How much is enough?*

So I’m beginning to wonder if this whole “boycott” is going to turn into our own worst enemy.  We’ve known for a while that the civilian market for firearms has some serious muscle behind it, but I’m beginning to wonder if some are trying to flex it when in the grand scheme we really shouldn’t be.

I bring this up mainly because Sean has placed MagPul on the bubble and is thinking about putting them on his naughty list.

First, let me state, this isn’t an attack against Sean, I love him, I read him, I’m even hosting his site for him.  It isn’t really a smack against the boycott either, it’s a good thing and it helps bring eyes to the subject and show sincerity.

Where I do think we have a problem though is just placing an automatic pass fail on something without really thinking things through.  This becomes much like the “zero tolerance” policies at schools that we often joke about being “zero brains”.

Let’s look explicitly at the MagPul situation.  MagPul made the following comment on the AR15.com forums.

Have they and do they continue to sell and allow their distributors to sell to LEOs and departments in ban states? Yes or no. It’s simple really.

The answer is yes, our Distributors are allowed to sell to LEOs in ban states. Our founder has also said regarding LEO restrictions, “We have not considered such a move as we are not convinced that this tactic will have any effect on those in power (they will just buy Israeli or some other generic parts). It also adversely punishes street cops, local sheriffs and individual military members for the actions of those in power. The last thing we want to do is hurt those who support our cause.”

So, we see that we can support Law Enforcement and Military members while standing up for our convictions and will continue to do everything in our power to protect our inherent rights.

JUSTIN BEARD

Sales and Service Manager

MagPul Industries Corp.

1-877-4MAGPUL

On it’s surface, applied in a zero tolerance situation, yet they fit the “naughty” list.  Except there are some potential hangups for some companies with joining the boycott.  Not to mention would it be worth MagPul pulling out of it’s distributors for one state?

Further while MagPul may be able to help influence a distributor, they cannot out right tell a distributor what to do.  For example, say I was a distributor and bought a York Arms rifle.  Someone had a “law enforcement” exemption, we know there isn’t but for argument sake, and wanted to buy it from me. We do the proper FFL level paper work and I sell it because the price is right to me, read I just paid for two new rifles from Wally.  Tell me, did York Arms violate his boycott of shipping arms into New York?  While one could create a contract with a distributor detailing those facts, you cannot just throw out existing contracts or get a new contract if your distributor isn’t interested.  While you could just stop working with that distributor, that would also mean lost revenue for the manufacturer.

Ultimately though there’s more going on here than just New York.  Yeah the NY SAFE act sucks, it’s a big deal, and yes we need to stick it to them.  Tell me though, where should MagPul’s priority be regarding the support for the current fight regarding gun rights, with New York or it’s home state of Colorado?

Since the beginning of the flareup in Colorado MagPul has been at the forefront of the fight. Not only is it at the front, they have laid plans to leave Colorado should the magazine ban pass.  This isn’t a joke folks, that means either moving tooling, investing in new tooling, new buildings, hiring workers, there is a massive investment and a hit to revenue in that.  Injection molding machines aren’t cheap and they aren’t light, and a move is going to be costly.  Nothing comes for free.

Then to move further in the fight for their local community MagPul is now directing all of it’s production to residents of Colorado:

We are proud to announce that within a matter of days we will be going live with a new program. Due to a bill currently moving through the Colorado legislature, there is the possibility that Colorado residents’ ability to purchase standard capacity magazines will soon be infringed. Before that happens, and MagPul is forced to leave the state in order to keep to our principles, we will be doing our best to get standard capacity PMAGs into the hands of any Colorado resident that wants them.

Verified Colorado residents will be able to purchase up to ten (10) standard capacity AR/M4 magazines directly from MagPul, and will be given immediate flat-rate $5 shipping, bypassing our current order queue.

Our customers outside of Colorado, please know that our PMAG production will continue at an ever-increasing rate until we do relocate, shipments to our distributors in other states will continue, and that we do not expect relocation to significantly impact PMAG production. We are also aware that Colorado is not the only state with existing or pending magazine capacity restrictions; we are working on programs for other affected states as well.

