The outdoor industry will not be able to peacefully coexist with Obama's administration

By Jim Shepherd

Plenty has happened in the outdoors [over the Holidays]. Unfortunately, not much of it has been positive.

The economy has continued to shake, rattle and roll, the stock market has tanked, industries have lined up for government handouts that may only delay the inevitable, and an administration for which I had pretty high hopes eight years ago is as dead as the bottle of leftover New Year's Eve champagne you'd forgotten was in your refrigerator.

The executive orders President Bush have issued since the election, incidentally, are probably just as equally dead on arrival. Case in point, the executive order restoring the right for state law to apply to concealed carry in federal parklands.

The Brady Committee has already announced their legal opposition to that Bush Executive Order. California Senator Dianne Feinstein then published an op-ed piece criticizing that same measure - and promising to have it overturned by the new Obama administration. The fact the whole process began five years ago and was only extended to this late-date in the Bush administration because of the efforts of a couple of Senators who asked for an extension has gone ignored, but, hey, perception is reality.

In short order, the entire outdoor industry is about to find there is no peaceful coexistence with the new administration -and the administration may possesses no interest in compromise. It appears focused and dedicated to the consolidation of power and application of said power to anyone who opposes them.

At the end of 2008, I said the new administration would quickly discover that winning elections and governing were different matters entirely. That presumed, however, at least a modicum of organized opposition. The few conservatives remaining in Congress have yet to exhibit any organization, much less mount an effective opposition.

The new administration will "make its bones" - quickly to let everyone know there's a new sheriff in town. Unfortunately - for most of us - that will likely include a slew of new laws designed to severely restrict firearms ownership.

The so-called assault weapons ban is headed back with a vengeance. Vengeance, in fact, might be the key word in that sentence.

What was more or less accepted as rhetoric from Second Amendment supporters by conservatives was taken, I've been told, extremely personally by the new administration. Consequently, an object lesson in power politics is headed our way - soon.

When that happens, it will drive a stake into a significant portion of the billion-dollar firearms industry. That industry, incidentally, needed no bailout money, puts hundreds of millions of tax dollars into conservation annually and provides jobs in a time when unemployment is nearing record highs nationwide.

An unfortunate casualty of that same anti-gun move would also be the conservation movement nationwide. State and federal fish and wildlife agencies depend on tax revenues from firearms sales and hunting and fishing licenses. The best-selling firearm for everything from home defense to hunting today is the same base platform as the - GASP - assault weapon. Yep, the AR-15 platform is headed for another showdown in Washington.

When (if, industry leaders tell me is a given) that showdown begins, it may be time to remind our legislators that a billion-dollar industry will pay a price that will trickle down to impact the outdoors - drastically and for years to come.

For an administration that says their single-minded focus is the economy, laying siege to an industry that needs no government support - or intervention - and is providing jobs across the country would be a very clear demonstration of ideological action. Actually, it would be hypocrisy of the first order.

If the administration goes after guns, our first reminder should be the words made famous by Clinton advisor James Carville: "It's the economy, stupid."

Republished from The Outdoor Wire.

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