A few Hollywood stars dared to attend who were not afraid to be seen at a gun show. Actor Joe Mantegna and country music star Louise Mandrell dropped by for interviews at the booth for my magazine, Western Shooting Journal. Mantegna enjoys shotguns and sporting clays, and Mandrell runs a firearms company with her nephew. Attendees waited in line for over four hours to meet rock star Ted Nugent and actor R. Lee Ermey, known as The Gunny. Actor Michael Rooker from The Walking Dead and Cliffhanger calls himself an “avid shooter” and tweeted about SHOT Show while attending. The media and those with connections were able to catch the stars around the convention without waiting in line. The media was also invited to a nearby range to shoot hundreds of the newest guns on display for free.
Reality stars like the Duck Dynasty clan are not as fearful of being associated with the gun industry, since they are under less pressure from anti-gun Hollywood than traditional stars. Jesse James of West Coast Choppers was spotted, and the actors from Gold Rush made guest appearances at booths. There were also plenty of award-winning competitive shooters, decorated veterans and politicians, including Texas Governor Rick Perry. Magicians Penn & Teller provided entertainment, which featured a segment shooting .357 magnum guns at each other.
The left-leaning media will never reveal how polite the attendees were. Not only was everyone I encountered pleasant to deal with, but I never felt like any of my equipment was in danger of being stolen. The gun industry is the last great unshrinking bastion of American conservatism and good values.
The divided GOP should look to the gun industry for insights on how to make progress on conservative issues. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which puts on SHOT Show, the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America and the Second Amendment Foundation have been extremely effective at influencing the public and lawmakers in recent years. These organizations work together, not against each other. Giving the media red carpet treatment at SHOT Show was a clever maneuver; there was virtually no negative news coverage of SHOT Show. The question is, do we want Wayne LaPierre for RNC chair or for president?