Should Camping World sell semi-automatic weapons?

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First, no matter what your feelings about firearms — please understand that this story is not pro- or anti-gun. So please keep your comments civil. Those that are not will be deleted immediately. Thank you.

By Chuck Woodbury
Last week, like many of you, I was horrified to learn of the terrible massacre on innocent people in New Zealand. The horrible crime was committed by a mentally ill man who used two semi-automatic weapons to mow down and kill 50 Muslims and wound dozens more who were praying in two Christchurch mosques.

I have spent time in New Zealand, I loved the people, and so perhaps feel a little more pain than others who have never visited.

Later that day, I picked up a week’s worth of mail, which included the 2019 Camping World Master catalog. As you may know, Camping World is owned by Good Sam Enterprises, which also owns the Good Sam Club. Even though I do not shop at Camping World, I enjoy paging through its catalogue to get ideas about what I might need for my RV.

A little background before proceeding
Good Sam Enterprises, which includes Camping World and the Good Sam Club, is run by CEO Marcus Lemonis, who I admit I do not admire. To me, he’s all about making money for himself, with little regard to the ethics of how he makes it.

Lemonis built Camping World on the mailing list of the Good Sam Club. If it were not for those members he would never have come to dominate the RV retail industry. He used you and me to build his business — “marketing tools” he once called us.

As he was building Camping World into a retailing giant — it now sells one out of five RVs in America — the Good Sam Club was marginalized to where it’s become little more than a Camping World discount club.

But what really struck me this time as I read the Camping World catalogue came on pages 212 and 213, where I was surprised to see semi-automatic weapons for sale. In addition, eight handguns and three SIG devices were offered, the latter of which serve, among other things, as silencers.

This is Marcus Lemonis at work. I fully respect that he can sell whatever he wants at Camping World or his other stores (as long they are legal), including at his Gander Outdoors, where the firearms in the catalog are actually sold. But I do not believe that the business of the Good Sam Club, as many of us perceive it, should have anything, even remotely, to do with the selling of semi-automatic weapons. Recently, even Walmart stopped them.

My point here is not to discuss the pros and cons of guns or the right to bear arms, but to simply state that as a member of the Good Sam Club, I find it wrong that my membership is in any way supporting the sale of firearms. There are plenty of sporting goods stores and gun shops to do that. Good Sam via Marcus Lemonis, I believe, does not need to get into that business.

Again, your respectful, intelligent comments are invited. But no angry, hothead, name-calling stuff, please. But first, please take this brief survey. Do you agree or disagree with what I have written?

 

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Marty
Marty

We aren’t members of Good Sam and we don’t shop at Camping World but if they chose to sell firearms I don’t have a problem with it. There are over 22,000 laws (federal, state, county & city) regulating the sale, possession & use firearms and ammunition in this country. If Camping World wants to join that paperwork nightmare, more power to them.

Mitchell
Mitchell

as a member of the Good Sam Club, I find it wrong that my membership is in any way supporting the sale of firearms.

Simple: cancel your membership

Mark C McCabe
Mark C McCabe

This week alone, the 5,000,000+ NRA members shot nobody. Many of these members enjoy RV’ing in addition to firearm sportsmanship and personal protection activities. My opinion is that if you do not like firearms or would like to repeal the second amendment (and possibly the first), simply ignore the catalog pages that show pictures of the guns for sale and concentrate on the remainder of the catalog. We all have the right to disregard and not participate in any activity we choose to. We do not have the right to prohibit others from selling legal products, or to prohibit customers… Read more »

Kevin in MN
Kevin in MN

You have perfectly framed all the reasons I support women’s right to safe, sanctioned abortion and family planning services. Those who don’t want one need not have one but others have no right to infringe upon a women’s decision about her body.

Rick
Rick

Kevin, This is a discussion about weapons. It is not yours to hijack for your personal opinions about something that is not related at all. BUT, since you brought it up I believe if you could ask the baby that is being MURDERED they would prefer to live.

