By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Although they had planned to attend as they did last year, Second Call Defense will not have an exhibitor space at the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta this weekend, AmmoLand Shooting Sports News has learned. As with the United States Concealed Carry Association, which was suddenly “disinvited” from attending, Second Call’s services are in direct competition with those being offered by NRA’s new Carry Guard program.
The withholding of exhibit space stands in contrast to one of the prime reasons for attending the NRA Annual Meeting, the opportunity for gun owners to immerse themselves in an unrivaled gathering of gun industry competitors (comparable to the SHOT Show, which limits attendance to industry professionals and media). Companies gather under one roof at the most highly attended open-to-the-public firearms-related event of the year, each offering their unique brands and services, providing attendees with near-overwhelming selections and choices. Artificially limiting what is allowed to be presented — and by whom — limits NRA member choices.
Unaffected by this, some readers have pointed out, is the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, which remains on the exhibitor’s list. That appears to be apples and oranges though, as the ACLD FAQs specify:
“Are Network membership benefits based on an insurance policy that will reimburse me for my expenses if I must defend my actions in court?
No. Network dues give members access to specific benefits. See “Membership Benefits” page by clicking here. Network benefits are specifically not an insurance program nor are they prepaid legal fees.”
Host Mark Walters and guest Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation discussed the surprise move against USCCA in the opening segment of Sunday’s Armed American Radio program.
“I think competition is good for gun owners, I think it’s good for all of us consumers, quite frankly it makes us all better rather than being afraid to compete with somebody. I think it’s much better to do the competition,” Gottlieb remarked. “And it always bothers me when somebody wants to be the only kid on the block so to speak. I don’t think it serves gun owners all that well.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Second Call Defense founder and attorney (and incidentally, NRA Board member) Sean Maloney.
“Despite our absence at this year’s NRA Annual Meeting of Members, in Atlanta, GA, it is business as usual for Second Call Defense,” Maloney told AmmoLand and assured existing and prospective members. “We will continue to offer the best protection available anywhere, for our members who are forced to use a firearm in self-defense.
“I welcome the NRA's Carry Guard participation in this critical segment of the self-defense market,” Maloney added. “For over five years, Second Call Defense has been the leader in providing immediate legal protection for our members. Competition only serves to strengthen the services available for the millions of law-abiding citizens who choose to carry a firearm in self-defense.”
“I believe there is a product that fits every niche in the marketplace, but for some people, brand matters,” observed Lock N Load Radio host Bill Frady, who initially contacted this reporter with the news that Second Call Defense, a longtime sponsor of his program, was caught up in the apparent blacklisting. “I am sure both USCCA and Second Call Defense have their stalwart clients that will stay year in and year out. Just as I am sure there is a segment of the American gun-owning populace that never knew this type of service existed, but they will now with Carry Guard. And that will be a very good thing.
“But this smacks of the Restaurant Wars out of the movie ‘Demolition Man,’ where all restaurants are now Taco Bell,” he observed.
It also turns out the ban is more far-reaching.
“[D]espite the fact that I’m an NRA Life-Benefactor member, and have been a Life Member and NRA Instructor for more than two decades, since I’ve begun to do work with USCCA I can no longer get speaking opportunities at NRA events, the NRA Store has ceased carrying my book (The Law of Self Defense, 3rd Edition), I can no longer obtain media credentials for the NRA Annual Meeting, and our efforts to secure a booth at the NRA Annual Meeting for ourselves could not get a phone call or email returned,” attorney, author, self-defense expert and certified firearms instructor Andrew F. Branca revealed on The Law of Self Defense blog . “All of these were routine activities that occurred with no difficulty prior to my association with USCCA.” (Branca discussed the USCCA ban in the same Armed American Radio program as Gottlieb.)
For its part, NRA has been responding to member inquiries with terse boilerplate:
Thank you for contacting us. It was a business decision. We're launching what our members want in NRA Carry Guard. Please visit https://www.nracarryguard.com/ for more information. Thank you for your support!
It will be instructive to see if responses become more informative as NRA and its prominent spokespeople unveil Carry Guard with great fanfare at the Annual Meeting.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.