NRA: Not Made-in-USA?
A reader recently pointed out on our Facebook wall that some of the membership incentive items the National Rifle Association (NRA) has been giving to its members are not made-in-the-USA (in this specific instance, it was a cap that was made in China). I thought this was really surprising, given the NRA's politics and member base, so I thought I'd look into the issue a little myself.
I wasn't able to find any major press coverage on the NRA's importing habits online, but a simple Google search for "NRA made in China" (with no quotes, so just enter the text) turns up three solid pages of NRA members pointing out Chinese-made items. Besides the imported caps (which appear to all be embroidered with an American flag on the side), there also seems to be an imported knife, replica bullet, flashlight, and eagle award/statue, and that's all on a quick glance on my part.
I'm not trying to make a political point here or otherwise yell "gotcha!" at the NRA from my tiny internet pulpit. Certainly the NRA is entitled to purchase its gift items and budget its funds as it chooses. Plus, I can't really throw stones at an organization for buying overseas when I do the same thing in my life every day (probably for the same reasons too: convenience and budget). I do, however, find the issue of U.S. political groups importing goods fascinating.
Similar to a few months back when a bunch of the Republican presidential candidates were cornered about using imported campaign items, it's amazing to me how a powerful political group with obvious and overt ties to the American working class will buy imported just because "Derp! That's just how it is, there is no American manufacturing anymore a bloo bloo bloo so sad but whatever!" Now, that viewpoint applies more to the politicians quoted in that linked article than the NRA. I have no idea of the latter group's reason for importing, it could be for purely monetary reasons, they could legitimately not care about made-in-the-USA items, whatever. Still, a portion of their members of obviously care given how easy it is to find complaints online, and I'm just genuinely surprised a political organization of the NRA's scale would expose itself to such bad press. I mean, I've never bought a promotional product in my life and have only written for the industry for three years, and it would take me maybe a half-hour to find USA-made items of everything the NRA has been importing.