Back in 2008, I played around with the idea of importing a modern sporting gun. It was a 22-caliber, bolt-action target rifle with Olympic-grade accuracy but a moderate price. So, the first thing I did was to try and get some internet presence for my product by applying for a trademark like the trademark I own for Mike the Gun Guy™.  

The Patent & Trademark Office turned me down. They said the phrase, ‘modern sporting gun’ had been in public parlance for too long and therefore couldn’t be consigned to a particular individual like me.

              So, then I did the next best thing and purchased I figured that if I decided to import the rifle without the trademark, the URL was the next, best thing.

              The following year, 2009, I had a booth at the big gun trade show, the SHOT show, because I was importing a pistol but had decided that I wouldn’t bring in a target rifle the following year.

              At some point during the show, a gentleman came up to my booth and said he was a counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) which owns and runs the SHOT show. He asked if I would be willing to sell the to the NSSF, but instead of selling the URL, I just gave it to the NSSF in return for a better booth location at the 2010 SHOT show.

              Why did the NSSF want to own Because they were going to start a campaign to promote the idea that the AR-15 wasn’t an assault rifle but was just another sporting gun.

              Why did they want to start this campaign? Because, according to their counsel, the NSSF was getting reports that big-box stores like Cabela’s were concerned about stocking the AR-15 because their stores were family destinations and mothers wouldn’t want their kids to go into a location that sold military guns. You can see NSSF’s description of the AT-15 as a ‘modern sporting rifle’ right here.

              That was then, this is now. And now we have a member of the U.S. Congress, Tom Massie from Kentucky, sending out a holiday greetings tweet surrounded by his family, three of whom are women gleefully holding up their AR-15’s.

              On the other hand, when it comes to using an assault rifle to score some political points, Massie’s a rank amateur compared to Mark McCloskey, who brandished his AR-15 at a group of BLM protestors marching peacefully by his house. He’s now running for Senate and his campaign website seems to be less a promotion for his candidacy and more an advertisement for his gun.

              Back in June, McCloskey held a political rally to mark the one-year anniversary of his stand against the forces of Socialism, Communism, Soros-ism and all the other isms that marched past his house. Want to read a great piece of journalism? Try a description of the rally in a local paper which drew a crowd so small that the reporter almost missed the event entirely because almost nobody showed up.

McCloskey rally.

I bought my first AR-15, a Colt Sporter, back in 1978. The dealer gave me a $30-dollar discount to move the gun off the shelf. In those days, people didn’t walk around a state capital building in Madison, WI or march down a street in Charlottesville, VA carrying their AR-15’s, and no candidate would ever have used a positive comment about assault rifles as a verbal prop in a national campaign.

What did Trump say when asked if he would ban assault rifles in the wake of the massacre at The Pulse? He claimed that AR-15’s were necessary because people needed protection, a stance which directly reversed an assault-rifle ban that he supported in his 2000 book, The America We Deserve.

By pretending to be in favor of using assault rifles for personal defense, Trump was cynically trying to take advantage of what he perceived to be the mood of voters whose support he needed to win the 2016 campaign.

Except it turned out that even if Trump grabbed a few extra votes in 2016 by stoking the belligerent mood, the mood hasn’t lasted vey long. I have sold a lot of assault rifles and I can tell you that I don’t think a single AR-15 purchaser walked out of my gun shop ready to go into battle against the forces of international terrorism or the shock troops of ANTIFA and BLM.

Customers bought an assault rifle because someone else had bought one, and they didn’t want to be the only guy without this newest adult toy when they showed up at the range.

For the first time since Charlton Heston raised a flintlock over his head at the annual meeting of the NRA, the gun industry has come up with a product that tells everyone which way you plan to vote.

Back in 2016, Jason Kander, a Democrat, ran for Senate in Missouri against the GOP incumbent, Roy Blunt. He put out an ad showing him assembling an AR-15 while he explained why he supported expanding background checks. Kander lost to Blunt by less than 3 points.

Let’s face it. Assault rifles have become as much a partisan issue as mandating masks or getting the vaccine. Which is fine with me because every week the number of people who have gotten their vaccinations keeps going up.