Full details and instructions will be announced when we are able to go live; please watch here for the coming announcement.

No one else is getting anything.  The residents of the community in which they call home gets first dibs.  That is an honorable thing, overall it probably won’t cost them much, but the fight overall in Colorado with the possible move as well as other stress will cost them money.

I would like to remind everyone that MagPul hasn’t raised prices for their mags.  The increase in price seen retail is from distributors and retailers raising prices due to limited supply.

So tell me, why are we going to label MagPul a pariah, boycott them, and otherwise cause them economic harm because some of their distributors still sell to law enforcement in New York?  It doesn’t make sense to me and it seems an awful lot like the knee jerk reactions against Alan Gottlieb.

MagPul is making a decision on more than just the black and white we see.  They need income to continue their fight in Colorado and to help shield them from the potential losses from a move.  While they are fighting all of this, we stand out in the wings ready to turn our backs on them.  We need to be very careful about who we label an enemy and it needs to be clear and concise and pretty much black and white.

There is no black and white with MagPul.  They are a business and they are trying to protect their business while doing the right thing for their local community first.  Had MagPul not had to be in a fight at the local level it is possible they could jumped on the NY boycott train, we ultimately don’t know.  The fact is MagPul is doing a lot of things right and undertaking a lot of risk and for us to turn our backs for the actions of distributors seems like a solid way to stab a friendly in the back.

If we’re so upset by it, why aren’t we leading the train to boycott those distributors so that MagPul isn’t the only one stuck with the final bill?  How much revenue does MagPul have to sacrifice to prove they’re on our side?

If we’re going to hang MagPul because they don’t further extend their neck over the NY Safe Act, we must immediately hang both Ruger and Remington for their refusal to move out of the state of New York with the passage of the Safe Act.  Not to mention Beretta USA has issued the same threat to move to the Maryland state assembly, but I don’t see them on the boycott list either.  We either start applying this blindly over all companies equally or we actually use the grey matter between our ears.

Update: So Sean gave me a call tonight and we had a nice discussion.  Many of you are going to read through this and you may not catch why the above equaled the naughty list being removed.  The reason is simple, we can effectively determine who is actually out there supporting us on the front regarding the NY SAFE Act.  We cannot actually determine who is really throwing gun owners under the bus.

MagPul is a great example and they do not deserve to be knifed in the back as a traitor.  As Tam has said, we in this community are fantastic at stabbing traitors in the back but we need to be sure they actually are a traitor.  Some may not support the boycott not because they support police over the rest of us, but because of legal fears from being publicly traded, or disagreement on how effective that tactic will be at garnering support among the people who actually use the products.

What his list has become though is a fantastic resource for promoting businesses that do support our rights.  If you’re in the market for a new AR or something else, you can go down the list and send your business there.  We can use that tool to promote companies that have done things that prove their support.

Trying to create a list of those deserving of our wrath is a bit more difficult.  Doubly so as we start to try to lean on the bigger companies.  What can happen is we paint them into a corner with absolutely no way out.  Once that happens we’re no longer seen as friendly or something to be positive for them.  When that happens we start to lose our momentum, and on the boycott side that would be very bad.

Don’t look at this as we shouldn’t pay attention to companies who stab us in the back, look at this as, be sure you know a company is a traitor before you knife them.  Make sure you have a clearly defined boundary and not an arbitrary one that is honestly self-created and being imposed.  The best example of this would be Smith and Wesson deal Clinton Administration in 2000.

Many have had a long grudge with Smith and Wesson over that, myself included.  However if you refuse to allow a company to recover and learn from its mistakes, your boycott ultimately becomes self-defeating.  Smith and Wesson is a huge supporter of the shooting sports and pulled out of the ESOS during that incident.

Being able to bring the positive and the negative is what makes a tool like this most effective.  In this case we can only see clearly those who support us, not those against us and the tool should be used as such.

*Alternate title, In which some people will misconstrue my thoughts into something else.

