Of course you don't need to be a cynic to notice that the sponsor's products are front and center. If Hogue and Crimson Trace back a segment, you can book it that the boys on the floor will hold up their sponsors latest toys and wax enthusiastic. Hardly unexpected–I've worked for animated shows that were essentially one long commercial for the kiddies Christmas stocking: Did you miss Chuck Norris's Karate Kommandos Korvette, with Disk Action Shooter™ ... ? I've even done product placement in books on some of the work-for-hire projects.
But back to the Shot Show™:
One thing I noticed right off. There are a whole bunch of new AR rifle platforms for sale, from big-bore .308, to a convertor you can use to practice with .177 air. And the name has changed.
A cynic might say that the gun makers looked up and saw a huge market among those worried these things are going to be made illegal.
Here is a fact: Every time anybody in government mumbles the words "Gun control," sales of guns and ammo go through the roof. Every time. Ammo shelves clear out, people stand in line to get into gun shows.
The gun industry should mint a gold medal and and give it to President Obama, because he's made them more money than Wayne LaPierre has. Seriously.
For everybody on that side of the gun control issue, the AR, the civilian version of the military's combat rifles–M-16, M-4, etc.–is an assault rifle. For everybody on the other side of that stance? There is not a whiff of anything that connects them to the Army or Marines now.
Now? They are known as Modern Sporting Rifles.
Every time one of the three hosts held one of these up, and they did it a lot, that was how they referred to them. Modern Sporting Rifles.
Notice the spin?
Just like "pro-choice," or "pro-life," are terms meant to convey to somebody that one's side of the debate is the the more benign and reasonable one, we field "assault" and "sporting."
Both sides of the gun debate have bought a carload of lipstick for this pig. And Porky's make-up is transparently obvious no matter who applies it.
What's in a name? A rose would smell just as sweet by a different handle, right? Well, yeah, but if you called a rose"vulture vomit," probably fewer people would be growing, them or stopping to smell them.
Hey, Larry, nice vulture-vomit bush in the front yard there ...
Glaser Safety Slugs™ are probably more defendable in court than Heart Shredders™ even if they are ballistically identical. Black Talon™ ammo one day turned into Ranger SXT. (And the joke was, SXT stood for "same eXact Thing.) Cut somebody's carotids with a Death Ripper Tactical knife, that just sounds ever so much worse than if you use a Girl Scout Pocket Knife, even though the guy is just as dead ...
This debate over hardware is, much like other deeply-held beliefs, driven by the far left and right. The crazier and smaller the group, the louder it tends to be, and that about-to-fall-off-the edge polarization leaves, as often as not, the middle in a place that makes it hard to get comfortable, since the middle pisses off both yea and nay.
The if-then options:
A) If we let them take our Modern Sporting Rifles™, then next thing you know, they'll come for Grampa's .22 squirrel gun!
B) If you own a gun, then somebody is going to break in and steal it and murder a busload of children with it!
Really? Those are the only choices?
The problem I see, as I have said here before, is that the left wing loons and the right wing nuts don't speak for most of us. And we have to decide what's best for us and stand on it, rather then allowing ourselves to be herded like sheep by either side.
If you think that "responsible gun owner" is an oxymoron, or your T-shirt says "Pry my thirty round magazine from my cold dead fingers," you don't speak for me. Nor for most people who live where I live.