In my two most recent posts, I have discussed a presentation and a panel at the United States Concealed Carry Association’s recent Concealed Carry Expo that focused on promoting the participation of women in the firearms community.
The USCCA is certainly not alone in trying to promote women and guns. The National Rifle Association has also been very proactive in promoting women shooters, for example through its own women’s network.
The USCCA and NRA are no different in this respect.
But in another respect – the terms of their incorporation – they are very different. The NRA is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. The USCCA is also an “association,” but it is really a for-profit business owned by Tim Schmidt through his limited liability corporation Delta Defense. The product that it sells is membership in the USCCA.
Like other for-profit and non-profit associations, the USCCA incentivizes membership by offering benefits to members. In the case of the USCCA, the primary benefit is the Self-Defense SHIELD (about which more some other day).
As the USCCA itself publicizes, its current membership is 95% male and just 5% female. So, it has a tremendous material interest in cultivating the women’s market. It could potentially double its 100,000+ membership rolls and hence its revenues.
The idea of an association being a for-profit enterprise might be a turn-off for some. The National Rifle Association, after all, is a non-profit organization that exists to promote gun rights and no one benefits financially by the expansion of NRA membership. The USCCA profits financially by expanding its membership.
And to make matters worse – for some – the USCCA sells its memberships primarily through automated, direct response marketing. You know direct marketing – a.k.a., “junk mail.” Cheesy infomercials on TV at three o’clock in the morning. The annoying emails you get day after day after signing up for a “free report” or newsletter.
I was interested to learn, therefore, that Tim Schmidt, the CEO of Delta Defense LLC, does not downplay this reality of the USCCA’s business model. To the contrary, he embraces it. I know this because I picked up a copy of his autobiography at the CCX.
I will review Schmidt’s autobiography separately, but he makes no bones about the fact that the direct response marketing techniques he learned in Yanik Silver’s Underground Marketing Online seminar were essential to building the USCCA into the successful, and profitable, organization it is today.
Marketing, as Schmidt defines it, is “the art of persuasion for mutual benefit” (Guns, Freedom & The American Dream, p. 113).
Schmidt markets membership in the USCCA, from which Delta Defense LLC benefits financially. But membership in the USCCA comes with benefits that those who pay the membership fee have been persuaded they need or want.
So, why is the USCCA so interested in women? Because it is a large untapped market for its product. But that market also has to be persuaded that it is in their interest to pay for that product. That’s how the American system of free enterprise works, which is an animating spirit of the USCCA and an overriding theme of Schmidt’s autobiography.