The annual State of the Industry dinner the first evening of the 2014 SHOT Show was presented by the Outdoor Channel. In opening remarks its President/CEO, Jim Libatore, pressed the crowd of more than a thousand attendees to be imaginative, energetic and pro-active in defense of our shooting, hunting and outdoor lifestyle.
There is, nevertheless, some good news and some bad news. Less than 25 percent of the SHOT Show's exhibitors are NSSF Foundation members Bob Scott noted … and yet, Chris Dolnack said in counterpoint, opening day 2014 was already the most successful day in SHOT history with exhibitors and visitor attendance at record numbers.
Prior to the evening's entertainment by renowned Las Vegas illusionists Penn & Teller, NSSF President/CEO Steve Sanetti reviewed the State of the Industry. Threats abound, he said, and intensified following the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. Still, in every category, shooting and hunting participation is strong and growing. For instance:
1) Hunting expenditures are up 55 percent.
2) 25 percent more women and young people are now shooting than ever before.
3) Contributions to the Federal Excise Tax from the sale of firearms, archery and related gear are up 100 percent from 2008. These funds are used to build shooting ranges, and teach safety and hunter education.
"We are diverse and have a younger, more urban and more female group joining our ranks than ever before," Sanetti said. "In one word, the state of our industry is renewed!"