Rock River Arms: We Quit IFMA Over ‘Backdoor Politics and Convoluted Deal-Making’

Statement from Rock River Arms 5/2/17:

After further review, Rock River Arms, Inc.® (RRA) is immediately severing all ties with the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association (IFMA). We feel that IFMA’s integrity is compromised and we will not be a part of the organization. We trusted that contributions and resources provided to IFMA by RRA were being used to promote and uphold our 2nd Amendment values. IFMA’s actions have destroyed that trust.

For more than twenty years, RRA has actively opposed gun control legislation at the local, state, and federal levels. We have supported and provided monetary and product donations to multiple pro-gun organizations including NRA, NSSF, ISRA and countless others. We have attended rallies and spoken at educational events on behalf of gun owners’ rights. Our employees have collected signatures, written letters and e-mails, called legislators’ offices, as well as attended events, meetings and hearings in Springfield, Illinois.

What we learned, however, was that we are better at manufacturing firearms and accessories than playing political games at the state capitol. So, we began to utilize the services of lobbyists, first through other organizations and then in 2009, we partnered with several other manufacturers to form IFMA.

Prior to our further review, we believed that the organization had accurately represented us. We feel that IFMA’s actions have compromised its integrity. While their actions may be standard practices at the capitol, backdoor politics and convoluted deal-making are counter to the way we do business and lead our lives.

I sincerely apologize for my lack of direct engagement in IFMA’s governance and subsequent actions, as well as the abandonment gun owners are feeling.

If you have any questions regarding, or need more information about, this statement or RRA’s position, please contact: Sarah Larson, RRA General Manager at 309-792-5780.

Thank you,
Chuck Larson
Rock River Arms, Inc.


  1. avatar Chazzer says:

    Will this help stem the poison now flowing on this topic???

    1. avatar SirZog says:


      The damage is done.

      They got their carve out.

      They’re not going to fight against this in the house.

      Nothing but butt-covering IMO.

      1. avatar Erik says:

        Too little too late, and after they got their carve out. Unless they fight it, or ask for their carve out to be removed, damage is done.

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          “Too late”. Legislation came about what, a week ago?

    2. avatar American Idiot says:

      The better question is how do you pull out of yourself? The .org is SA Owner and kin, RRA owner and 1 lobbyist. That’s it! Instead of pulling out they can continue to stay in themselves.

  2. avatar strych9 says:

    I would not want to be Sarah Larson right now.

    1. avatar TCP says:

      That is pretty big stones putting a name and number in the press release. Anyone call it? I would bet that she will be a busy bee for at least the next few days fielding calls and trolls.

  3. avatar Pwrserge says:

    I might care if they didn’t first put out a press release saying. “We did nothing wrong.” More ass covering does not make you look better.

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      This is where I’m at with them as well. Your first response dicked you, then you have a couple days to get a good idea flowing, and it still dicks you.

      Only sorry ’cause they got caught.

  4. avatar Hannibal says:

    They could be telling the truth. They could be conveniently pushing the organization under the bus, which would be its purpose in this instance (plausible deniability).

    Hard to tell. Somehow I doubt the IFMA is going to be releasing statements to the contrary.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      I hope they are telling the truth! But it’s a hard sell when Chuck Larson is the Treasurer of the IFMA and Mark Larson is the Vice President of the IFMA. The only other execs are Dennis Reese (CEO of Springfield and President of the IFMA), Tom Reese (Secretary), and their paid lobbyist, Jay Keller, who’s the Executive Director of the IFMA. I mean, they aren’t just one member of some giant organization, they and Springfield ARE the organization. Literally, they created it and run it and its sole purpose is to do the political bidding of those two companies.

      1. avatar Brad says:

        Where did you find this information? Mark Larson died in 2013.

        1. avatar Bob says:

          There were a lot of hypertext links to documents and gov webpages and such in the TTAG articles on this subject. One of them was an IFMA tax filing. Check the last page:

          …fair enough, it’s older than I realized! You think the IFMA, the group they started and ran, has changed entirely in scope and leadership? I wonder if there’s a way to find a more recent filling! Anyone?

      2. avatar pliablemoose says:


      3. avatar Jeff TheWabbit says:

        And I guess RRA didn’t know about that compaign contribution in 2012 to Illinois Senate President gun grabber John Cullerton? They are only finding out now 5 years later? RRA is full of crap. I hope both companies burn.

  5. avatar Stinkeye says:

    I’d love to know how much Jay Keller is going to get paid for taking the heat on this.

    Larson’s “I had no idea what IFMA was up to” is a little hard to swallow, since it seems like he’s one of only four people in the organization.

  6. avatar Jeff K says:

    I thought that the IFMA was only SA & RRA; they said partnered with several other manufactures?????????

    1. avatar Wyvern says:

      Nope. Just the two companies. It is run by Dennis and Tom Reese from SA, Chuck Larson from RRA, and Jay Keller, the lobbyist they are throwing under the bus.

