TheGunBlog.ca — I’m high on TACCOM, the Tactical & Competitive Shooting Sports Show. It ran last weekend to become the biggest and most-important gun show in Canadian history.
Almost 20,000 people packed a major convention centre near Toronto over three days to explore and celebrate gun culture.
Firearms Outlet Canada, the show organizer, hit a grand slam. It’s also a powerful political milestone for the country’s shooting community and firearm industry just when we need it most.
Millions of hunters, sport shooters and our families are about to vote in an election that will determine if we have a future.
Uncertainty to Exhilaration
The success of the first large-scale TACCOM is particularly exhilarating because of all the uncertainty beforehand.
Most gun shows attract a few hundred people and feel like flea markets. They’re held in old venues and sell old “Non-restricted” rifles and shotguns.
The critical question for TACCOM 2019 was whether industry and the shooting public would show up for a modern expo focused on the newest “Restricted” handguns and AR-15 target rifles for contemporary sports. It also had plenty of “Non-restricteds.”
Firearms Outlet Canada invested the past 18 months betting people would show up, defying the darkening political outlook.
- The governing Liberal Party has spent a year exploring sweeping gun bans against honest firearm owners.
- They passed Bill C-71 in June as a new law against every federally licensed gun user and store.
- The Liberals are now campaigning on plans for the biggest instant gun confiscations or expulsions in Canada’s history, starting with the owners of 200,000 rifles/shotguns before going after handgunners.
If the Liberals win, they will kill TACCOM and turn hundreds of thousands of gun owners into former gun owners.
TACCOM has the potential to trigger the switch we need to mobilize and rebuild the shooting community. Without massive recruitment and a major political shift, we’re on our way out.
Fewer than 8% of voters have a firearm licence. Every year the percentage shrinks. Less than 1% owns a handgun.
With all the hurdles, what TACCOM achieved is mind blowing.
Everyone Showed Up
- The biggest global brands, including Glock, Smith & Wesson, Beretta, SIG Sauer, FN Herstal, Mossberg, Remington, Blackhawk, Magpul, Nightforce Optics and Vortex.
- Top Canadian gun retailers and wholesalers, plus elite trainers and small businesses.
- World-class hunters, sport shooters and celebrities.
- Key politicians from the Conservative Party.
- Canada’s largest gun media.
- The three national shooters’ rights associations: CSSA, NFA and CCFR.
- The punchline: 18,778 visitors packed the show over three days.
The presence of so many competing businesses, organizations and shooting interests under one roof was an inspiring display of unity.
The show was the largest gathering of gun users that many Canadians have ever experienced, and the first time we felt the community come together like this.
The last time — at an even bigger scale — was during Ottawa rallies in the 1990s to oppose the Liberal government’s Firearms Act that criminalizes honest gun users.
Coming Out of the Gun Closet
TACCOM turned into a giant celebration where the shooting community came out of the gun closet. We left the shadows and jumped into the light of prime time.
Reporters for Canada’s biggest news media came to see. They experienced our culture of smiles, safety, responsibility and good citizenship.
What if TACCOM 2019 triggers the shift we need to survive as gun owners?
Vision, Leadership, Perseverance
Fred Pellegrino and Adam Caruana of Firearms Outlet Canada deserve our recognition and gratitude for their vision, leadership and perseverance for creating TACCOM and getting everyone to the show.
What happened a week ago demonstrates that the firearm industry and shooting community can come together for a big win.
TACCOM 2019 proved “We Can Do This!”
Now we need to prove it again in Election 2019.