When they screwed up, they’d take responsibility, admit their mistakes, ask for their customers’ forgiveness and forbearance and then move forward.

Rock River Arms and their neighbor Springfield Armory have been embroiled in an ongoing controversy of their own making ever since it was learned they donated tens of thousands of dollars — either knowingly or unknowingly — to anti-gun Illinois politicians. They’d hoped the pols would carve them out of a horrible anti-gun bill, SB-1657 which, among other bad things, would require Illinois gun dealers to be licensed by the state.

The two firms’ shenanigans were outed by The Truth About Guns.

The way Springfield Armory responded to the PR crisis was, until now, the worst I’ve ever seen. But Rock River Arms’ response just set a much, much lower bar.

Our good friend Mark Walters, host of Armed American Radio, had Rock River Arms general manager Sarah Larson on his Sunday “Monster Show.”  (Here’s a link to the podcast.)

I had high hopes for her and Rock River Arms. I really hoped she’d do the right thing.

At the very minimum, I hoped she’d admit her firm made a mistake.

Boy, was I wrong.

Larson first said Rock River Arms had broken ties with the Illinois Firearms Manufacturing Association — which is only a four member board. Rock River Arms had one seat. Springfield  Armory had two, and their now-fired lobbyist held the fourth IFMA directorship.

This was a bit disingenuous because, basically, both companies were distancing themselves from themselves.

And then the attack began.

Larson took after the good folks at The Truth About Guns, which she referred to as an “activist website.”

“This boils down to a small, so-called gun-rights activist website that took the majority of things out of context, to make it sound like Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory were IFMA,” she said. “We did not have control over all actions. IFMA acted autonomously on our behalf.”

Small, so-called gun-rights activist website?  Could that be Guns Save Life?  TTAG isn't really a gun rights activist website, and it's certainly not small.

But she's not done sounding like she's reading her scripted comments.

“I can’t get into all the details of the politics, as this is still a very real threat,” she told Mark. “Now, we are left with partial truth and fake news driving wedges between the different parts of our firearms community.”

You can't get into the details because they are classified super duper top secret, right?

…“Now, we are all working against one another,” Larson said. “How can one call themselves a Second Amendment activist when all they do is take things out of context, present half-truths and, seemingly and purposefully, create conflict within the firearms community.”

Everything I wrote was substantiated with public documents.

Larson said she was perplexed by the “bandwagon” jumpers, as her firm had no history of bad acts.

Gee, are you old enough to remember what happened to S&W during the Clinton Administration?

“We’ve never done anything like this before, and we certainly didn’t intend to do it now,” she said. “We weren’t involved with the decisions being made, and we learned about it when everyone else did.”

Yep.  Someone at IFMA wrote those campaign contribution checks.  Chuck Larson was the treasurer of IFMA.  Are you saying he never wrote the checks or looked at the ledger?  

Larson said the firearms community must “stay unified and continue to fight for our gun rights.”

She's absolutely right.  We self-police when one or more of our members sells us out for a carve-out to save themselves.

And then she fired her final salvo: “We cannot allow a small group of Second Amendment activists to continue to drive wedges and spread fake news among our firearms community.”

I believe Sarah Larson is Chuck Larson's daughter.  Irrespective of her relationship to the owner, she's in over her head.  She's utterly incompetent (let me spell that again:  i-n-c-o-m-p-e-t-e-n-t) at crisis management.  Mr. Larson: this isn't the time for your daughter (or wife) to gain on the job training remediating a total crisis.

Here's a big, fat link for you and your friend at Springfield: 

Crisis Communications PR: Who are the Top American Crisis Public Relations Firm