Marty
Marty

Kevin, using your logic, if those innocent worshipers at the mosque didn’t want to be shot, they shouldn’t have attended their place of worship. Just like if an innocent baby didn’t want to be aborted the baby shouldn’t have chosen to be conceived. Think about it. Neither one of these arguments makes sense. Abortion is the taking of an innocent life.

Daniel
Daniel

Chuck, As much as you dislike Markus, I don’t understand why you are still a member of the Good Sam Club. Being a member you are condoning his business practice. I could care less what he sells or advertises in his magazine.

Dawn McCarthy
Dawn McCarthy

I would like to point out that the individual involved in the New Zealand Mosque massacre is in fact not insane. He is a terrorist with ties to neo Nazi and white supremacist movements. This was a well planned and orchestrated terrorist attack. To say he was crazy somehow lessens his culpability.

Tom
Tom

I come from a family of hunters and I firmly believe in the right to own guns. But that right, like ALL rights should be tempered by common sense. Not EVERYONE should have the right to own EVERY gun. But that isn’t even the question here. The question is whether Camping World can advertise guns? Clearly, they are entitled to do so. If they want to advertise sex toys, they can do that too! But customers are also entitled to express their dissatisfaction.

Mike C
Mike C

As camping and outdoor activities such as hunting go hand in hand I see the rationale to do so. If anyone has problems with it then they should not buy these items and the owners may re-evaluate the feasibility and profitability of these items. I do not like people limiting my choice and forcing their beliefs on me. I understand they may a differing opinion but that is the beauty of our country- we can disagree but remain friends.

Michael S
Michael S

Respectfully, you are a “member” of the Good Sam Club, not an owner or partner in the business.

You never explain why you believe “I do not believe that the business of the Good Sam Club, as many of us perceive it, should have anything, even remotely, to do with the selling of semi-automatic weapons.”

Why? They are legal. So, a business is selling a legal product to make money. Why shouldn’t they advertise them?

Please put that in your next newsletter.

Michael Dees
Michael Dees

Well as a life time NRA member, I understand the “enthusiastic” and predictable defense of firearms in a forum like this comprised of many older and traditional folks like myself. I also understand how someone opposed to semi-auto firearms AND with a very strong (and justified) enmity to CW would find the combination due to the assumption of their irresponsibly alarming. In any case, I have to support their right although I personally would not do bussiness with them

Lino
Lino

Let up guys….. Its an article of Q’s and A’s. Food for thought!

Bill Harvey
Bill Harvey

Chuck,
I’m not a Camping World fan either. My wife and I have been camping for over 30 years and still love it.
I’m also a proud member of the NRA, and support the right of any honest citizen to own and carry arms, as we do when we travel.
Bill Harvey

Captn John
Captn John

Chuck’s dislike of ML is really off the chart. I’m not a fan either but give him credit for being business minded. I’ve read nearly every comment here and find many are made by ill informed or those unable to comprehend. NO automatic guns are sold or legally held in this country without a very difficult to receive permit. Silencers fall under the same laws. I have a concealed carry permit valid in 36 states. I refrain from visiting the liberal enclaves where I’m not welcome as able to protect myself and family. I’ll even feel obligated to protect those… Read more »

TJ Ferrell
TJ Ferrell

I don’t like it when people say someone doesn’t “need” something; it’s not your place to say what someone needs or doesn’t need. No one is forcing you to purchase a firearm.

hkhailey
hkhailey

I had an incident where, If I had not been armed and trained, My wife and I would have had to face dire consequences from several drunken individuals. I just thank God that I didn’t have to actually pull the trigger. I don’t miss and it would have been a lot of paperwork.

alvin.e
alvin.e

Geeee, a lot of folks are “fired up” about this gun sales article. I for one, can’t thank Mr. Lemonis enough for making it finally clear to me that a semi-automatic weapon belongs in any RV. Just like a refrigerator, a recliner and a crapper. Only the combination of a March 22, 2019 article titled “The RoVing Naturalist” ( https://www.rvtravel.com/the-roving-naturalist-oh-rats/ ) and this CampingWorld Gun article made this crystal clear to me. Just like many other RVer’s, we’ve been fighting a loosing battle against mice, rats, squirrels, ants and other “intruders”. “Chemical weapons” were not always successful to fully eradicate… Read more »

Richard
Richard

You say that you don’t like Marcus Lemonis Yet you look thru the Camping World catalog. I’m sure you are picking and choosing what you like in the catalog. I don’t know why you should single out guns. You relate it to the shooting incident in New Zealand and do mention the the man was mentally ill. What does that have to do with us sane gun owners that like guns. Maybe we like looking at them in the catalog.

