I left a voicemail for Sarah Larson, Rock River’s General Manager Monday and again Thursday. All I’ve heard in response is crickets. The silence that greeted my enquiries when I contacted the companies when rumors of the carve-out first emerged.

So, gentle readers:  Do you think Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms will continue their full-throated Second Amendment advocacy after we (hopefully) beat back this omnibus gun control bill?  Share your thoughts in comments.

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