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Old May 22, 2000, 12:30 PM   #1
Ken in Iowa
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NRA aims hatred at Iowa native

Hostility, threats face Smith & Wesson's Ed Shultz at gathering.

Register Staff Writer
Charlotte, N.C. - Ed Shultz knows he is the most hated man in the National Rifle Association.

It's not that Shultz doesn't like guns. He's the top executive for gun-manufacturing giant Smith & Wesson.

It's not that Shultz disagrees with protecting the right to bear arms. He's a card-carrying NRA member.

No, Shultz is the most hated man in the National Rifle Association because of a decision he made two months ago. He was the first firearms executive in the United States to say the gun industry must change how it conducts business.

"Oftentimes, people don't know who their friends and who their enemies are," said Shultz, who is lauded by anti-gun activists and jeered by gun supporters. "Right now, mine are confused."

During the National Rifle Association's annual convention that ended here Sunday, Shultz was surrounded by those enemies, who believe he sold out to the Clinton administration and other gun-control proponents in exchange for being let off the hook for a portion of the lawsuits that could topple the U.S. gun industry.

When Shultz, the chairman of the world's largest handgun maker, wants to get away from the death threats and a seemingly constant flurry of hate mail, he boards his single-engine Bonanza and flies to southeast Iowa for a retreat on his family farm between Oskaloosa and Ottumwa.

"It's been sort of a home base," said Shultz, 58, who earned an engineering degree from Iowa State University in 1967 and worked as an executive at the Hon Industries in Muscatine before joining Smith & Wesson in 1992.

The threats against Shultz have so intensified that he won't disclose the location of the farm where he was raised. His mother still lives in Iowa. He said he wants to protect her and others from the criticism he has endured since signing a landmark deal in March with the federal government to accept wide restrictions on the way the company makes and sells its handguns.

"There's no point on making it tough on my neighbors," Shultz said. "If I tell you where I live, I'll have some more people visiting me."

It's true. People follow Shultz.

Take John Brotan, who traveled from Colorado to North Carolina to pass out bright yellow literature accusing Smith & Wesson of "selling its soul to the Clinton-Gore administration" and making "a pact with the devil."

"They sold out to the American people," said Brotan, a 57-year-old NRA member who explains his views while handing out stickers that say: "Shame!!! Boycott Smith & Wesson."

NRA First Vice President Kayne Robinson, a Des Moines man who also is chairman of the Iowa Republican Party, is furious at Shultz.

"He's a traitor," Robinson said. "He sold out for money."

When Robinson was reminded Shultz is from Iowa, he said: "I'm sorry to hear that."

Here's how Shultz sparked controversy: On March 17, Smith & Wesson signed a deal with the government, saying it will continue installing locks on handguns to safeguard them from children. The company pledged within three years to introduce a "smart gun" that uses fingerprint technology to allow only authorized users to fire the weapon.

Also, to dissuade illegal gun trafficking, people who purchase more than one weapon from a Smith & Wesson dealer can take only one gun home on the day of the sale. The rest can be claimed after 14 days.

Shultz said the agreement was simply a business decision to quell some of the 30 lawsuits filed by major cities across the country that want to hold gun makers accountable for gun violence. The deal settled legal action by 15 cities that were trying to collect damages from Smith & Wesson.

"Do I feel like a traitor? No," Shultz said. "I feel like I'm doing those kinds of things that responsible businesses must do as they move forward into the future."

Many of Shultz's critics call him an anti-gun man who is intentionally running the firearms division of his company into financial doom, hoping to protect other ventures of the corporation that is owned by Tomkins PLC in Britain.

Shultz counters that he's been a hunter all of his life. He would often carry a gun to his one-room Iowa schoolhouse, he said, not to shoot at friends but to hunt rabbits or other prey on the way home.

It was a school shooting that started to shape Shultz's view of gun control. Even though there were no handguns used in the Columbine massacre last year, he said, the public believes a gun is a gun.

"You're devastated by the tragedy of it all. As the CEO of a firearms business, what kind of damage control can you do?" Shultz said. "People call you and ask how you could make this type of product."

The NRA accuses Shultz of caving in during a critical political year for gun owners, manufacturers and distributors. Other gun company executives also question the decision of Smith & Wesson, a Massachusetts company that makes about one-fifth of the 2.5 million handguns sold annually.

