Eric Herman Blog: Shoot First, Visit The Show Later?

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photo of Eric HermanI just received an interesting email from my friend Skip Phillips and the folks at Genesis 3 Design Group. The message was promoting a “Second Amendment Celebration” being held in conjunction with the upcoming International Pool Spa and Patio Expo in Las Vegas this November. 

The event is sponsored by Genesis 3, Carecraft Members and Arch Chemicals and will be staged following the show at Front Sight, a nearby training and shooting facility. It includes a four-day training program open to both experienced and inexperienced shooters, old and young alike, and a tribute to wounded servicemen and women. 

Let me state up front, I personally have never owned nor discharged a gun. I don’t have anything against the idea per se, but I’ve just never really had any interest in it. Now before some of you jump to the conclusion that I’m writing this out of a negative bias against guns, let me be as direct as possible here. I’m pretty sure we all can agree, regardless of political orientation, the Second Amendment is clear – the right to bear arms is a civil right and settled law. 

Setting aside the Civics 101 stuff, in my humble opinion there can be no rational argument in opposition of safety training for those who choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Those who own guns for personal protection, target shooting or hunting should know how to use, maintain and store them safely. That’s simple commonsense. On top of that, the cost of participating in this particular event includes a donation to The Wounded Warrior Project, a group that provides support for soldiers who have been wounded in action. 

Any way you slice it, those are some big positives. 

So why bring this up at all? My question is simply this: Is it appropriate to include this kind of program as an adjunct to an industry event? The pool and spa industry does not have anything directly to do with the firearms industry and there’s no real question that this is an event that definitely caters to people on one side of the political spectrum. And let’s just call it like it is, this comes at a time when our society is deeply divided among competing political ideologies. 

With that in mind, I’m left to wonder if some other type of organization staged a First Amendment Celebration, for example, if there wouldn’t perhaps be some sort of push back from people who might see an element of political advocacy in that type of event. Perhaps some of the same people who eagerly support a Second Amendment event might themselves suggest that an unrelated trade show is not the appropriate setting through which to solicit such participation. 

I’m not asking this to criticize my good friend Skip, or any of the other people involved in this event. (Frankly, aside from wanting to be fair in this discussion, I’m not particularly interested in cheesing off an entire group of people packing heat – just kidding, well, sort of.) 

Clearly the organizers of this event are doing something they view as extremely positive and something that is unquestionably well within their rights. I am, however, posing the question, ever so gently, that if the shoe was somehow on the other political foot, would that be okay too? 

What do you think?   

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