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.

He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do it’s thing.

About Barron Barnett

Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms. He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do it’s thing.
Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to How much is enough?*

  1. Lyle says:

    For that matter, every state has some sort of restrictions, so we’re only talking about degrees of second amendment violations. If we all were to stick to the idea of refusing sales to any state agency in any state with gun restrictions, we’d be selling to no state agency anywhere in the U.S. and to no federal agency. And what about all those SOT manufacturers? They’d all have to close business.

    We’re drawing arbitrary lines, saying that the egregious violations in MY state are less egregious than the egregious violations in YOUR state.

  2. Lyle says:

    Something else to considder. Oskar Schindler befriended Nazis, including SS. Oskar Schindler made a lot of money doing business with the Nazis. Was Oskar Schindler a sell-out, a rat bastard, a Nazi sympathiser?

    Point being; let’s not be too quick to judge.

    • Barron says:

      My point exactly.

      I wrote out a response to your previous post but it got eaten. Suffice it to say the arbitrary lines are exactly that, arbitrary and some are trying to use them now to identify friend and foe. Some of these arbitrary lines are placed in a manner that some friendlies may not even be able to effectively reach. Does that make them automatically Foe then?

      It disturbs me that anyone would even contemplate boycotting MagPul right now given their overall support and tenacity regarding the fight in Colorado. All because they’re not running the fight in New York. This isn’t like S&W selling us up the river like they did with the Clinton Administration. This isn’t like Bill Ruger and his magazine capacity comments in 1994. This is merely a group of manufacturers has said we aren’t going to sell to “X”.

      MagPul has said, currently we are not going to twist our distributors arms to comply with that, and we personally do not think it is in the best interests of being conducive to our long term goal of improving firearms rights.

      In what world does that make them the enemy? Would it be nice if they just gave an F-You to NY, yeah, but at the same time as a libertarian, they have no business telling another business (their distributors) how to run itself. Their options are to sell to a distributor or not. And while it’s all well and good to do what you can to support your principals, if you go out of business while doing so, thus removing yourself from being able to effectively fight, was it really a good idea?

      • Sam Adams says:

        I am with you. I have no beef with MagPul. They are doing the best they can. They didn’t abandon the Colorado “civilians” and they are taking a financial risk if they have to move.

        SamAdams1776 III
        Molon Labe

  3. Pingback: GT Distributors (UPDATE: The Naughty List is gone) - An NC Gun Blog

  4. Pingback: DisArmalite fails (UPDATE: The Naughty List is GONE) - An NC Gun Blog

  5. Pingback: Sharp as a Marble - Our own

  6. One of the things about blogging and reading other blogs is that it makes you smarter. What sounded like a good idea a week ago has now proven to be a bad one. Thanks for taking the time to help me see a little more clearly.

    • Barron says:

      I don’t think many of us really saw the problem until people started looking at MagPul as if it was the enemy. The first two additions to the naughty list were both quite clear and concise as to why they would be naughty and worth our scorn.

      Once the subject of MagPul came up for me the problems were immediately apparent. For many others though not so much, especially if you were just looking from a tactical position, not one where you could see strategically what was going on.

      That I think is one of the biggest problems we’ve got currently. We have a lot of people, as Robb rightly points out, who in the grand scheme aren’t really doing much. But as you said on the phone yesterday, “It’s a lot easier to get someone to do nothing instead of something.”

      In this case some friendlies want to run out and do nothing (stop buying from these vendors) under the guise of doing something and they aren’t really thinking the whole situation through. Not only are they not thinking it through, but in the end it can dilute the effectiveness of our ability to negatively punish bad behavior as well. If everyone’s on the boycott list and there’s only a couple on the good list, supply and demand can leave no other out than go with the guy you hate. If you perform that trick on every vendor who barely slights you, each time you use it, it will get weaker and weaker.

      We need to be very careful and make sure there are alternatives who can carry the load. I think by far our best opportunity to inflict some political damage among our operational AO regarding NY is to attack the tactical expo and get vendors to pull out. Some might remain, but any that do pull need to be given a serious marketing boost for doing so.