Freddy

I was a little shocked to see your opinion. It appears to be anti-gun but if you say it isn’t, so be it. As an avid gun collector, I like seeing advertisements about all types of guns anywhere I can. It seems appropriate to see them in any catalogue regarding outdoorsy stuff, like camping. I say don’t look at the pagers that contain items you have no interest in. I don’t look at items that don’t intertest me and don’t complain about them being there either.

Bob
Bob

Gander Outdoors and Overtons are advertising in Camping World. You don’t buy these firearms from Camping World. I go to CW to look around. I buy from Amazon. PLEASE DON’T CALL A RIFLE, SHOTGUN OR HANDGUN A “WEAPON”. Weapons are for killing people. If you want to kill people join the military.

Solar Steve
Solar Steve

Guns are the one thing designed to kill otherwise healthy living beings. They are destructive, even as a defense they do more harm than that which they defend against. Why are guns legal when other harms, like bomb materials are not?

jane shure
jane shure

What part of shall not be infringed do you not understand???

mikeeusa
mikeeusa

apparently you have never been raped and wished there was some way to stop it.

Daniel
Daniel

Bomb Materials are legal, it is what you intend on doing with the materials that is not.

Mitchell R Hawks
Mitchell R Hawks

You forgot abortions, one thing designed solely for the purpose of ending the life of a human being

Patti Lounsbury
Patti Lounsbury

I agree with you, Chuck and I also want to add, for those who don’t seem to get it, that what you wrote was an editorial. An opinion, with a request for responses that would also be opinions. That’s all kinda part of that Freedom of Speech thing, you know? Unfortunately it seems that many of those folks who disagree seem to get kind of aggressive at the very idea that someone could have an opinion different than their own. Me? Well, I don’t hunt or own guns but am okay with those who legally do either. However, I don’t… Read more »

Ed D.
Ed D.

You say that you are an advocate of free speech and then go on to say that you don’t wish to see guns in a CW catalog. It appears that you really do NOT believe in free speech, unless it is your own.

Edward Price
Edward Price

You spend a lot of your time complaining about the intrusiveness of government into your camping and RV hobby, yet you call for “censorship by extended association.” So I’ll ask you this; YOU are making this day’s bread promulgating a proposition that I have no desire to support. Thus, should I express myself by withdrawing my support from your publication?

Ralph Pnney
Ralph Pnney

Hi Chuck, I’m wondering if you have ever spent time in the shooting sports, at least to the extent that would give you a basic understanding. I invite you to do so much f you have not to gain a better perspective. We have a people/mental health problem today, not a weapons problem. I’d venture to say only responsible, law abiding citizens and not criminals that would be purchasing through Gander Outdoors. These are not the people you need to be concerned with. If it ever turns out our paths cross, I would be happy to treat you to some… Read more »

Michael Wayne Priest
Michael Wayne Priest

Chuck has gone silent!

Glenn Fidler
Glenn Fidler

I don’t like Camping World, but the more places that sell guns in America the better, where there are guns there is less crime and where there are Gun Free Zones there is crime and killing. stop gun free zones , all mentally capable people should own a gun.

David Kiefer
David Kiefer

You gotta be kidding !!!!

mikeeusa
mikeeusa

so which part of Glenn’s post strikes you as funny? go do a little research and you will see that he is right.

