Gun safety group States United to Prevent Gun Violence staged a creative event to educate people about the dangers of firearms in the home. They opened a storefront that appeared to be a retail gun shop in Manhattan. However, when customers inquired about the merchandise, they learned more than they were expecting.
The guns in the store were the same models that were used in some of the most notorious recent crimes involving guns. The salesman would begin his pitch describing a weapon in a typical fashion. But he would conclude his description by revealing the horrible truth about the types of weapons that were “for sale” in the store. For instance…
Salesman: Like I was showing your wife – the first gun I showed her was this revolver. It’s the easiest gun we have to use. It’s our most popular one. It’s a .22 caliber six inch revolver. It’s also a gun that a five year old found in his parents bedroom and went down and shot his nine month old baby brother with it.
The shock displayed by many of the patrons (video below) speaks to the powerful impact that this information has when people learn about the common tragedies that result from the proliferation of deadly weapons. While most Americans believe that having a gun in the home is effective protection, statistics show that it actually increases the likelihood of a homicide, suicide, or fatal accident. And massacres like Sandy Hook would not be possible without easy access to weapons designed for mass killing of people.
Predictably, the National Rifle Association was outraged at what they called “a tasteless PR stunt designed to further an anti-gun agenda.” Other gun advocacy groups charged that the store violated New York state laws for possession of handguns. There were even accusations that the store was an unlicensed firearms dealer. At Fox News they portrayed the campaign as an attempt to “sell gun control, guilt potential buyers.”
The idiocy of those complaints is almost comical. In effect these pro-gun groups are attempting to use laws that they oppose to silence the gun safety campaign. But even setting that hypocrisy aside, the store doesn’t need any permits other than those that are granted for filmmaking. It seems ridiculous to have to explain this to them, but it was a fake store. The guns were fakes. There was no ammunition. It was filmed for use in a gun safety campaign video. By the logic of the pro-gun folks Clint Eastwood is a multiple felon.
Additionally, the hypersensitivity to a gun safety group producing a harmless video to educate prospective gun buyers is freakishly overblown when those same people have no problem with open-carry advocates brandishing real, loaded weapons at Walmart, McDonald’s, and outside of parks and schools. Considering the fact that there have been actual murders in all of those places, but there has never been one at a fake store, the unrestrained fury on the part of NRA types seems to be somewhat of an overreaction.
The “proprietors” of the Manhattan gun store have also set up a website where people can get more information. Visit Guns With History to see what the sad, but all too real, truth is about the consequences of a gun-crazy society.