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Newtown Group Calls On Gun Industry To Market Their Product Appropriately

by Christine Stuart | Jan 13, 2014 1:18pm
(6) Comments | Commenting has expired

NSSF screengrab

While the National Shooting Sports Foundation kicked off its annual trade show in Las Vegas on Monday, the Newtown Action Alliance gathered at NSSF headquarters in Newtown to draw attention to the way the gun industry is marketing its products.

“We’re putting pressure on the NSSF to be a responsible partner in the marketing of their product,” Dave Stowe, vice chairman and co-founder of the Newtown Action Alliance, said Monday after the press event outside the trade organization’s headquarters.

The event in Newtown attended by about 30 people coincided with the release of a report by the Violence Policy Center that details how guns like the Bushmaster XM-15 — which was used by the gunman in the Sandy Hook shooting — are marketed.

Stowe said the gun industry has the right to sell it’s product, but it should support background checks for all gun sales and manufacturers shouldn’t market their products to children.

The report from from the Violence Policy Center says that “to attract customers, Bushmaster uses the slogan ‘Justice for All’ on its catalog cover and images of shooters clad in military-style clothing. Their graphics often contain militaristic and law-enforcement terminology like ‘duty’ and ‘patrol’ and feature phrases such as ‘Control Your Destiny’ and ‘Bravery on Duty’.”

The report goes on to detail the marketing of several other military-style guns the group refers to as “assault weapons.”

A spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation said they “firmly reject the purposeful mischaracterization of our trade association and of the lawful business activities our members conduct.”

Michael Bazinet, a spokesman for NSSF, said one of those mischaracterizations is that “our members do not sell ‘assault weapons’ to the American public. Calling semiautomatic rifles that resemble, but are not military firearms, is purposely misleading and intended to confuse the public.”

The trade show in Las Vegas features more than 1,600 exhibitors and is restricted to “shooting, hunting and outdoor trade; and commercial buyers and sellers of military, law enforcement, and tactical products and services only,” according to its website.

In his statement, Bazinet also pointed to the gun safety programs operated by the NSSF.

Before the 2014 trade show got under way in Las Vegas, “we brought our ongoing Project ChildSafe initiative to the city in a launch that included county officials, law enforcement, and a representative of Sen. Harry Reid’s office,” Bazinet said. “In the last decade, we have distributed more than 36 million gun locks through this program in cooperation with 15,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide.”

The trade organization also runs an anti-straw purchasing education and public awareness program call “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy.”

Stowe said that while those efforts should be applauded there also have been funding cuts to the programs. For example, Project ChildSafe has not received any federal funding since 2008, which means only about 30 percent of the requests for gun safety kits are being met.

Stowe argues that gun manufacturers make enough money to fully fund the program, even without the help of the federal government.

He said like-minded groups will be gathering in Las Vegas to put pressure on the gun trade and lobbying organization to be more careful about how they market their product.

“We all abhor the criminal misuse of firearms,” Bazinet said. “We understand that emotions run strong. But it is important to keep in mind that the Department of Justice and the Pew Research Center have both documented a dramatic 30-year downward trend in the use of firearms in violent crime, even as our nation’s population and the number of guns owned by Americans has risen significantly.”

The Pew Research Center found that about four in 10 Americans live in a home where there is a gun. In May, the center found that 41 percent of adults reported having a gun in their household: 27 percent said they personally owned a gun, and 14 percent said the gun or guns in their home were owned by someone else.

On the other hand, the Violence Policy Center found that the number of Americans who own guns has decreased over the past few decades. They report that from 1977 to 2010, the percentage of American households that reported having any guns in the home dropped more than 40 percent

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(6) Comments

posted by: Joebigjoe | January 13, 2014  3:04pm

Borrowed words:

Mass shootings are a tiny, tiny problem. Which isn’t to say that they aren’t utterly horrifying in more than one way. People’s lives are destroyed, both literally and figuratively. What I mean to say is that if we were to prioritize our political attention to topics according to how many lives were at stake, mass shootings wouldn’t even be on the radar.

Factoring in the rate of death caused by mass shootings from Columbine to the present (about 210 people in 13 years), it will be more than 300 years until we reach the number of casualties that occur from accidental drownings every single year in this country. In a little more than 150 years from now, we’ll approach the number of people who are poisoned to death every single year in this country. Sometime in 2014 we might surpass the number of people struck by lightning every single year in this country.

