President's Message: Seeking Clarity of Purpose

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 2/16/21 9:28 AM



The word carries different connotations for different situations. Whether you’re talking about liquids, the lenses we look through, the air we breathe, or maybe especially when you’re talking about decision-making, to achieve clarity is to achieve the best possible performance and insight.

I’ve been in the car a lot over the past couple of weeks, traveling to see NASGW team members in the western US, and traveling for personal reasons over this past holiday weekend. When you spend dozens of hours in the car, it’s inevitable, at least for me, to spend many of those hours exploring thoughts and ideas, expanding and expounding on some and discarding others. A number of ideas will be further enhanced in the coming weeks and days. Others will stay on a shelf in my mind for another day and time. Still others are sent to a mental waste bin.

I received an especially acute reminder this weekend while driving across the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas. Have you ever seen the prairie on a blisteringly cold and sunny day? Well, the crystal clear nature of the air in these weather conditions, and the ability to see for long distances, is a great metaphor for the work we have ahead in the shooting sports industry.

We’ve just come through one of the most spectacularly polarizing elections in the history of our nation. We’ve just wrapped up the second impeachment attempt, and second acquittal, of a U.S. President. Never more in my years of following government and politics, can I remember a time when the nation appears to be more divided.

At first glance, by reading the headlines or the social media networks, you’d think the people of our two prominent political parties in this country absolutely loathe each other. And maybe some people really do, I guess I can’t say for sure. Seems a silly reason to dislike someone to me. But really, is there a widespread hatred of those who fall into a different political persuasion? No, I refuse to accept this is anything more than just wishful thinking for zealots bent on dividing us further.

What I believe is there’s an echo chamber that’s formed in this country. And that echo chamber’s windows have become dirty. Our political chattering class needs some window cleaner. The American people have much more in common than we have things that tear us apart. Yes, there are lots and lots of democrat gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters. No political party has a stranglehold on the issues important to our industry. And we’d do well to remember this, because each and every supporter will be needed in the days ahead.

I’m only half-kidding when I suggest that we should have Congress meet in open session, outside on the prairie of the Dakotas, in -30 air temps. If we didn’t allow them to seek shelter until meaningful decisions and policies, those things actually important to Americans of every political stripe, are put in place. I promise you; the speed of the decision-making process would increase exponentially. It’s painful to stay out in that kind of cold weather for long. And maybe the clarity of air would impact their clarity of purpose. One could also hope they’d get some clarity on just whom they work for too.

Since the shooting sports industry will likely not be able to enact my unusual (though probably highly effective) plan for achieving policy reforms outlined above, we will obviously need to take another route.

Make no mistake, given the policy directions and statements coming from Washington right now, this industry, and our supporters from every corner of America, absolutely must come together, and we must come up with a clear plan of action. There must be clarity and cohesiveness in the action steps we take for the short-term and in those we put in place for the long-term. But plan and prepare we must. Conversations have been underway now for a few weeks, and many more need to be held in the weeks ahead. NASGW stands ready to help and we’ll lead the way where and when necessary.

Folks, it’s time for every member and supporter of this industry to see with perfect vision, with extreme clarity, that we have some very serious challenges in front of us. The first step, understanding that we need to take action, has already been realized.

Now… it’s time to get to work.


Until next time,

Kenyon Gleason
NASGW President

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