Steve Lawrence
Steve Lawrence

I believe the same as others stated; If you don’t like their business practices, shop elsewhere. I had that option when purchasing my RV last year. I saw through their deception and went to another dealer and was treated the way I wanted to be treated. That is how “we” can deal with businesses we do or don’t respect. I purchase my firearms the same way. I make my decision on what to purchase and then I find a dealer that provides the services I want. If a dealer goes out of business because the majority of consumers shop elsewhere,… Read more »

John & Mercedes

IMHO…Marcus Lemmons is a rat and a master manipulator! The name of this article should have been “How far will Marcus Lemmons go to save Camping World” This to me is so transparent and easy to see! You have to think like a rat…Marcus Lemmons needs to bring back those he told not to shop at his stores. I personally think that most will see right thru his latest con-job and it won’t work! I’m buying my weapons somewhere else 🙂

Zippo
Zippo

Why don’t you go camping down around the Texas, New Mexico, Arizona borders you might get two for one. Get your RV jacked and get shot. When the SHTF you will pay double to be parked next to a member of Family Trailer Trash Association.

t

RV Staff

Hey, Zippo. You asked last night to be “digitally removed.” I assumed you meant from our mailing list for newsletters. I couldn’t find you on our list of contacts, and explained how you can easily Unsubscribe. So, why are you still submitting comments if you don’t even want to receive our newsletters? (Unless I misunderstood your comment to “digitally remove” you, in which case I apologize.) —Diane at RVtravel.com

Zippo
Zippo

Please digitally remove me also. This country had something happen Friday that proved it was a total waste of time, energy and was mentally exhausting.

RV Staff

I tried to “digitally remove” you, Zippo, but I can’t find you in our contacts. You can go to the bottom of the email notification you received for the newsletter and click on the Unsubscribe option. If that wasn’t what you were requesting, please let us know. (I couldn’t figure out what else you were talking about.) —Diane at RVtravel.com

Magee
Magee

What happened Friday that so affected you?

Kerry
Kerry

True it is camping world and not hunting world. And for a select few camping and hunting go hand-in-hand. But for the most part I think people that camp or go rving, hunting is not a part of that perceived lifestyle. I have read that some rvers do keep loaded weapons in their RVs for protection.
so generally speaking, rvers maybe more likely to have weapons then a lot of us realize.
Personally I know that the owner of camping world is guilty of a lot of bad business practices and I hope that he gets what he deserves.

Ralph Pinney
Ralph Pinney

Hi Kerry,
I agree that Marcus is a low life. The kind of person that makes you count your fingers after shaking hands.
The use of firearms goes way beyond hunting. As a full time RV’r my chance of a hunting opportunity are pretty slim. However, in nearly any medium to large city we stay near will provide multiple opportunities to practice and possibly engage in competitive shooting.
Cheers

TIM
TIM

If you sit around the campfire at my Good Sam Chapter campout, probably 30% to 50% of the chapter members will be armed. Many RVers in any campground are armed, you just didn’t know it before now.

If that scares you, then you probably should sell your RV and lock yourself in your home.

Magee
Magee

This is absolutely true.

TIM
TIM

It seems that the editor of this newsletter has taken his genuine concern about a company’s practices and crossed over to where it has become a vendetta. The basic rule of capitalism says that a corporation should, and in fact must by law do that which provides maximum profits for the shareholders. If that means selling screwdrivers, hammers, widgets, or firearms, then that is what the management should sell.

If Camping World (Good Sam Enterprises) fails, the Good Sam Club will likely go down with them, I would hate to see that happen.

Angela Krause
Angela Krause

So if Camping World wanted to legally sell OxyContin, it should because that would provide maximum profit for the shareholders? That argument makes no sense. When does common sense or morality enter the equation? Just because men can do something, doesn’t mean they should. Greed will be the downfall of this society.

Freddy

Are you seriously implying that because I am an avid gun collector as my father and grandfather were, that we are immoral and have little or no common sense? I beg to differ.

Claud
Claud

Mr. Woodbury,

I know you wrote, “…please understand that this story is not pro- or anti-gun” But it seems a large percentage of those commenting interpret what you wrote as anti-gun

It’s not just those that disagree with you either. Many who agree with you seem to think you support their anti-gun views.