  7. avatar rt66paul says:

    This is Illinois politics, like Chicago politics, it just manages to lie and cheat the electorate and recieve money from those behind the curtain. It is true doublespeak and it needs to be stopped. The main problem here is as always, we make the watchdogs out of the predaters they are supposed to catch. The bigger stink, the bigger they cover it up for the next time.

    Maybe the real answer is to tell the state they are moving to a free state and taking all the jobs(and tax base) with them.

  8. avatar I love dem hos says:

    Poop on this garage rebuttal. Red-handed, from the looks of these press releases. Red-handed. I suppose RRA won’t be able to move as many overpriced lowers and uppers as they once did.

    RRA doesn’t have some magic lathe, or special CAD development rendering their ARs any better than the next guy.

    Buy from a free state. Buy from someone like Palmetto. Heck, my Palmetto lower and upper are EVERY bit as nice as my Colt, and nicer than the RRA I traded for a pistol.

    Overhyped guns. Shady dealings. I bet they voted for Clinton…

  9. avatar Elot says:

    The RRA CEO said he didn’t know about it from the beginning. The SA CEO quoted where the bill was in its process in the beginning. SA is a much bigger manufacturer and has their folks on the lobbying group’s board. I’m inclined to believe RRA… but not SA

    1. avatar JTW says:

      This I agree with, being the smaller fish they probably let SA run the show and supported them as the “other” known brand with a checkbook in IL. Now big brother left you high and dry because you blindly trusted them.

      1. avatar Elot says:

        Exactly. I mean, most of us if not all of us trusted SA on their second amendment stance until Friday. Look at the board positions, the powerful ones were SA. I think it would be unlikely to have two bad apples like that in this industry. To me, it’s SA. These poor guys are along for the ride… notice they released their statement yesterday with SA? Probably taking their advice too… hopefully they learned to break away from them now and that’s why this statement is on its own.

        1. avatar Lotek says:

          Lay with dogs get a good nights sleep. Lay with bureaucrat / lobbyists. Get an STD

        2. avatar Lotek says:

          I’m so gone o rhea

        3. avatar Bob A says:

          Trying to justify your soon to be purchase of a RRA firearms are you? Look who IFMA are, principles of the 2 companies. They knew exactly what was going on.

    2. avatar TexPat says:

      i am shocked by the number of people who aren’t familiar with how trade associations lobby on behalf of their members. While they try to look out for all their members, they will sell out the smaller members for the bigger ones.

      More importantly, it is very common for members to find out what their trade association did after the fact. Occasionally, that results in issues like this one.

      1. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

        Except, as has been stated numerous times, this trade association *only had 2 members*…

        BOTH of whom had Director level positions within the trade association…

        BOTH of whom are pleading ignorance…

        Not very likely.

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        “More importantly, it is very common for members to find out what their trade association did after the fact. Occasionally, that results in issues like this one.”

        And isn’t that convenient!

      3. avatar Keystone says:

        SA & RRA were equal partners. $50K/yr each to Keller. This has been well documented in other threads.

        RRA goes after big .gov contracts.

        It’s not out of the realm of possibility that both RRA & SA were promised lucrative contracts with ISP, CPD and other Illinois LE agencies in return for their support of this bill.

        Illinois and Chicago politics are dirty as **** (pick an expletive, they all fit)

        Grab a cup of coffee and read tales of CPD corruption and misadventures:

        They’re good guys and they hate the dirty system.

        (actually someone should send them links on this fiasco, they may have inside info on similar shenanigans)

  10. avatar EJCIV says:

    ” in 2009, we partnered with several other manufacturers to form IFMA.” BLATANT LIE! IFMA consists of:
    JAY KELLER (their lobbyist)

    1. avatar JTW says:


  11. avatar Jack says:

    Seems like there is nothing done and nothing said in Illinois that is legit. Buy from a free state.

  12. avatar Aven says:

    “After further review” means they got caught and can’t figure out how to wiggle out of it. They died and may they now rest in peace along with their other dead partner in this scheme.

    1. avatar JTW says:

      Smells damn fishy doesn’t it? What do you do when you want to operate under the radar, possibly caving the pressure of the gubnant, and need a scapegoat? Create an entity. If SA and RRA are truly the only one in IFMA, this is horsesh* and they are know full well what’s going on. It is probably THE BIGGEST SB going up the rung in their state and they don’t anything about it until now?

      BS! Get a Grip Zone on the issue and take responsibility, gun community got a different type of “common sense.”

  13. avatar Not Strych9 says:

    “when Chuck Larson is the Treasurer of the IFMA and Mark Larson is the Vice President of the IFMA. The only other execs are Dennis Reese (CEO of Springfield and President of the IFMA), Tom Reese (Secretary), and their paid lobbyist, Jay Keller, who’s the Executive Director of the IFMA. I mean, they aren’t just one member of some giant organization, they and Springfield ARE the organization”


    “BLATANT LIE! IFMA consists of:
    JAY KELLER (their lobbyist)


    STILL NO STRYCH9????????????

