Gun Entrepreneur Dick Cabela

By Katie Kieffer

Cabela's Store

Image credit: “Travels to Cabela’s” by BEV Norton on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Entrepreneur Richard Cabela—the late founder of sporting goods empire Cabela’s—did more than create jobs. He protected our natural, God-given right to bear arms.

Cabela passed away last Monday in his home state of Nebraska at the young age of 77. His story is empowering to entrepreneurs, gun owners and Second Amendment supporters.

As tens of thousands of gun owners in the state of Connecticut commit civil disobedience and refuse to register their semi-automatic firearms, Dick Cabela’s legacy reminds us of the importance to never give up and never stop fighting for what we believe in.

Cabela’s first attempt at advertising hand-tied fishing flies was a flop. Instead of giving up, he adjusted his marketing techniques and launched a mail-order sporting goods catalog. Within three short years, he and his family had more business than they could manage from their kitchen table.

Cabela was a passionate hunter and Second Amendment supporter. When he and his wife weren’t managing their business or raising their (nine!) children, they would travel the world together and he would go on big game hunts. Cabela eventually displayed his family’s trophies—including a rhinoceros, an elephant, and a giraffe—at his home in a 15,000-square-foot showroom.

Thus, as his company grew, he expanded beyond fishing lures: firearms and hunting gear became a huge staple of his business. As of 2013, guns and ammunition account for roughly one fifth of Cabela’s sales according to The Wall Street Journal.

As we remember Cabela’s life and legacy, it’s important to honor two of his biggest accomplishments as an entrepreneur: speaking up in defense of the right to bear arms and building a world-wide empire that helped to place firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens.

Decent, law-abiding citizens have the right to defend their persons and property with the most efficient and modern tools of self-defense available; they should not be bullied by self-righteous lawmakers into trading their firearms for sling-shots or swords. It is just and right for all respectable citizens to have access to self-defense technology that is equal to or greater to the self-defense technology that criminals can obtain on the black market.

Politicians in Connecticut are wrong to expect law-abiding citizens to register their firearms (the government has no business tracking our guns any more than the state has a right to track our hands; our hammers; or our baseball bats). Since the right to self-defense is a natural, inalienable right—all law-abiding citizens should be able to own tools of self-defense without interference from elitist snoops. Violent criminals, however, give up their natural right to self-defense by using force against their fellow men and they should be monitored. Perhaps if the government spent more time tracking criminals and less time tracking law-abiding citizens, we would have less crime!

Connecticut passed stricter gun laws in April of 2013. Liberal politicians defended these regulations on grounds that they would prevent a repeat of the December 14, 2012 tragedy where a mentally unstable young man named Adam Lanza took the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

But we know that these laws will not prevent a repeat of the Newtown tragedy. Even some of the parents of the victims at Newtown have testified to the same. We don’t need more gun laws that criminals like Adam Lanza will disregard. We do need an answer to mental illness, and I’ll explore such solutions in my forthcoming book.

We also need more entrepreneurs like Dick Cabela who will help place tools of self-defense into the hands of honest citizens. Entrepreneurs of the future—who will follow in Cabela’s footsteps—will include 3-D printing innovators and smartphone application developers (think GunBroker.com’s new iPhone app). Like Cabela, these rising entrepreneurs will help respectable citizens obtain the best self-defense technology available so they can protect themselves instead of waiting 20 minutes for the police to show up.

Are you attending CPAC 2014 or do you know someone who will be? Be sure to attend my special book event on Friday, March 7 at 11:30 a.m.! We’ll have free T-shirts (while supplies last) and I’ll sign sneak previews of my forthcoming book! Please RSVP here.


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  1. Lodzia says:

    Nice tribute to Richard Cabela RIP

    He was inspirational in his ability to start this huge
    business from his kitchen. His wife worked with him.
    They moved on to the basement, and then it just
    kept growing! Wow.

    When does your book come out? Looking forward
    to it.

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