Which is to say that mass shootings are incredibly rare and don’t kill a lot of people when they do happen.

It is tempting to ask why accidental drowning is not 340 times more important a social issue than gun control. Or why poisoning isn’t 150 times as pressing a political issue. (If the number of people dying is truly what’s important, almost anything would be more pressing.) The problem is not hard to understand though, and rests in a psychological concept known as the “logical fallacy of misleading vividness”.


My words: Like I have said. These anti gun people have psychological issues. No one wants to see people die but they are living in a dangerous fantasy world because if any one of them can say that we as Americas are more free today than we were 20 years ago, they need real therapeutic help and fast.

posted by: sanecitizen | January 13, 2014  3:43pm

Laughably small attendence? Check.

Exploiting Newtown name? Check.

Completely misunderstanding that NSSF does not make or sell any firearms? Check.

All the hallmarks of the willfull ignorance that these groups have come to embody.  On the plus side the amount of responsible CT gun owners is growing rapidly which will mean these radical, fringe protestors will increasingly become marginalized.

posted by: Greg | January 13, 2014  3:43pm

I’m not sure what the NAA/VPC thinks the issue is here.  The marketing cited in the article is mainly towards law enforcement, military, and security; the VPC document stating the obvious in some sort of “gotcha!” manner that doesn’t exist. Tactical-talk in ads directed at young males: Yea, how about all those thousands of young, male military vets coming home that still have an interest in shooting as a sport and want rifles similar to the ones they carried in service…who are, by the way, very anti-gun control. 

I fail to see any indication of where the industry markets to children; perhaps the NAA could be taken seriously if they had more substance in their claims than sheer and unsubstantiated conjecture.

The only reason the group gets press is because it has “Newtown” in the name, not because of their sound basis for advocating policy as could be argued for other gun control groups.  They play on the emotive aspects of guns; posting hysterical headlines on their FB page when actual reporting hasn’t even figured out the issue.  The lady in DC that led police on a chase and was shot near the Capital- Instantly on the FB page as a “Mass shooting” incident until called out in the comments it was the police shooting the woman.  The DC Navy Yard shooter- Allegedly had an AR-15 the second the shooting was reported per the NAA on their FB page until called out in the comments that it was a shotgun and guns lifted from security.  Making things up publicaly is hardly the hallmark of a credible public policy organization, and the NAA has shown they can’t advocate on reason; they can only do it on emotion and guilt.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | January 13, 2014  7:05pm

What is interesting to me is that since Obama and his gun grabbing administration has been in office, the only industry that has been thriving is the firearms industry. Every time these groups give the impression of disarming the citizenry, they give free marketing that the NSSF could never even come close to.

Gun control is a loser and the democrats know that. Just look at Senators Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer asking former NYC mayor Bloomberg and his anti-gun group from going after democratic legislators who did not vote for the back ground check.

We are having babies aborted in this country that makes the holocaust look like a walk in the park. Where is the outrage there Newtown Action Alliance?

posted by: Joebigjoe | January 14, 2014  9:32am

Chien, I’m one of those people that is “accepting” of abortion in the first trimester long before viability but you are right. Isnt it amazing that you cant have 11 bullets in a magazine here in CT but you can have an abortion for convenience after the first trimester? Me having 11 bullets is not going to take a life or impact society and who we are. Its not even on the fringe of having the serious discussion of defining life but thats so much more important for sickos to put regulations on that extra bullet than on abortions that should have been dealt with very early.

posted by: dano860 | January 14, 2014  9:49am

Why don’t they advocate for the mentally ill. How about de-stigmatizing the issues surrounding their situations. They by far the larger part of this firearm issue that is affecting almost everyone except the ones causing these problems.
Schools are very safe as they are today. Creating a fortress of glass and brick is an enormous expense for very little outcome. Like airplanes are the safest form of travel, schools are a safest place for children. Hospitals report increases in broken bones, cars Vs kids, cuts and bruises when they are on vacation or a day off.
I believe they attacking the wrong end of the problem.
If a sick person is intent on destroying anything they will select the tool that they feel will provide the results they desire. Bigger stronger buildings, bigger stronger tools.
I don’t know if anyone has picked up their children or grand children after school but I get my grand children a couple times per week. I can tell you first hand that the most vulnerable time the children will experience during the day are the times between the building and the bus. Of course the bus is hardly a safe sanctuary. Bus incidents have occurred a few times in the past but they don’t get the attention that a building does.
The world is inherently dangerous.