When an editorial draws praise from one side and condemnation from the other, maybe it’s not nearly as neutral as the writer intended.

michael suchinski
michael suchinski

its not up to me to say who can sell guns and who cant. if you dont like it, dont be a member of sams club and stop buying at camping world.

Dennis WILCOX
Dennis WILCOX

Mr. Woodbury, I disagree with what you have written, and have no problem with Camping World having listed a sampling of semi-automatic firearms in their catalog. Marcus Lemonis, the CEO, RUNS these businesses. He RUNS these business to make money. As long as he is doing this within the bounds of the law, then more power to him. This is free enterprise at work. He has taken advantage of a medium available at little or no cost. His intent is to draw customers from one business who have a cross interest in another one. This is, from a business standpoint,… Read more »

Seann Fox
Seann Fox

Well check taking your logic to the next step are they going to start banning alcohol how many people are killed by drunk drivers cirrhosis of the liver and other serious diseases like that from drinking so is that the next thing on the agenda is to who he drove drunk and killed five people we better been booze

Solar Steve
Solar Steve

Neither alcohol or cars are designed to kill people, in fact there are great efforts to make them safer. Guns are designed and intended to kill.

jane shure
jane shure

You are forgetting guns saves between 500000 to 2 million lives a year.

Keyman
Keyman

Where do you get those stats? We have the highest rate of gun related deaths in the world. Stat.( Except for war zones.)

Claud Addicott
Claud Addicott

Where do you get you stats, Keyman?

The U.S. isn’t even in the top ten:
https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-highest-rates-of-firearm-related-deaths.html

mikee714
mikee714

Hypocrisy I believe; You kept stating that your post was neight pro nor anti gun yet you couldn’t resist inserting your personal belief as to where guns should and should not be sold. I truly despise Lemonis for what he and his henchmen (women) have done to the Good Sam Club, BUT it is his company and his company does include Gander Outdoors and they are an outdoors store and I don’t blame him for getting the most exposure out for a company he owns, case in point is Camping World itself. If just the mere thought of someone wanting… Read more »

Thomas Leahy
Thomas Leahy

Sounds like we are finding you to be a real snowflake. Not what I expected. If more evidence appears I’ll unsubscribe. Suspect many thousands more will accompany me.

Mary Krager
Mary Krager

Against Free Speech, Leahy? Someone who is against Joe Blow having a gun is NOT a “snowflake”.

Claud Addicott
Claud Addicott

Against Free Speech, Mary?

Chuck expressed his opinion, and Thomas expressed his opinion of that opinion. Sounds like free speech to me.

Richard Hubert
Richard Hubert

Chuck I agree with what you have written. But as others noted you ask 2 different questions – one on the last line of your article, and then another, totally different question in your survey immediately below it. You can understand the confusion. As for gun advertisements in Camping World sales flyers I find it a bit odd as am not, as I am not sure that RVers are the best target audience for those items. Each state has their own requirements for gun ownership, and it is much harder for traveling RVers to own and transport firearms – since… Read more »

marc duggins
marc duggins

Marcus owns it and makes his business decisions. You are free to take your business elsewhere if you dont like his business decisions. If enough customers do the same, he’ll make adjustments.
Your politics are obviously not his, or mine for that matter.

Bill
Bill

You ended the essay with the question: Do you agree or disagree with what I have written? I quickly clicked on “I have no problem with it at all” Then I noticed you changed the question in the actual survey. Fortunately you have a way for us to change our answer. I changed to “I don’t like it” This is something for you to consider in future polls to minimize the chance you might inadvertently skew the results. (political pollsters are good at that.) Now, where can I get those “see thru undies” for my wife? 🙂

Dennis Jones
Dennis Jones

Don’t fall for anti-2nd amendment BS. Stay with your excellent RV coverage

Michael
Michael

If you don’t want to buy one, move along. No harm or foul! You, anti-gun folks, want to get your britches in a wrinkle at everything. It is my rite given to me by the people that created this great country. And for the very same reason, that people like you want to push your ideas onto everyone else. Just like the King of Britain did to us way back then. Move along, little doggie. Nothing to see here!

