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SureFire Defends its Political Contributions

Last week, as the gun control-related outcry against Oregon knife manufacturer Benchmade plateaued, unspent fury spread to California firearm accessories manufacturer SureFire.

The original episode began when Benchmade’s role in helping its local Oregon City Police Department cut up firearms was highlighted on the agency’s social media channel. The social media outcry was swift, and it grew as Benchmade’s political contributions were scrutinized.

As people sought to link Benchmade’s actions to its intentions, they arrived at opensecrets.org, a website that tracks federal campaign contributions. The company’s donations to Democratic legislator’s campaigns were seen by detractors as tantamount to supporting gun control efforts. It appears visitors also searched the campaign contributions of other firearm companies, including those of SureFire.

The following statement from the company’s founder and president was posted on Soldier Systems Daily and on SureFire’s social media channels over the weekend in response to those angered by its political contributions:

Dear Customers and Concerned Citizens:

It has been brought to our attention that past political donations from the SureFire Political Action Committee (PAC) have been called in to question along with SureFire’s stance on the Second Amendment. Before we get to the facts we’d like to thank you for your support and we sincerely appreciate your loyalty.

It’s a long read but the details should provide a fuller perspective:

Established in 2010 and disbanded in 2014, the purpose of the SureFire PAC was to gain the support and assistance of our state representatives (both Democrat and Republican) so that we had a chance at (1) obtaining congressional funding to develop sighting technology that would improve the warfighter’s ability to aim crew-served weapons, and (2) to be able to reach out to our representatives when we need assistance doing business in California.

During its existence from 2010 to 2014 the SureFire PAC made donations totaling approximately $10,356 to Democrat representatives and $16,610 to Republican representatives.

It should be noted that we were unsuccessful in obtaining congressional funding for the weapon-sight development project mentioned above, and that all of our product development has been self-funded. But if you are a defense business that hopes to get congressional budget earmarked funding and/or program support for defense-related projects, you typically need to get the attention and support of at least one of your state representatives—or all of them if possible—so they can “represent” your interests during the budget appropriations process.

This is how business is done in the defense industry, by most medium-sized defense manufacturers, and by all of the large ones. And, it’s what we needed to do to achieve our mission of ensuring the safety, success and survival of our customers—whether military, law enforcement, or patriot-citizen.

In 2018 one of our employees donated $500 to the DNC Services Corp, a pro-Democrat organization. This was a personal donation, had nothing to do with SureFire, and despite the fact that we, as a company, are not aligned with his political preferences, we recognize his right to think differently and to vote as he pleases.

SureFire (as an organization) is 2A to the core. I myself am an NRA Lifetime Endowment member; our VP of Suppressors and Weapons is a veteran and world-class competitive shooter; our VP of Sales and Marketing is a veteran and competitive shooter; our VP of Military Sales gave 21 years to his country, 18 of them as an Army Special Operations commando; our graphic designers practice dry-firing and handgun drills in the office; our team-building events usually involve shooting; many of our executives and employees are concealed carry permit holders and carry daily. Most of us worry about how to live our 2A lives without running afoul of so-called “assault rifle” laws, reduced-capacity magazine regulations, and all the other restrictions we deal with as firearms owners, and as a manufacturer of firearms and firearms accessories in California.

We also support organizations such as the National Rifle Association, American Suppressor Association, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, among others, and are proud of our long history of sponsoring USPSA, IDPA, 3-Gun and other shooting sports. Come by our office and you’ll see we share the same values as you do when it comes to the freedom to bear arms.

Our focus is on providing the warfighter, first responder, and armed citizen with the tools they need to win the fight, and we promise to keep making products that support the Second Amendment, the American worker, our economy, our military, and freedom in general.

John Matthews
Founder & President

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