      Overall we need to learn to bring the positive reinforcement, not just the negative punishment.

  7. Pingback: SayUncle » And in boycott NY news

  8. Pingback: Does MagPul want to be on the Naughty list? (Updated: Naughty List is gone) - An NC Gun Blog

  9. McThag says:

    I went out and bought a set of Magpul furniture for one of my AR’s. CTR stock, MIAD grip, MOE handguards. Their navigation of the landmine strewn gray areas is likely as good as we can get, perhaps the best when we look at it in hindsight.

    I’ve bought S&W since they recovered. Forgiveness is divine, right? I’d say I forgive Ruger, but they just haven’t made something I gotta have and there’s always a flaw in their current offerings that sour the deal. The mag disconnect on the MkIII, the SAAMI chamber specs on their 6.8 offerings…

    I’ve spewed at you in comment threads in other places, and I think I might have been reading it wrong and responding to the wrong topic.

    I’ll say I’m sorry about that here.

    Part of it is that I’m desperate to have a dang voice that counters the BS. Every ten years we have a fight for our gun lives and it’s always the same faces and organizations on the anti side. The same executives of the same large police forces, the same large police fraternal organization, the same police union heads. The array of uniformed officers standing as a back-drop to the anti-gun politician.

    The boycott that declares that henceforth the rank and fill will be treated just like us, then perhaps some bottom-up pressure will change those organizations? It’s desperation. Desperate people can do stupid things.

    • No problem, I didn’t really read that much into it. I figured there was some sort of misalignment.

      I know there’s a lot of those who have betrayed us and they deserve to feel the wrath. My main issue with Magpul upfront was there seemed to be a lot going on and people drawing up the nooses when honestly I wasn’t seeing it. Their initial statement didn’t even compare to the Ruger or S&W betrayal, or even that of ArmaLite.

      I will say the announcement Sean linked to above is down right gold. That honesty I think is the best possible outcome and serves us well while ensuring we don’t also screw individuals who do support us.

      The controversy created was beneficial to say the least.

  10. #1. Buy the Volquartsen trigger for the MkIII. Get the MkII trigger without the disconnect. You want the trigger anyway, trust me. Plus you lose the disconnect.

    #2. Barron wasn’t saying that the boycott was a bad idea. He was saying that my implementation of it, with a “pass/fail” rating system was overly harsh. It’s time to back away from lynching people who don’t do EXACTLY what we want and just reward those who join. He was politely asking me to remember Wheaton’s Law.

    • Angus McThag says:

      I bought a Mk I…

      I was totally talking past him in my several replies. I hate when I get upset and miss someone else’s point.

    • Barron says:

      It wasn’t even that punishing some was a bad idea. Some do truly deserve it. My point was when you look at the entire picture beyond just NY there is no way you could call Magpul the bad guy. Not only could you not, but every gun owner in CO considers them worth their weight in gold right now.

      My main point is there isn’t a magical line that says this company is a Foe. There are some actions they may take that make them the enemy, those however have never been drawn in the sand by us with us screaming, you join us or we hang you. That ultimately is what the boycott is with the naughty list.

      I am overly pleased that Magpul did finally come over the hill, and they get extra good press for it. Even if they hadn’t, I think Tam’s quote from ToddG puts another perspective on trying to hang them for their original stance.

      Bottom line is if we break out the boycott and destroy the company bag of tricks, they need to be truly worthy of it. Doing the trick too often will destroy it’s effectiveness.

  11. Mike says:

    This is one of those areas where LEO’s tend to have more of a voice. Lets face it, they are the first ones trotted out by the Pols when people control, I mean gun control comes up. Now, my only concern with a company that continues to sell items to LEO’s and Military personnel in jurisdictions where the general populace is forbidden from owning them not only shields the LEO’s from the pain and punishment of out of control Pols, but it takes away their incentive to stand up and fight against stupid laws.

    I personally believe that the LEO’s should not have any kind of weapon system that We The People are not also allowed to have.