Guntracker Spreads, Industry "Adjusts"

Mar 2, 2011
With Attorney General Eric Holder having failed to respond to Senator Charles Grassley's questions regarding "Project Gunwalker" inside Grassley's February 23 deadline, it looks like the story continues to heat up.

Fortunately-for everyone except the Justice Department- (although we're all going to find the investigation distasteful when it finally does begin), the story is not going to die a slow death in the mainstream news cycles.

With NBC News having called the story potentially bigger than the Iran/Contra scandal, the "me-too" members of the mainstream are now engaged in the news-equivalent of piling on. Rather than admit they've consciously ignored the idea that a government agency would ignore straw purchases of firearms to continue for more than a year-ostensibly so they could track the firearms and see where they wound up - they're now working the story like it was only uncovered last week.

In fact, it was the tireless efforts of David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh that broke the scandal wide open -and brought it to the attention of Senator Grassley. Don't expect the mainstream to acknowledge the fact that pro-gun activists hammered this story into the public eye.

We're hearing more about the story that truly does promise to keep the fireworks roaring on the investigation into an agency-endorsed plan to allow alleged smugglers to keep buying firearms to "track them". It had already come to a sad end, with ICE Agent Jamie Zapata apparently murdered with one of the "walking guns" in Mexico.

The latest whispers say that not only were the sales allowed to continue despite field agent protests, some of the guns -including the one allegedly used to murder Agent Zapata - were setup with tracking chips to help in following the firearms trail.

If that's the case, it's another sad example of incompetence on the part of federal officials allegedly charged with enforcing firearms laws, not allowing criminals to circumvent them while ATF relentlessly goes after legitimate dealers for what are, essentially, clerical errors.

Yesterday, the Firearms Coalition asked Senator Grassley to call for hearings into investigations into the Arizona and Texas investigations into "gunwalker". We're hearing from Senator Grassley's office that he is going to move the investigation further. Whether "further" means Congressional hearings with ATF leaders compelled to testify under oath or not remains to be seen, but it's a safe bet that is one option being considered.

This latest ATF disaster makes it obvious that now is the time to press for competent leaders and sensible regulations when it comes to firearms and our individual rights. That's not a call for compromise; it's encouragement for industry leaders to come together at the Shooting Sports Summit scheduled for June 7-9 in Louisville, Kentucky and put together a plan to press the attack on bad regulations at federal agencies and unenforceable state and local laws that are really nothing but political eyewash to appease anti-gun groups.

And finally, there are changes happening around the industry. There are the usual moves and promotions, but some other corporate moves will have the industry chatter going this week.

The first move likely to start conversations today is Freedom Group's having dismissal of Chief Marketing Officer Marc Hill and Marketing Director Roy Gifford.

The pair were brought into the company when former head of Sales and Marketing Scott Blackwell moved exclusively into the Chief Sales Officer position. We're hearing that the likely scenario will have Blackwell again wearing both the sales and marketing hats.

Around the entire industry, we've been hearing about people who have come into the industry as "agents of change" - bringing ideas from outside the industry to every area from sales and marketing to manufacturing and supply chain management - now being asked to change their business addresses.

Now, however, we're hearing that many of these "agents of change" will be headed out the doors across the industry. Having been an "agent of change" in a past corporate life, I know not always conducive to corporate longevity.

As always, we'll keep you posted.

--Jim Shepherd