Update: We wrote this post on May 3 and after we got this ready to post on May 4 (this morning), we got an email at 7pm May 3 from Springfield Armory. Interesting to see how their messaging has totally changed from a week ago. The new email says “The Second Amendment urgently needs your help in Illinois!” due to Senate Bill 1657, which they supposedly initially supported. The email is urging people to “Take Action” by contacting state representatices and urging them to oppose SB 1657. Read on below for the backstory on their flip-flopping positions.
Springfield Armory released a new gun, the XD-E pistol, during the NRA convention last week. People were originally excited about the new pistol. But the announcement of the release of the gun was met with a resounding thud as the gun community felt betrayed by a recent decision Springfield Armory made with the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association. Let’s look at that decision and what it means. We’ll explain why everyone is boycotting Springfield Armory now along with Rock River Arms.
Cries of Sell Out and Betrayal rang out over social media over the weekend, as the gun community struggled to understand why a company who seemed to support their gun rights would have seemed to act in an opposite way. It all stems from the Gun Dealer Licensing Act in Illinois. The act would require that all Illinois firearms dealers be licensed at the federal level as well as at the state level. Currently, federal level licensing is already required.
Small dealers who sell less than 10 guns per year and big box stores were exempt. The Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association (IFMA) also received an exemption, as long as the group withdrew its protests of the bill and did not oppose it. This means that Illinois firearms manufacturers are exempt from the licensing requirement. The two primary companies who fund IFMA are Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms. So naturally it is taken by many people that these companies made a deal that they wouldn’t oppose this attack on the Second Amendment in exchange for their own protection. As soon as people heard about this “deal,” they accused both Springfield and Rock River Arms, who are associated with the IFMA, of selling out the gun community.
Both companies have since made statements that they denied acting under the rules of IFMA and that they opposed the bill. Springfield Armory says they were unaware of the actions of IFMA until after the fact. The statement at 5:23 pm on May 1 says, “Springfield Armory, like Rock River Arms, was not aware of the actions taken by our trade association, IFMA, until after the fact. We take this situation very seriously and are looking into how this very unfortunate lapse in communication occurred.”
A half hour later on May 1, Springfield Armory made another statement. You can read that entirely on their website. It says that they no longer have confidence in the IFMA and that they have severed all ties with the IFMA effective immediately. ut basically it says that Dennis Reese, CEO of Springfield Armory, was ill-informed of the ramifications of the bill and its effects on the Second Amendment. He says, “We at Springfield Armory are unequivocally 100 percent against this bill and will continue to work with the NRA and others to ensure that it is defeated.”
Here’s his original statement from April 27 : “The legislative process is a fluid process. The bill has only moved through one chamber, and it is still in the process. We fully support the Second Amendment and stand by it. The Illinois Manufacturers Association will continue to fight and protect not only manufacturers, but dealers and the gun owner as well.”
I find it hard to believe that he made his original statement to the media without 100 percent understanding the detrimental affects of the bill. What I think is most likely is that he underestimated the detrimental affects of people protesting against it!
But since then, both companies have come out against it. Chuck Larson, president and owner of Rock River Arms, also made a similar statement on May 1 saying the company is 100 percent against the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. The Illinois Senate passed SB 1657, the Gun Dealer Licensing Act’s official name, by only one vote. It still must pass the House.
So what do you think? Does Springfield get a pass for this blunder? How long before you feel good about supporting this company again?