Michael Wayne Priest
Michael Wayne Priest

Thats your opinion and you own it,chuck! My opinion of you has gone down the tubes! Should not have made a stance against our 2nd ammendment! I will not subscribe to your newsletter after 10yrs of doing so. MAGA!

Dennis H Gregory
Dennis H Gregory

So, don’t shop there. Problems related to gun ownership are virtually never associated with “responsible” gun ownership. Go back and apply that word “responsible”, to every instance of a gun-related tragedy and you will find that an individual was not being so, in some manner; mentally disturbed, no trigger locks or gun safe, terrorist, etc. We will never hear about the thousands of lives saved every day by responsible gun ownership, because those stories don’t sell newspapers or compel you to watch TV. If you think taking guns away from “responsible” gun enthusiasts will keep them out of the hands… Read more »

Evans Givan
Evans Givan

I certainly respect your right to your opinion. But I don’t subscribe to this newsletter about RV’s to hear or read your snowflake attitude about other subjects. So, go ahead and remove me, too.

Steve
Steve

I think everyone needs to keep in mind that Good Sam inc. recently bought Gander Mountain which you now see as Gander Outdoors, which was and is a full spectrum sporting goods store that sells guns. To me this is just a way to expand the reach for the sporting goods store. If you don’t like it, don’t look or go else where. Where as I have bought at Comping World, to me this is just expanding the ability of CW to provide a full range of products to a broad spectrum of customers. There are many campers who are… Read more »

Magee
Magee

Absolutely – Gander Mountain is, among other things, a hunters store. Although I am not sure why Good Sam would have bought it, that’s beside the point. Gander Mountain ads now relate to Good Sam and vice versa. I would posit that probably 85-90% of RVers are armed, just that some of them do not advertise that fact.

DENNIS J CHARPENTIER
DENNIS J CHARPENTIER

I never like being used by a business in a way my providing of information never intended.

James
James

I have been Shooting Semi Automatic weapons since I was 10 yrs old. I have taking safety lessons and have permitt to carry. If are appalled by people that enjoy a sport, and chose to protect themselves and their love ones, than you can call me what you like. But will never call me a unprepared victim. Futhermore name calling instead of posting a legitimate rebuttal says volume about your character.

Hapily Retired

Since when is it wrong to make a business decision that could result in increased funds? Isn’t that the purpose of any business ? CEO of Camping world is attempting to increase business by selling a legal item. Many of the items they sell, I feel, are not needed. What if they should attempt to sell Bibles of Korans should I be offended ?

Photocon
Photocon

Maybe they should change the name to “Yosemite Sam” like the cartoon character who always carried two six-shooters in his hands.

Don France
Don France

I agree with the point to ban assault & military grade semi-automatic weapons, period! There are (just like in Australia & NZ) exceptions, but they are precisely and clearly defined so as not to hobble specific cases that help deal with specific problems.

Jim
Jim

Can you please explain what ” assault & military grade semi-automatic weapons” are?

Steve
Steve

Please explain your definition of military grade semi automatic weapons – You look at the weapon and based on how it looks, it’s bad – right? Based on your philosophy we should ban sports cars because they kill more people because of the speed they go.

Bad people do bad things – regardless of the tool!

MikeJ
MikeJ

I use my AR-15 to hunt varmints. I want a fast shooting firearm so I don’t let a wounded critter get away. I keep it, and (almost) all of my firearms locked in a safe bolted to a concrete floor. I probably know more about firearms than 90% of the population and for sure more than 99% of the politicians. I don’t need the government telling me what kind of tool to use.

jane shure
jane shure

You do not know the difference between an M 16 and a AR 15. There is a world of difference between the 2. I highly doubt you can define what an assault rifle is.

Magee
Magee

And just what are assault and military grade semi automatic weapons – real description vs your opinion?

MikeJ
MikeJ

Chuck, stick to RV related stuff or you’ll loose half of your readership. Stay out of the politically charged discussions!

Michael D.
Michael D.

I totally agree

Freddy

AGREE