NRA Tide Turning?


We’ve avoided staking out a position in the whole NRA fiasco because it’s a no-win proposition — unless we’re simply going for click-bait headlines, which isn’t our style. Even this brief entry will doubtless inspire an overwhelming stream of pro and con reader communications, most of which will be quite pointed. However, it’s also difficult to ignore the tide of resentment building against the LaPierre regime. The latest (at this writing) high profile NRA Director to turn against the status quo is Buz Mills, owner of Gunsite Academy. A week ago, Buz published a letter to the board blaming a lack of management oversight on the board itself and requesting an independent audit of NRA finances. It remains to be seen if such efforts gain traction but there definitely seems to be a groundswell building. I will share one personal thought: When a leader becomes so toxic (deservedly or not) as to jeopardize the mission of the organization, it might be time for the leader to step away for the greater good. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

End Of An Era

On Sunday, June 28, 2019, an era truly ended with the passing of Janelle Cooper. Mrs. Cooper, the beloved wife of the late Col. Jeff Cooper, was 99 years old when she peacefully passed away in her sleep surrounded by family. Remarkably, she lived alone in “The Sconce” (the famous Cooper family home on Gunsite Ranch), until only a few days before her passing. One of the final things she told Gunsite Chief Operating Officer Ken Campbell was her regret, “I don’t think I can be the proprietor of The Sconce any longer.” A gracious and charming woman who lived a life full of adventure alongside Col. Cooper, she was beloved by Gunsite alumni and frequently invited students into her home for brownies and lemonade. She was laid to rest in the mausoleum next to her husband after a private service at Gunsite. GUNS and FMG extend our condolences to the Cooper family.

Ruger Firearms Finances

We’ve been reporting on the downturn in the gun business, the one anti-gunners make so much spurious hay about. As we’ve pointed out to anyone who will listen, it’s really a “right-sizing” of the shooting industry after hyper-inflated demand during the Obama administration. However, it’s a real thing. For example, Ruger just came out with the second quarter earnings and they were down about $40 million dollars on $259 million dollars in sales. Fortunately, Ruger remains America’s largest firearms manufacturer and is still in fine financial shape, as noted by CEO Christopher J. Killoy in the earnings statement. He said, “We have $132 million in cash and short-term investments, and no debt, which puts us in a unique position in our industry. We remain financially strong, fiscally disciplined and focused on delivering long-term value to our shareholders.”

Another Passing

If the name Steve Fjestad rings a bell, it’s because we just mentioned him in last month’s Insider. Steve is the author and publisher of the famous Blue Book of Gun Values, one of the best references — and biggest time waster when you’re trying to get chores accomplished — in the shooting world. Unfortunately, right after our mention last month, Steve passed away after a short battle with cancer. However, Blue Book Publications, Inc. is continuing Steve’s lifework of publishing the Blue Book and several other great firearms reference titles. You can learn more about Steve and his books at

“I’d Rather Have A Sister Working In A Bordello”

I’ve spent considerable time around the television/video side of the gun and hunting industry. I have several friends who work exclusively in video and many of them are decent, ethical — and fun — people. However, there is a dark underbelly to the whole “hunting show” industry, especially when you get into the second- and third-tier “personalities.” With intense pressure to produce a world-record trophy deer, elk, caribou, lemur or ground squirrel in every single episode, ethical corners sometimes get cut. The latest was Christopher Brackett, former host of the Outdoor Channel hunting show Fear No Evil who plead guilty in Federal court in July to violations of the Lacey Act. According to the plea, Brackett admitted killing two bucks in Indiana during an episode (Indiana is a one-buck state) then transporting the second deer to Illinois. He also told his staff to hide video footage and destroy the antlers. Bracket joins TV hosts Theresa Vail, Andrae D’Acquisto, Bob Beck, Bill Busbice, William Saif III and even “Uncle Ted” (Ted Nugent) in having been prosecuted for violations occurring while or related to filming. The list is actually much longer but I got too depressed to continue researching.

And A Final Passing

W e’re not trying to be a downer but we must again report yet another person close to GUNS has disappeared into the mists of eternity. Fortunately, this last passing is much happier in most ways — esteemed FMG Editorial Director Michael Humphries has left our Thundering Herd. Mike was literally made an offer he couldn’t refuse and moved into a marketing/PR role with a major manufacturer. Here at FMG Publications we’re thrilled for Mike, except when considering how much work it will take to fill his shoes. Good luck Mike, and once you arrive in your beautiful new office, please don’t worry about your old friends, sitting here slaving away at midnight over a hot word processor! Nope, we’re fine, don’t worry about us … (Photo: Mike “Dirty Harry” Humphries)

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