Next week, thousands of gun makers and sellers will descend on Las Vegas for the annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show put on by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the gun industry’s trade association. Open only to exhibitors, bulk purchasers — including wholesalers and dealers — and media outlets that cover guns, the SHOT Show gives gun manufacturers and importers a chance to show off their new products and celebrate the previous year’s successes.
Over 2,600 exhibitors are currently slated to attend the SHOT Show held at the Venetian Expo Center and Caesars Forum. But a closer look at the exhibitor list highlights the gun industry’s push for deadlier weapons.
- Dozens of exhibitors — including Bushmaster, Century Arms, Daniel Defense, Palmetto State Armory, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, and Springfield Armory, among many others — produce and import assault weapons, such as AR-15s and AK-47s, that have been used in the country’s deadliest mass shootings, including the shooting that took place at the Route 91 Harvest music festival just 2 miles down the Strip from the convention in October 2017.
- At least 10 exhibitors manufacture or distribute the components or tools that enable people — including those prohibited from owning firearms — to build untraceable ghost guns. While the number of ghost gun sellers is down from the 27 that had booths at the 2022 SHOT Show, it’s still notable given the dangerous nature of these weapons and the final rule implemented by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to curb ghost guns.
- Several exhibitors, including Dead Foot Arms, FoldAR, Kel-Tec, and Shield Arms, market and sell guns that fold — or parts that allow AR-15s to fold, for example — for easy concealment on one’s person.
- Exhibitors Credova, Gearfire, and Sezzle offer “shoot now, pay later” financing for gun purchases.
- Exhibitors Franklin Armory and FosTech Outdoors manufacture binary triggers, which, when installed in a semi-automatic weapon, allow shooters to fire one shot when they pull the trigger and another shot when they release the trigger — effectively doubling the gun’s rate of fire.
- Exhibitor Tannerite Sports produces and sells exploding targets that can start wildfires and cause injuries.
- Exhibitors XINSURANCE and the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) offer self-defense liability insurance, which has been called “murder insurance.”
Gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America are also listed as exhibitors along with smaller, lesser-known organizations like the National Firearms Act Trade & Collectors Association (NFATCA), which seeks to remove silencers and short-barreled rifles from the registration requirements of the National Firearms Act (NFA) that Congress passed in 1934 to regulate these deadly items, among other initiatives.
There are also some notable absences from this year’s SHOT Show:
- After reports that the U.S. Department of Commerce had helped American gun makers export tens of thousands of semi-automatic weapons to “some of the most violent countries in the world” by easing export restrictions and bringing international buyers to the SHOT Show, the agency pulled out of the convention after reportedly reviewing the “support it provides SHOT Show.”
- SB Tactical, the largest arm brace maker and a past exhibitor, is not attending this year. However, other companies in this space, including Maxim Defense and Gear Head Works, are still exhibiting. Both still offer arm braces as well, despite the ATF’s rule clarifying that easily concealable AR and AK “pistols” with arm braces installed are indeed considered short-barreled rifles, requiring NFA registration.
- While Sig Sauer had attended SHOT for “over 30 years,” in October 2021, the company announced that it would not exhibit at the 2022 SHOT Show because the pandemic posed a “serious health risk” to its employees. However, Sig Sauer did not return to the 2023 show, nor is it scheduled to exhibit at the 2024 show.