Springfield Armory, Rock River Arms Still Aiming for Damage Control After Gun Control Bill Exposure

Both Companies Claim to have Severed Ties with… Themselves?

RRA_SpringfieldAs covered in our earlier article on Springfield and RRA’s massive misstep on Illinois SB1657, both companies were trying to effect some measure of damage control following the harsh, and deservedly so, backlash – including negative reviews, a social media pounding, and distributors unloading existing SA and RRA inventory at cost until it’s gone with no plans to restock.  Now both companies have issued a second round of statements indicating that they have “severed all ties with the Illinois Firearm Manufacturers Association (IFMA).  And then the story got even weirder…

In earlier statements, the companies claimed that they did not know what activities the Illinois Firearm Manufacturers Association (IFMA) was participating in and expressed shock that the lobbying group had reversed course and pulled their opposition to the bill.  However, as we pointed out in the earlier post, the bulk of IFMA’s funding came from these two companies in the form of recurring payments of $50,000 each per year starting in 2014 and continuing through 2016, with another payment slated for the end of this month if the pattern continued.  In fact, these two entities appear to be the sole source of IMFA’s funding.

Ok, so these companies funneled money into a lobbying organization that was ostensibly looking out for their best interest, but how involved were they really with IFMA operations?  They claim that they didn’t know about the exemption that would protect them while leaving IL gun stores to close their doors and they claim that they didn’t know that IFMA had changed their stance from “oppose” to “no position” after securing that exemption.  Who’s running the IFMA anyway?   

IMFAform990Well, aside from the fact that Rock River and Springfield appear to be footing the entire organizations bill,  a page from IFMA’s Form 990-EZ that is now circulating the net shows some pretty familiar names.  One name is lobbyist Jay Keller, listed as IFMA’s Executive Director.  Three other names are shown under the form’s List of Officers, Directors, Trustees, and Key Employees:  Dennis Reese, director; Tom Reese, director; and Chuck Larson, director.

That would be Chuck Larson, as in the Rock River Arms President/Owner whose name appears at the bottom of Rock River’s “We had no idea!” letter.  And the others would be Reeses, as in the Reese family who owns Springfield Armory – the same Reese family whose name is on Springfield’s own “Gosh, we’re as surprised as you are!” letter.  Since they appear to be the sole source of funding and are listed as the key players in the group, it might be safe to say that they were, or at least should have been, privy to what IFMA was doing.

But it doesn’t get any better from there.  While we thought that it was strange when we found that IFMA was contributing thousands of dollars to Illinois Democratic senator Michael Hastings, who supported SB1657 in its original form, the folks over at TTAG seem to have dug up even more damning contributions to IL pols with much worse track records when it comes to the Second Amendment.

Those contributions include, in 2012, $10,000 to [NRA-PVF F rated] John Cullerton, $1,000 to the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund, $50,000 to Keller’s company which also donated to Cullerton.  The following year’s contributions included $5,000 Friends of [NRA-PVF D- rated] Kwame Raoul, another $10,000 for gun control proponent Cullerton, and $2,500 for Citizens for [NRA-PVF F rated] Antonio Munoz.  Further, according to TTAG, some of those political donations may have been (criminally) incorrectly reported or not reported at all to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Now that the bizarre dealings of the questionable IFMA are coming to light in the wake of SB1657’s passage through the IL Senate, both Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory have released new statements that, after reviewing the situation, they are cutting all ties with the organization which is, surprise!… funded and controlled pretty much exclusively by Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory.

Springfield Armory’s NEW statement:

The Executive Director of the Illinois Firearm Manufacturers Association (IFMA) acted without our prior knowledge and against our principles and those of the industry as a whole with respect to the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. We no longer have confidence in IFMA and after speaking to other directors we have made the decision to sever all ties with the organization, effective immediately.

I take full responsibility for my failure of oversight in this case and deeply apologize to my employees, customers and industry partners for the distraction and divisiveness this situation has caused within our tight-knit community. Our industry has always stood strong and fought fiercely together in the past and I am personally committed to defeating this harmful legislation. To that end, I have pledged to the NRA that we will bring the full resources of my company to bear in this fight.

We are not new to this battle, Springfield Armory has fought and defeated legislation like this in Illinois for decades. We are wholeheartedly against this bill and will fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the NRA, National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Illinois State Rifle Association and others to see it defeated as the unnecessary and harmful overreach that it is.

We want to assure all Americans, like us, who fight to protect the Second Amendment that we and our industry partners will leave no stone unturned to defeat this bill.

Stefany Reese, PR & Communications Manager
Springfield Armory, Inc.

Rock River Arms’s NEW statement:

After further review, Rock River Arms, Inc.® (RRA) is immediately severing all ties with the Illinois Firearms Manufacturers Association (IFMA). We feel that IFMA’s integrity is compromised and we will not be a part of the organization. We trusted that contributions and resources provided to IFMA by RRA were being used to promote and uphold our 2nd Amendment values. IFMA’s actions have destroyed that trust.

For more than twenty years, RRA has actively opposed gun control legislation at the local, state, and federal levels. We have supported and provided monetary and product donations to multiple pro-gun organizations including NRA, NSSF, ISRA and countless others. We have attended rallies and spoken at educational events on behalf of gun owners’ rights. Our employees have collected signatures, written letters and e-mails, called legislators’ offices, as well as attended events, meetings and hearings in Springfield, Illinois.

What we learned, however, was that we are better at manufacturing firearms and accessories than playing political games at the state capitol. So, we began to utilize the services of lobbyists, first through other organizations and then in 2009, we partnered with several other manufacturers to form IFMA.

Prior to our further review, we believed that the organization had accurately represented us. We feel that IFMA’s actions have compromised its integrity. While their actions may be standard practices at the capitol, backdoor politics and convoluted deal-making are counter to the way we do business and lead our lives.

I sincerely apologize for my lack of direct engagement in IFMA’s governance and subsequent actions, as well as the abandonment gun owners are feeling.

If you have any questions regarding, or need more information about, this statement or RRA’s position, please contact: Sarah Larson, RRA General Manager at 309-792-5780.

Thank you,
Chuck Larson
Rock River Arms, Inc.

As before, feel free to discuss the situation below in the comments section and over on the GunLink Forums.

8 Responses to Springfield Armory, Rock River Arms Still Aiming for Damage Control After Gun Control Bill Exposure

  • Mark says:

    I’ll wait to here the final outcome.. I will not spend another dime with either til the truth comes out..

  • James Skeltom says:

    I find the fact that the directors of IMFA are the same people who own both companies, seriously dillutes the credibility of the withdrawal letters. Either they are incompetent or are trying to lie. It makes me very sad because I held both in high regard and own Springfield products myself.

  • John says:

    Sounds like they “trusted” one person to run the company and that person acted on their own. That is if everyone from both companies are speaking accurately.
    One would assume that “all ties” means that they are giving up their board seats also.

    Wait and see……hmmmmm

  • jerry smith says:

    Looks to me like these two companies are going on my “Never Another Dollar List”. I would be more likely to forgive them if they just fessed up like men (now that they have been caught), But they are still trying to lie their way out of the mess that they made like scared little boys. The truth will out. To Larson and the Reese’s I say “Fool me once shame on you”, I won’t be fooled again.

  • Marvin says:

    Iowa is just across the river, Illinois, like California, are run by Democratic. Pull out and go to a state that appreciate your business. Sooner or later they will run out of people and business to tax, and be left with those with their hands out.

  • Annie lewis says:

    They are still trying to lie their way out of the mess that they made like scared little boys. Waiting to the final outcome

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