I had a friendly little debate over guns with a gentleman in New York recently. Near the end of our conversation I said, “Well the thing about gun owners and non-gun owners and what we have in common is that we all want people to be safer.” But he wasn’t sure that that was true, actually. He didn’t believe that gun companies actually cared about society’s safety.
And I mean, I guess I can see how he might think that. Because of the way that the great big, scary gun lobby is portrayed in the media, people who are not familiar with our culture might think that gun or gun accessories companies are comprised of greedy fat cats who only care about the bottom line. I’ve been involved in this industry for a few years now, and I can tell you that not only is that thinking incorrect, it’s actually the exact opposite of what I’ve seen firsthand.
So let’s address this “greedy gun companies” notion. In a society so litigious that people get a million dollar payout for spilling hot coffee on themselves, wouldn’t you think manufacturing firearms would be a little bit risky? It takes years of research and development, and insuring the precision with which these firearms are made comes at no small cost. Beretta, for example, has been in the firearms business for literally 500 years. Not exactly what you would call a “get rich quick” scheme. Sure, we all want to walk away from the day with a little more money in our pocket than we started with. That’s just called earning a living. But to think that gun companies put profits over safety, is just simply not true.
Let me present the reality of the situation as I have seen it. These are family-owned companies, sometimes multiple generations in the family. From the CEOs all the way down to the folks on the assembly line. These people deeply believe in serving and protecting the public. They make products for law enforcement, military and law-abiding citizens. Good people. Take Otis, for instance. They make gun-cleaning kits. They care so much about their employees that they actually built a corporate daycare in their facility. And founder Doreen Garrett is well known for her devotion to our men and women in uniform. She said to me in an interview, “I think it’s what drives us to come to work every day. Because we know that that product going out the door might save a soldier’s life. And it might be someone’s father, or brother, or mother who’s going to depend on that product working. So the value proposition in that market is very, very strong. And we take it very seriously.”