No topic causes more discussion in the industry today than safety. Since the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan led to the birth and notoriety of Handgun Control Inc., anti-gun groups have flown the "dangerous" and "lack of safety" flags in their campaign against guns and gun owners.
"In accidental shootings, we're at an all-time low," said Bob Ricker, director of Government Affairs for the American Shooting Sports Council (ASSC). "We attribute that to the fine job companies are doing to educate the public about firearms safety. In addition, over the last 20 years, the National Rifle Association has spent millions of dollars on educational programs aimed at safety in the shooting sports. The result has been the best record we've ever had."
To further that record, the industry undertook a major safety initiative last year. Appearing at a White House news conference, firearm representatives announced programs to provide safety devices with the firearms they manufacture. Best Gun Safe Reviews – Ultimate Guide for 2019
The safe storage of firearms is arguably the most important safety issue in the industry today. It's more than just an industry initiative. Legislators all over the country are getting into the act. In late August, for instance, the California Legislature passed a bill requiring gun dealers to offer locking devices to customers who purchase handguns.
Increasing your inventory and marketing efforts in the areas of safety and storage, means more than just improving profits. It helps gun owners become more safe and improves the shooting industry's image.
Safety and storage products can be divided into two main categories: items gun owners use to keep themselves safe while shooting, and items gun owners put on a gun, or put a gun in to keep it safe.
Protecting The Shooter
The products shooters use to keep themselves safe while shooting mainly protect the eyes and ears.
Chris Leight is director of consumer products for Howard Leight Hearing Protection. He says many dealers - and many shooters - consider hearing protection an unimportant add-on. That's a mistake.
"Hearing loss occurs very rapidly with impact sound," Leight says. "Hearing loss is painless and cumulative. You may not lose your hearing today, but five years from now there may be a noticeable difference. Any time you shoot, you should wear hearing protection, and wear it correctly."
He says most people don't even know how to put foam earplugs in their ears properly, despite the instructions given on packaging. As a result, many shooters buy earmuffs when foam earplugs would be adequate.
Hearing protection can be divided into several categories:
Foam earplugs: Leight says high-quality, disposable foam earplugs can provide better noise reduction than many earmuffs, if they're used properly. The key is to insert earplugs correctly, something he says 98 percent of shooters don't do.
Reusable earplugs: These are earplugs that can be washed in mild soap and water and used more than once. They may last through several shooting sessions. But, Leight says, reusable earplugs may not provide as great a noise reduction as disposables.
Earmuffs: Today's high-quality earmuffs are made of plastic, are comfortable and easy to get off and on. According to Leight, they're "idiot-proof."
Electronic earmuffs: This is a very expensive category to get into and, according Leight, most of them don't have a reliable noise-reduction rating. "They're usually made in the thinnest ear muffs you can get, with a low-noise reduction rating," Leight says. "They have a volume control, and hunters turn them way up so they can hear while they're hunting. They end up damaging their hearing."
Most shooters understand the importance of eye protection, but the challenge is that choices in shooting glasses are even more complex than those for hearing protection.
Suellen Dickeson is a licensed optician who owns Suellen's Family Eyewear, in Quincy, Fla. She's been making all kinds of glasses for more than 20 years, but her specialty is protective eyewear. She says there are several factors you should consider when selecting the glasses you offer customers.