Seeing SHOT Show through a first-timer's eyes

If you’re a regular viewer/listener of Bearing Arms Cam & Co, you’re already familiar with today’s guest. Ryan Petty has joined us on several occasions over the past couple of years, generally to talk about preventing attacks on schools, like the one that took place in Parkland, Florida in 2018 in which Ryan’s daughter Alaina was murdered.

Ryan has devoted a lot of time and energy since that horrific day helping school districts and law enforcement agencies put policies and practices in place that can effectively mitigate the risk of a similar attack, including Florida’s school Guardian program that ensures there will be a trained and vetted armed response on every school campus. Petty doesn’t believe that the best way to prevent these types of attacks is through more gun control measures, though he says he dug deep into the research after the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas before coming to that conclusion.

Now Petty, who’s been a gun owner for decades, has taken the next step and become a Federal Firearms Licensee. He’s hoping his new company Solid Gun Works will soon not only be selling firearms, but manufacturing them as well, and he’s in Las Vegas this week for the 2022 SHOT Show to, as he put it, “learn what it is I don’t know” about the industry.

Being a veteran of the tech industry, Petty has seen his fair share of trade shows, but there was a still a little “wow factor” when walking into SHOT Show for the first time. More than anything, though, Petty says he’s been impressed by the innovation on display, including the Modulus Platform Conversion Kit debuted by ZroDelta.

“Coming from the technology space we’re constantly focused on the new and innovating, creating something new and solving a problem. And there are some interesting parallels between software and firearms, you know, particular with America’s rifle, the AR-15, right? That’s designed to military specs, and those are like software APIs; when you run a piece of software you want it to talk to Google, well you write software based on their API, and those military specifications are similar to an API. So, how do you innovate in an environment where you’ve got stringent specifications? How do you innovate around that? So I came here looking for opportunities to innovate around that platform.”

Petty says he know that some folks can’t understand why he would want to work within the firearms industry, much less innovating the AR-15 platform, given the pain that his family has experienced at the hands of an evil man armed with a rifle. But for Petty, the answer is simple. The gun isn’t to blame for his daughter’s death. Instead, the responsibility ultimately rests with the man who pulled the trigger, along with those in the educational and law enforcement systems that ignored or failed to adequately respond to the many warning signs and opportunities to intervene before he carried out his murderous attack.

“You know, our Founders gave us a gift. They gave us the gift of the Second Amendment; the ability to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and I want to preserve that… I want to be a part of preserving that for my kids and my grandkids. So being here, it’s more than just a trade show, it’s more than just a business. It’s a mission. It’s important that we pass this on, and this is the community that will do that.”

The firearms industry and the 2A community is better off with guys like Ryan Petty in it, and I’m glad he was able to spend some time with me today on Bearing Arms Cam & Co to talk about his first trip to SHOT Show and why it won’t be his last. Be sure to check out the entire conversation in the video window above, and we’ll be checking in with Petty again very soon.