I want to start this month’s column by offering a hearty thank you to everyone who joined us in Pittsburgh for the NASGW Annual Meeting and Expo. We had another super-successful show and feedback has been very positive. The show is very busy but I always try to walk the floor a few times to say thank you to all of our exhibitors and get their feedback. But if I missed you, or if you haven’t yet had a chance to tell us your thoughts, we’ve included a link in this InSight where you can do so. Let us know what we can do to make the Expo better moving forward.
When you boil it all down, the show is for you, so we want you to walk away thinking that your money was well spent and that you built some very positive relationships for the future. We are already putting plans in place for next year’s show in Orlando so thank you for your continued support of the organization.
I also want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you’re able to spend time with your family and friends relaxing and enjoying some time away from work.
Walking the Talk
And now I want to share a little bit on walking the talk in our industry on the heels of two recent shooting tragedies. Unfortunately, when these events happen, I, like many of you, wonder… “What can we do about this? How can we prevent this from happening again?”
It seems after every incidence of violence in this country there’s one group saying, “It’s the guns,” and another faction saying, “It’s a mental health problem.” Candidly, neither approach is productive. In fact, this “blame game” is likely responsible for decreasing the opportunity for meaningful dialogue.
Michael Sodini, owner of Eagle Imports and founder of a new group called Walk The Talk America (WTTA), believes there’s a better way to find solutions than blaming guns or calling people crazy and then ignoring the important conversations needed to enact change.
WTTA is partnering on a national level with Mental Health America (MHA), the longest running mental health organization in the nation. Together, WTTA and MHA are working to advance programs to increase mental health screening opportunities, foster and fund suicide prevention programs, support school safety initiatives, identify at-risk individuals through range and retailer training programs, and that’s just the beginning.
I was personally compelled by the mission and believe the firearms industry can and should be engaged in these types of solution-finding efforts. I’m excited about being a participant in real conversations, finding real solutions and making real impacts. If you’re interested, you can discover the full story at www.wtta.org.
Until next time,
Kenyon GleasonPresident, NASGW