UPDATED: Who is playing who?

UPDATE, 5/3/2017, 3:42 PM EDT: Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory have both issued press releases disavowing the IFMA’s actions and have withdrawn from the association.

That’s a good start.

Original post:
In dueling headlines between two RKBA-oriented web sites, we see some interesting views regarding Rock River Arms, Springfield Armory, their lobbying group Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association, and an Illinois bill intended to discourage gun dealers by running up their operating expenses.

Springfield Armory, Rock River Arms Trade Opposition to Illinois FFL Licensing Scheme for Carve-Out
Earlier today, the Illinois State Senate passed bill SB-1657 by a one-vote margin. While its prospects are still unsure in the House, if signed by Governor Bruce Rauner, the new law will mandate state licensing for all Illinois gun dealers. It will also restrict all others in Illinois to nine firearm transfers per year.

The lobbyist for the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association (IFMA), Jay Keller, traded that group’s opposition to the bill in exchange for a carve-out, removing Prairie State firearms manufacturers from the licensing requirements.

This hit the news first, and Second Amendment-minded gun owners were understandably upset. Then we heard “the rest of the story.”

Put Away The Pitchforks: Springfield Armory & Rock River Arms Did NOT Sell Out Gun Owners
If true, then the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association (IMFA) alone is to blame for the group’s decision to remove opposition to the bill, and early assertions made by another firearms news site claiming that Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms directly and intentionally screwed over the citizens of their state as well as smaller manufacturers and gun dealers, would almost appear to be libelous.

If true, I would suspect someone bought off the lobbyist. However, I would not consider the claims that the manufacturers screwed the shooting community libelous because the claims were based on the actions of a group that officially bills itself as speaking for those manufacturers.

“But wait! There’s more!”

Springfield Armory & Rock River Arms Made Campaign Contributions to Anti-Gun Rights Politicians
We can now reveal that Springfield and Rock River have, through IFMA, donated tens of thousands of dollars to Illinois anti-gun politicians over the last several years.

If all this is correct, then it’s possible Rock River’s and Springfield’s lobbyist has been suckering them. For years. Or IFMA may well have been positioning them for special privileges all along. In which case, the investment paid off when they were exempted from the draconian terms of SB-1657.

I expect another salvo of defensive press releases from the companies and and IFMA. Hopefully, they’ll clarify matters.

America does not enjoy actual free-market capitalism. Government intervention makes industry lobbying a necessity. Companies should take advantage of most lawful means of protecting themselves. But…

Companies should not throw their sister companies and customers under the bus in the process.

If Rock River and Springfield really want to “clarify” this in a way that doesn’t get them Smith & Wessoned, I suggest that they disavow their lobbyist, file suit for fraud, and announce that they will not sell firearms to any Illinois law enforcement agency should this bill — or any other similar bill — somehow pass, a la Ronnie Barrett and apparently a few dozen other companies.


5 thoughts on “UPDATED: Who is playing who?”

  1. Regardless of the circumstances leading to the Senate Bill 1657 passing in Committee and then in the Senate, Illinois residents must now call their representatives. They are in their home districts this week and will be back in session next week. They are easy to look up on the Net. Call and send an e-mail to back it up. Go to the IL General Assembly Dashboard every day and file a Witness Slip opposing SB 1657 when it is scheduled to be reviewed by Committee. This is also very easy to do.

  2. Once you start limiting transfers, (same as the one-gun-per-month trick) someone needs to keep a detailed record of who buys and sells what when. De facto registration – compiling that cherished CONFISCATION DATABASE.

    Same as background checks for ammunition ala the NY SAFE Act – records kept of who buys how much ammunition and caliber when. All set to LIMIT AMMUNITION.

    All designed to LIMIT THE CAPABILITY that is the PREEMINENT INTENT of the Second Amendment!

  3. Kind of difficult for Springfield and Rock River Arms to disavow the actions of IFMA and claim to be unaware seeing as it appears that the senior management of both companies are directors of the IFMA.
    Dennis Reese – Director – CEO SPRINGFIELD ARMORY
    Jay Keller – Executive Director
    Chuck Larson – Director – CO FOUNDER OF ROCK RIVER ARMS

    Looks to me very much like they got caught screwing over everyone else in the firearms community, and by extension 2A rights in general, and are trying to spin some damage control. Probably because they have belatedly realized that in the current glutted firearms market they have much lower chances of surviving the freeze out that S&W and Ruger both suffered cira 1994.
    1994 was a sellers market in the firearms world, today it’s a buyers market and both of these companies can go belly up, as they so richly deserve for this betrayal for profit, and the general shooting public won’t be adversely effected. Plenty of other manufacturers out there hungry to serve the shooting community.

    Let these two go down in flames, and just maybe other big firearms companies will decide that trying to bump their profit margins up a point or two by undercutting the firearms community and the 2A isn’t a wise course of action.

  4. This whole thing stinks like a high school locker room. I have been reading about it for just a few days, but what I have read, makes it sound as if the two companies are either lying, or their leadership is very much in denial as to what has happened right under their noses while they sat there unaware. No matter what the truth, the entire business is a black eye for both companies, and they are going to have to work hard to gain the good will of the gun community once this all blows over. I hope that this piece of legislation goes down in defeat the way it deserves, as that will at least make it a little easier for them, but if not, it will almost be impossible for them to get over it.

    1. In light of the disavowal/termination press releases, I’m tending to believe it was ignorance and a lack of due diligence: they didn’t want to mess with the political sausage-making so they created the IFMA to hire a lobbyist for them. They used the lobbyist as a “fire & forget” political missile and didn’t hang around to see what he did. They trusted him to represent their interest as he was paid to do. Even so, they should have seen enough stuff in the news to know something was amiss, and they certainly failed as businessmen to know where their money was going.

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