My posting has been a little lighter than normal today because I’ve been scrambling to get to the airport amidst the remnants of the winter storm that blew up the East Coast this weekend. As long as my flight isn’t delayed or canceled, I’m headed to Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2022 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show, which kicks off in earnest on Tuesday, and I’ll be reporting from SHOT for much of the week.
SHOT Show is hosted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and this year marks a return to an in-person trade show for the first time since 2020 thanks to the COVID pandemic. NSSF’s Mark Oliva joins me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co for a preview of this year’s show, which does promise to be a different experience from years past.
Oliva says he does anticipate that attendance will be down this year, though he’s still predicting northwards of 40,000 attendees. That would be a significant decrease from the 55,000 or so attendees in 2020, but not nearly as big a decline as we saw with the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. CES regularly draws in more than 150,000 attendees, but attendance this year was down by more than 70%, to around 45,000. I don’t expect that SHOT will see a 70% decrease in the number of attendees, but several major manufacturers have pulled out entirely, and Oliva says other exhibitors may be sending fewer employees to the show than they would under normal circumstances.
One brief note about one of those company’s that won’t be at SHOT this year: Froglube announced last week that they were pulling out of SHOT over the mask mandate that’s in effect, and chided NSSF for not suing to strike down the mandate. When I asked Oliva about the company’s decision, Oliva stated that Froglube is a Nevada-based company. In fact, their headquarters are in Burleson, Texas.
As for Froglube’s decision, while I’m no fan of mandates either, I don’t know that a legal challenge to the state’s mandate requiring either proof of vaccination or the wearing of masks in large setting would be successful, but I do know that any challenge wouldn’t necessarily have to come from the NSSF. There’s no reason why individual attendees or exhibitors couldn’t have challenged the mandate on their own, not to mention the corporations that own and manage the convention facilities. To pin the responsibility entirely on NSSF seems a little unfair to me, but YMMV.
Even though some companies won’t be in attendance and will be missed, there’s going to be plenty to see and do, including the annual Range Day that’s taking place today. I’m still annoyed that I wasn’t able to make it out to Vegas in time to participate, because the smaller crowds are likely to mean more time trying out new products for those who can make it, but I was forced to choose between flying out early and leaving my family to deal with the winter storm on their own, or sticking around and making sure everyone was safe and warm before I left. As much as I would have liked to send some rounds downrange today, I like not being in the doghouse with my wife even more, so I’m going to have to live vicariously through my friends and colleagues who were able to spend some quality time with many of the products making their debut at the show.
One event we will be covering firsthand this week is the Governors’ Forum taking place on Wednesday, where eight Republican governors will be getting together to discuss the growth of the firearms industry in their states, as well as the wave of relocations we’ve seen in the past decade; from Beretta’s move out of Maryland in 2013 to Smith & Wesson’s recent decision to relocate its headquarters from Springfield, Massachusetts to Marysville, Tennessee.
And of course we’ll also be hitting the floor of the exhibit halls and catching up with leaders and influencers in the Second Amendment movement, as well as trying to find a few spare minutes to write up and share what we’ve discovered with you over the course of the day. I might even find a couple of minutes to sleep over the next few days, but that’s pretty low on my to-do list, to be honest.
Check out the entire conversation with NSSF’s Mark Oliva in the video window above, and look for our on-the-ground coverage from the 2022 SHOT Show starting tomorrow. I also want to thank our VIP members, because their support makes coverage like this possible. As one of our ways of saying thanks, we’ll be providing some exclusive content for our VIP members this week, and you can sign up here. Use the promo code GUNRIGHTS for a significant savings on your membership, and again, I really do appreciate all of our VIP members and their support for our mission of providing our audience with independent, pro-2A news, views, and interviews they won’t find anywhere else.