By Michael Clements
“This is where all the manufacturers will be displaying their newest models. This is the chance for retailers to see what is new in their markets to meet their customers’ needs,” he told The Epoch Times.
Oliva is managing director for public affairs at the NSSF, the Firearm Industry Trade Association. NSSF owns and has hosted SHOT Show since 1979. SHOT stands for the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade show.
Not only does it feature the best and newest products and services in the firearms industry, Oliva said, it provides an opportunity for manufacturers and sellers to connect to determine the state of their industry. He added that in recent years they had noted a markedly less friendly federal regulatory environment.
“It’s no secret that this administration is hostile to firearms ownership,” Oliva said.
So, last year SHOT hosted its first Governor’s Forum. During the forum, six governors made their pitches to encourage industry leaders to move to their states. Attendees had the opportunity to explain their problems and question the state leaders. The forum was so successful that SHOT is hosting another meeting at this year’s show. It will be Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. in the Venetian Expo’s Murano ballroom.
On hand will be Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Governor-elect Jim Pillen, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.
Oliva pointed out that gun retailers processed 16.4 million background checks for gun purchases last year. This is evidence that, while some sectors of the economy may be faltering, the firearms industry is healthy.
A healthy industry means prosperity for any state willing to be its host. According to Oliva, Wyoming and Georgia are just two states that benefitted when industry leaders like Weatherby Inc., Magpul, and Stag Arms decided to leave increasingly antagonistic California and Washington. The companies’ economic impact on their new states did not go unnoticed by other state leaders.
“Gov. Stitt (Oklahoma) made no bones about it. He wants to attract the firearms industry to his state,” Oliva said. “There is still a very strong appetite for firearms ownership.”
This demand has benefitted consumers as well. The firearms companies are expanding their product lines to meet the needs of new and established gun owners while motivated entrepreneurs develop new products and technologies.
“SHOT Show is the opportunity to see what those new products will be,” Oliva said.
In addition to the exhibitors and informational sessions, SHOT Show will feature entertainment and networking events open only to SHOT Show attendees.
Sarah Joy Albrecht is the founder and executive director of Hold My Guns, a non-profit that arranges temporary firearms storage for those in need. This year will be her third SHOT Show, and she said it’s almost like coming home. She said that society often casts gun owners in a negative light.
“When you get there, you see you are part of a larger community,” Albrecht said.
Firearms Are Main Draw
But, of course, the main draw is the new firearms and related products. SHOT Show went virtual in 2021 because of the pandemic, and 2022 had reduced attendance, but Oliva said the event is back even bigger for 2023.
“We’ve nearly doubled our floor space from last year,” Oliva said.
SHOT Show will be held at The Venetian Expo and Caesar’s Forum in Las Vegas, Nev. The venues are connected by a sky bridge and will feature over 2,400 exhibitors on 800,000 net square feet of floor space. This is the 24th SHOT Show to be held in Las Vegas. The show was first held in St. Louis, Mo.
The 2022 SHOT Show attracted exhibitors, buyers, media, and other industry professionals from all 50 states and more than 115 countries.
The exhibition floor will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day except Friday, Jan. 20, when the show will close at 4 p.m. Law enforcement booths in Venetian ballrooms will open at 8 a.m. daily.
The show is open only to the firearms industry. Registration is open at https://shotshow.org and the event. Entertainment and networking events are available for an added fee and may sell out. Information is available on the website also.