Thanks to Amber Niblock-Shorter of NRA Field Operations for sharing an exclusive interview she conducted with Jason Evans, Senior Product Manager with Benelli USA. The piece appears in the current issue of Traditions. Read on to learn about Benelli USA's relationship with Friends of NRA, their commitment to the Second Amendment, and what’s on the horizon for their company.
Amber: Can you give me some background on your company and how Benelli’s relationship began with the National Rifle Association?
Jason: Benelli USA is predominantly a shotgun company which Imports/Markets Benelli, Franchi, Stoeger, Uberti, and Stoeger Air. What makes the company unique is the Inertia Driven™ operating system on our semi-automatic shotguns. We offer this high-tech simplicity at three distinctly featured and priced levels in our Benelli, Franchi and Stoeger shotgun lines. Inertia Driven™ actions are the most reliable, simplest to maintain and most durable actions in production; earning the reputation of being named “Simply Perfect.”
From the start, Benelli USA has worked to support the NRA. Our company is very young when compared to some of the industry giants, but we’re very aware of the key role the NRA plays in protecting the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. Benelli USA understands the long term, strategic importance of conservation groups and organizations. With that in mind, Benelli USA’s executive management created an internal structure to support these organizations. Fortunately for us, Laurie Kayser and I were tasked to manage these special accounts – we feel privileged to be a part of their teams and both of us are committed to help support these organizations.
Amber: I would like to know more about what you do at Benelli and why you feel it is important, specifically to your company, that you maintain strong ties with the NRA. Why specifically the Friends of NRA?
Money provides the tools that allow each organization to achieve its stated goals. Friends of NRA is the fundraising program within the NRA organization; its degree of success will directly affect the performance of the overall mission. Our exposure to the rest of the world’s firearms markets have highlighted the importance of the NRA organization; no other countries enjoy the protection of individual ownership right like the USA. A strong relationship with the NRA and The NRA Foundation will allow Benelli USA to do its part in protecting these uniquely American rights.
Amber: How has Benelli grown and continued to grow throughout the years?
All of us at Benelli USA have been very busy, in 09, with the launch and roll out of the Vinci project. Now that the product is well accepted by the market and enjoying robust sales; we can focus on the next launch. Our new MR1 rifle is Benelli’s first rifle for Home defense: a .223 with the A.R.G.O. operating system, based on the “Choice of the Marine Corps” M1014. The new Benelli engineered, ultra-reliable MR1 rifle will be available at dealers this fall.