  14. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Day late, dollar short!

  15. avatar Keystone says:

    “we’re severing ties with ourselves”

    Early reviews are not encouraging…

    1. avatar Elot says:

      I truly think SA drove the vehicle and took RRA along for the ride. SA has always been more corporate while RRA has been active members of the gun community. SA hires people to be their face, but RRA is their own face. RRA has been active on and their owner has seemed to be the real deal.

      1. avatar Brad says:

        It looks like RRA hitched their horse to the wrong wagon, now they’re headed to the glue factory.

      2. avatar Keystone says:

        RRA was cutting the same $50K/yr checks to Keller.

        RRA continues to sell to NY LE after the SAFE act.

        Here’s what NY LE is doing with the “SAFE ACT”:

        Zero sympathy for RRA and double-zero sympathy for SA.

        They’re both traitors and deserve to have their lives’ work destroyed.

        What they have done, should this evil bill WHICH THEY MADE HAPPEN pass, will shackle and deprive future generations of Illinoisians (?) of their rights long after their companies are distant memories.

        Traitors are 1000 times worse than open enemies.

        They are lower than Paul Ryan.

        1. avatar TCP says:

          “They are lower than Paul Ryan”

          I was with you up until that point. I’m not sure that they are lower than that. Perhaps from a 2a sense but overall, I’m not so sure.

        2. avatar Keystone says:

          Write that on Springfield Armory’s Facebook page 😀

          Nothing zings somebody like being compared to political scum.

          If it gets personal and heated, a quick “your wife looks like Chelsea!!!” usually leaves em speechless…



  16. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    As chuck Larson is the Treasurer of the IFMA, he’s the one who wrote the hefty donation checks the the “F” rated polititions.
    He didn’t know?
    Heck, maybe he has dual personalities. In which case, he needs to seek medical help.

  17. avatar DDay says:

    First, kill the bill. Anything other than killing the bill will be too little too late by both RRA and SA.

    Secondly, What say you Springfield? Are you going to fire your lobbyist and fight to kill the bill? If not, you’re dead to me forever.

    1. avatar Sam says:

      +1 on SA. Actions speak louder than words.

      RRA probably let SA drive the bus and didn’t pay attention to the destination. Dumping the partnership is a smart move for RRA, but now they need to defeat the bill and hope for the best.

  18. avatar Ralph says:

    I’m inclined to believe RRA.

    Are they off the hook because they acted in ignorance? I don’t know the answer to that question.

    However, I do know that I’d be upset if a small company went down the tubes because it was led down the garden path by a larger partner with more resources and clout.

  19. avatar former water walker says:

    The damage to Illinois is done and can only be ameliorated with a Bruce Rauner veto. Apologies NOT accepted. You MAY not be as bad as SA giving $ to the likes of Cullerton/Madigan… I don’t give a rat’s anus.

  20. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

    Up yours, Chuckie. You lying sack.

    “. . . we partnered with several other manufacturers to form IFMA.”

    No, you partnered with ONE. You colluded with anti-gun politicians to get a better deal. Burn in hell.

    1. avatar Lotek says:

      I’m so gon o rea

  21. avatar gp says:

    Do either RRA or SA do any actual manufacturing in Illinois, or do they just have their offices here?

    I’m assuming there’s no real connection between today’s SA and the “SA” that made my Garand. Correct?

    1. avatar Brad says:

      SA is Springfield Armory, a government owned and operated manufacturer that closed down in 1968. They were located in Springfield MA.

      SAI is Springfield Armory Inc, they are located in Geneseo IL and have nothing to do with THE Springfield Armory. The opened in 1974 and will probably be closed in 2018.

  22. avatar TCP says:

    You know, if there is a bright side to all this, it’s perhaps that SA and RRA’s slice of the business pie will go to another company who is struggling after the election and that company will survive and continue to truly support the 2A and the great Americans who buy their products.

    F’ RRA and SA, why don’t you just send your lobbyist to Ca to “help” those guys out too.

  23. avatar JohnyV says:

    Hey RRA, if you truly feel betrayed by IFMA, sue them for what they did!

    I doubt if you will though because there are only 4 people that make up the board of IFMA: 2 from Springfield Armory, 1 from you at RRA and one outside POS lobbyist…. and if you took them to court, beside the fact that you would be suing yourself, the other 3 would be forced to admit/prove you knew exactly where and who your money was going to… or should I say pay-off to save your own cowardice skin!

    Prove I’m wrong and clean your once good name by taking IFMA to court for using your money by means of fraud due to unknowingly channeling money to your opposition, if not you are full of [email protected], just like Springfield Armory!

  24. avatar Jeff Hunt says:

    Again, how convenient, after the fact. Bet they sell a lot of guns.

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