October 20, 2021
By Mark Chesnut
A Gun Owners of America program designed to identify and help promote firearm industry companies that share the organization’s no-compromise strategy of protecting and restoring the Second Amendment has met with great success in its first year and a half.
Started in January 2020, GOA’s Strategic Partnership Program is a coalition of manufacturers who aim to support the defense and restoration of the Second Amendment through the strengthening of grassroots, according to Kailey Nieman, director of development for the organization.
“The program launched out of a need and desire within our members,” Nieman said in a recent interview with Firearms News. “As new gun owners were on the rise like we’ve never seen before, the amount of forum comments on our website was growing with questions like, ‘What companies do you recommend? Are these companies really supporting my rights, or am I just someone who is buying their product? Am I just a buyer, or are they going to stand with me?’ So, it was really a desire within our membership to see if companies were putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak. We originally launched to help answer that, and it gives our members clarity.”
Nieman said the program is basically designed to engage the firearms community and partner with them in a way that not only allows GOA’s name to increase in recognition, but also allows for a tangible way for manufacturers to encourage and engage with the Second Amendment community. So far, the program has experienced significant growth.
“It’s going really well,” she said. “We have nearly 30 partners currently, and that’s growing every single month. We have had such an amazing response to the program not only through our partners, but also through our activists and the Second Amendment community at large.
“People want to be able to take personal responsibility. It’s the key cornerstone for gun owners everywhere. We understand that we’re responsible for every action that we take when it comes to using our firearms. So. it makes sense that we would take personal responsibility when it comes to working on restoring those rights, protecting those rights and defending those rights.”
In fact, Nieman said the Strategic Partnership Program has become a favorite of many members, who want to spend their money with companies that truly support the cause.
“They respond really well to our program and are excited when we get a new partner,” she said. “From my position as part of the team that helped start the program, to see what it’s become in less than two short years has been really phenomenal. And I think it really strengthens the Second Amendment community at large. Given the opportunity to the Second Amendment community through the program has proven to be highly successful and we’re proud to stand with our partners as they help us advance our no-compromise strategy.”
As a benefit to partners, each company that becomes a partner is listed on the GOA website, along with a click-through link to the company’s website. Partners can also be featured in GOA member emails that go out each month, with 10 to 15 partners featured each quarter.
“We also keep them up to date on everything we are doing—whether it’s a court case or battling something in Congress or at the state level,” Nieman said. “Keeping them in the loop and sharing resources with them helps them see the work that our grassroots army is doing day in and day out.”
At the same time, GOA members greatly benefit by knowing that the industry companies they are doing business with are solidly in support of the right to keep and bear arms, not just out to make a quick buck from gun owners.
While the Covid pandemic has put a damper on some plans for the program, Nieman believes the future looks bright.
“What’s next in our world is not only getting new partners, which we’re always happy to do, but really educating Second Amendment advocates and Second Amendment participants on the fact that where you spend your money matters,” she said. “And who you spend your money with matters. And really showcasing some really wonderful and innovative brands. As more brands join on, I hope that we’ll be able to have more and more in-person events where we can have those brands out to meet our members in person. I look forward to the opportunity for that to happen as we get to start experiencing a hopefully post-Covid world.”
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for more than 20 years.