"It hurts the whole industry," said William Keys, the president of Colt Manufacturing, which makes old-style pistols and revolvers. "If we don't stick together, we won't ever solve the problem."

That mind-set frustrates Shultz, who said the National Rifle Association and the gun industry will face political and financial suffocation unless America's changing gun culture is acknowledged. He said the NRA is getting "further and further from the reality of the world we're in."

"Change is happening, it's going to take place," Shultz said. "We can either embrace it and move with it or we can wait until it kills us."

Shultz brought that unpopular attitude to the three-day NRA convention center here, an otherwise friendly enclave for gun supporters. Standing in front of Smith & Wesson's display of 94 pistols and revolvers, he and his staff endured heckling and cold stares.

Shultz, a father and grandfather, knows he is hated. He says again that he doesn't hate guns. His necktie is a collage of handguns blended beneath a burgundy and brown hue. His silver watch bears the Smith & Wesson gun logo.

Shultz said he briefly considered skipping the NRA convention this year, but he wanted to explain his position to anyone willing to listen. Three days, however, might have been too much.

He left the convention after the opening day to fly his Bonanza back to Iowa where no one can find him.

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Old May 22, 2000, 01:16 PM   #2
David Roberson
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Schultz was indeed at the S&W display on the first day of the convention, and not on the second. It's amusing to see he apparently decided to skip the rest of the event. He was catching some heat from attendees when I saw him at the S&W display on Friday.

It's interesting (but not surprising) that this article is just like all the others dealing with the S&W case in that it focuses only on the mildest aspects of the S&W agreement instead of revealing the true scope of S&W's cowardice and treachery.

[This message has been edited by David Roberson (edited May 22, 2000).]
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Old May 22, 2000, 05:35 PM   #3
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Bull****,He sold out,for whatever reason and I don't feel sorry for him. I do believe he was pressured into this from the Corporate losers in England.He could have resigned if he didn't agree with the program.
He made his bed let him lay in it.

We preserve our freedoms by using four boxes: soap,ballot,jury, and cartridge.
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Old May 22, 2000, 09:17 PM   #4
Jeff Thomas
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David, I noticed the same thing. A very biased article, making it sound like Shultz is the only reasonable man, and he is hounded by crazies in the NRA. What a crock.

Typical media spin. As I heard it put by someone else on TFL, now we have a 'media-government complex' at work in the U.S.

Regards from AZ

[This message has been edited by Jeff Thomas (edited May 22, 2000).]
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Old May 22, 2000, 09:30 PM   #5
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"Change is happening, it's going to take place," Shultz said. "We can either embrace it and move with it or we can wait until it kills us."


Let's agree to become subjects so it won't hurt so bad when we give up our Rights.


Sure glad he wasn't around in 1776!

Either you believe in the Second Amendment or you don't.
Stick it to 'em! RKBA!

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Old May 22, 2000, 09:33 PM   #6
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I guess I must be in the (very small) minority - but I don't think Shultz was particularly malevolent. He made a business decision to sign an agreement. Unfortunately I think some of the more onerous provisions might even be illegal (restraint of trade and all that). But he made it, for whatever reasons he determined to be good and meritorious.

Now I'm going to make one (as I hope most others of you do) and not buy any post-agreement S&W firearms. Though granted - I do lust after one of the new Schofields. But, as Mr. Shultz would probably be the first to point out, business is business.

Jim Fox

[This message has been edited by JimFox (edited May 22, 2000).]
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Old May 22, 2000, 09:36 PM   #7
Guy B. Meredith
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Note one very significant comment in the article: S&W will CONTINUE to provide trigger locks with their firearms.

Prior to this Clinton and Co. were intimating that they instituted the practice. This is the first time I have seen acknowledgment that the gun manufacturers have already been doing this before the agreement.
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Old May 22, 2000, 10:36 PM   #8
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I read some articles in the local rags and they said people at the convention, didn't agree with the agreement, but would continue to buy from S&W. I think this is a crock!
Anyone know any member of the NRA still going to buy from these sellouts? I don't!
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Old May 22, 2000, 11:48 PM   #9
Daniel Watters
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Did any members make a motion to have Shultz' NRA membership revoked?
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Old May 23, 2000, 06:37 AM   #10
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Leave it to the DES MOINES REGISTAR to inject that piece of trash onto the public. I live in iowa and that paper USED to be one of the most respected around.

