Gov. Rick Perry’s opposition to Obama administration policies and his support for the Second Amendment were the primary messages of the Texan’s recent remarks to a National Rifle Association meeting in St. Louis.
But before getting serious, Perry loosened up and cracked a few jokes — a couple about his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination and one that hearkened back to the now nearly legendary day in February 2010 when a jogging Perry shot a coyote that was threatening his dog, as he later told it. That incident prompted gun manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co. to produce a special edition of the .380-caliber pistol that Perry used to take down the animal.
"You know, ever since the campaign ended, the coyotes are a lot more nervous in Texas," Perry joked at the NRA meeting on April 13, 2012. "As a matter of fact, Ruger President Mike Fifer just told me that the Coyote Killer Special is selling so fast that they’ve had to suspend all their orders until they can address their backlogs."
That statement pricked our fact-checking ears. But because it came during the light-hearted portion of Perry’s remarks, we aren’t putting it to the Truth-O-Meter.
Still, what if?
Kevin Reid, general counsel for Ruger, told us that orders for the Coyote Special are temporarily suspended — along with those for all other Ruger products. Reid pointed to a March 21, 2012, press release in which the company announced that the high number of orders placed for Ruger products since the start of the year — more than 1 million — exceeded the company’s "capacity to rapidly" fill them. Therefore, the company said, it "has temporarily suspended the acceptance of new orders."
The release said Ruger expects to start taking orders again by the end of May 2012.
Asked what led to the high number of orders, Reid said the distributors that Ruger supplies hold trade shows during the first few months of the year at which they offer special deals to retailers who are willing to buy packages of guns. Those lead to big orders. And, he said, this year’s trade show season was especially successful.
And what was the impact of the Coyote Special?
Reid told us that Ruger offers hundreds of products and that no single one played a disproportionate role in driving the decision to suspend orders.
Ruger is still making the Coyote Special, which on its top has depictions of a five-pointed star and a coyote howling at the moon. On one side the phrase "Coyote Special" is etched. The other side says "A True Texan."
Reid described the Perry-inspired guns as "very popular." He declined to say how well they’re selling but said the first batch, made soon after news of Perry’s coyote killing, sold out so fast that the company did a second run, in 2011. Currently, Reid said, the number of backlogged orders for the Coyote Special exceeds the number that are in the process of being filled.
Yippie-ki-yay, enough said?
Rick Perry’s campaign website, text of speech to National Rifle Association meeting, April 13, 2012
Rick Perry speech to National Rifle Association meet, video, April 13, 2012
Associated Press, news article, " ‘Wily’ coyote no match for governor's gun," April 27, 2010
Austin American-Statesman, news article, "Gun-maker celebrates governor’s crack shot," May 24, 2010
Interview with Kevin Reid, general counsel, Sturm, Ruger & Co., April 20, 2012
Sturm, Ruger & Co., press release, "Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. reports strong first quarter bookings," March 21, 2012