No more, they have an liberal agenda and are anti gun as these attitudes prevail throughout the theme of this paper. Along with many mainstream media types [CBS COMES TO MIND] this hysterical and anti gun retoric never seems to end.

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Old May 23, 2000, 08:24 AM   #11
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The FedGovs' propaganda wing doesn't even try to be subtle anymore.
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Old May 23, 2000, 08:29 AM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Ed Shultz knows he is the most hated man in the National Rifle Association.


I hardly think so, he could take a number though.

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Old May 23, 2000, 01:47 PM   #13
Mike H
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Well judging from some of the posts I've read in TFL during the last month or so, what was written in the piece seems fairly accurate to me. I haven't heard about death threats before, but I can well imagine the throngs of NRA activists marching past in cold silence staring at the S&W sales team with more than a little menace. All I can say is this, people who I was starting to win over at work on the whole RKBA issue, people who, by the way regard ME as a gun fanatic, have been completely swayed in the opposite direction as a result of gun owners reaction to what most citizens saw as a sound business move on S&W's part, after all, if the elected government isn't supportive of the constitution how can you put all the heat on one company, which like almost any business is in it for the money.

All it needs is for someone to shoot Schultz and the game is over for us, I for one hope this thing goes away real soon.

Mike H
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Old May 23, 2000, 01:57 PM   #14
Danger Dave
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I think you should explain to them that his "business decision" dictated to everyone who dealt with S&W how they had to sell firearms from every other manufacturer as well. How would S&W accept a competitor dictating how/where/to whom they sold their own products?

Most citizens aren't aware of that part of the agreement, I'll wager. Especially since every mainstream press article I've seen only mentions trigger locks.

They bowed down to extortion, plain and simple. The agreement wasn't about safety, it was about governmental control of the industry.
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Old May 23, 2000, 02:22 PM   #15
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Yes, S&W should not have given in.

But you know what, THEY should not have been put in that situation.

WE should not have sued them.

That's right, WE are suing them. The "collective" (governments) led by socialists that the US people elected, that represent the majority will, put them in that impossible position.

Yes, they shouldn't have signed; but save some animosity for the real enemy (and hope S&W folds soon). I have nothing against S&W; but since they signed the deal, they need to fold so that everyone sees that that deal is business suicide.


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Old May 23, 2000, 02:42 PM   #16
simonov jr
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Add me to the list of people who hate this guy.
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Old May 23, 2000, 05:40 PM   #17
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Mad. Upset. Yes.

Hate? Why?

If we actually believe in freedom why should/would we hate someone for a decsion they made? To me what S&W did isn't near as bad as what happened with Pinto's (sp?).

As far as I know no gun manufacturer has ever taken an oath to uphold constitution? Or to do what I want them to do?

I disagree with S&W decisions and it sounds like it may well destroy them economically. But it was their decision.

Let the flames begin.
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Old May 23, 2000, 06:55 PM   #18
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This guy is my neighbor and I didnt even know it, goes to show you a thing or two about trust?
BTW, this is about the umpteenth liberal anti gun piece the DesMoines register and commune has written on gun controll, if any of you more eliquent writers out there have any letters i may work from please post or e-mail me so i can start mailing..more
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Old May 23, 2000, 07:20 PM   #19
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Why does the NRA's America's 1st Freedom magazine contain a S&W add on page 67?

If pro-gun magazines refuse to accept advertising from S&W, then they will have not way to market their firearms.

I wonder why the NRA accepted S&W's advertising money in the first edition of their new flagship magazine?
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Old May 23, 2000, 07:38 PM   #20
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I'm sure SW bought the ad spot long before they consumated their deal.

I think it's poetic justice that congress passed a resolution banning preferential contracts for SW.

So many pistols, so little money.
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Old May 23, 2000, 07:57 PM   #21
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Poor Ed, He knows not what he does. He knows not what he produces. He knows not what he might produce in the future. He shall only know what a peck on his cheek gets him. What shall it get him?
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