The above video is a spoof by agitprop media pranksters the Yes Men. The funny thing is: it’s not funny. It’s the truth. American minorities are denied their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected rights, thanks to both gun control laws and economic circumstance. And, it must be said, the failure of the public education system, which leaves minorities unable (or unwilling) to negotiate the unconstitutional regulations that make exercising gun rights as onerous as possible — in the name of pubic safety.

(courtesy sharethesafety.org)

The video is tied to a spoof website: sharethesafety.org. The site uses the NRA and Smith & Wesson’s logos liberally and looks completely legit. There are links leading straight to S&W’s product pages. (courtesy sharethesafety.org)

Which, as designed, puts the NRA and Smith & Wesson in a PR pickle. If the gun rights group’s and the firearms manufacturer’s lawyers say no way to Yes Men, the NRA and Smith will look like the bad guys.

Worse, the anti-gun agitpropmeisters could then issue a press release saying the NRA and Smith don’t support arming disadvantaged Americans. They think guns are only for rich white people. Damned if they protest, damned if they don’t.

But the NRA can’t leave this alone. The Yes Men’s press release is branded NRA-ILA, parrots NRA talking points, and offers readers a fake quote from NRA spokesman Colion Noir. Like this:

Fairfax, Va.— American cities are hotbeds of crime, from gang violence to police brutality, but a major part of the problem is that the most vulnerable populations cannot afford to defend themselves. A new program from the National Rifle Association, in partnership with Smith & Wesson, seeks to change that.

Share the Safety is a revolutionary online store that will open its digital doors on July 4. Taking its cue from other “buy one, give one” retailers, customers of ShareTheSafety.org will have the pleasure of knowing that for each handgun purchased, one will be donated to an at-risk American citizen in the urban center of their choice.

“We know that the only protection from bad guys are good guys with guns,” said Hensley Cocker, Program Director of Share the Safety. “But tragically the people who need to protect themselves the most—the urban poor—are often unable to afford a lifesaving firearm. We’re excited to watch the impact this will have on our nation’s underserved communities.”

Share the Safety is an important next step in the NRA’s ongoing efforts to spread the freedom and security that come from gun ownership, and their commitment ensuring that every American regardless of income can exercise their Second Amendment rights.

“For the last few years I’ve been out there proving that gun activism isn’t just for the usual pro-gun demographic,” said Colion Noir, prominent gun-rights advocate, lawyer, and host of the NRA web series Noir. “I’ve worked on some great programs targeting inner-city groups, but Share the Safety caps it. When I shop to expand my collection, it’s great to know that I’m helping a needy minority protect their family, maybe for the first time.”

The online store, which can be previewed before its official launch at www.ShareTheSafety.org, features a line of stylish Smith & Wesson handguns that have been specially selected for ease of use and concealment in urban environments to maximize both safety and comfort. Users can sign up now to be notified when the store opens on July 4th. Also on the website, low-income urban residents can apply to receive a free firearm. When one is donated to their city, a recipient is chosen at random from the pool of applicants who are legally permitted to own a gun.


Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. More than five million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.

There is really only one suitable response to this: a fake gun control ad, webpage and press release. Meanwhile, watch this space for NRA and Smith’s official reaction.

 

49 Responses to NRA & Smith & Wesson “Share the Safety” Or Not.

  1. The response is simply a DMCA takedown notice. You can not dilute anyone’s brand without facing strife in court. Doing a fake org like the national gun association doesn’t change the humour of what they’re doing (if you can call it that.)

    • This!

      You can’t, and probably shouldn’t try, to stop the parody. But! You don’t have to let them use your logos, images, or anything else you own copyright or trademark on or for.

      They can make their point, perform their parody without using the IP of the NRA and S&W.

      • Probably run into fair use exemptions. Although it might depend on how obvious a parody something is, and I don’t think many gun owners or hoplophobes would think this a parody.

        • Fair use only applies to Copyright. This implicates Trademark law, which is different. Fair use in trademark law extends only to identifying something that legitimately belongs to or is from the entity which owns the trademark. There is no parody protection in Trademark law.

    • I’ve suggested such several times. Excited when played the video then came in to the thread to find is a spoof. SO NRA/S&W step up and make it real. Name it something insulting to Obumer.

  2. This should be a real program, as long as they pass a background check and take training, why not, its completely legal.
    Let Hilldog put that in her pipe and smoke it. Justin don’t send it by email……

    • A variation on this could work. A straight two for one would be commercial suicide (would that be considered a gun related death?).

      I’d also be sad with the selection. On my list is a 686, which didn’t make the website’s cut list.

    • The intent isn’t comedy, the intent is to mislead and promote an agenda. Comedy, or more correctly satire is what they will cloak their excuse in. This isn’t fair use, it’s defamation.

    • Not a lawyer nor do I play one on television, but I would think claiming that it’s copyright of the NRA takes it out of Fair Use given it’s a blatant misrepresentation. Parody is protected speech but this isn’t claiming to be parody, it’s claiming to the be NRA.

      From the bottom of the page: “©2016 National Rifle Association of America, General Operations. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.”

      • They pretty much went and did a scraping of the NRA’s web site. That’s illegal unto its self without getting into the defamation aspects. I would actually like to see a suit over this so they can unmask who actually paid for it.

      • It’s not just a copyright issue but a trademark issue as well. While parody is a defense to both copyright or trademark infringement, the parody elements here are not apparent at all. So it just comes down to misappropriation and false use of two source identifiers in the context of suggesting they are doing something which is illegal.

        I’d sue them into the ground if only because the “winner” in IP lawsuits tends to be the one with the most money.

      • >> I would think claiming that it’s copyright of the NRA takes it out of Fair Use

        You would think wrong. The whole point of fair use is that it is a defense to claims of copyright – it means that there are ways of using copyrighted works that the copyright holder doesn’t have the ability to prevent. Parody is one of those.

        • int19h, I’m glad someone understands the law, even when it doesn’t exactly promote our agenda.

          Fair is fair speshul snowflakes. We get to do it, so do they. Let the chips fall as they may.

    • Even if they get a Liberal, pro-gun control judge and beat the lawsuit, there is no “loser pays” rule that I know of. Unless Uncle Bloomberg is willing to drop big bucks on their defense the NRA and S&W lawyers could use legal maneuvers to drag this out for years and bankrupt them with legal expenses, even if they do not win in the end.

      More likely they would concede quickly, say they are sorry, close down the site and then open up down the block under a different name.

    • Not if a reasonable person can’t tell the difference. Parody is only protected if its obviously parody.

  3. DCMA and take ownership of their .org and turn it on its head as outreach to poor folks who need the support of a real civil rights organization giving assistance exercising their Second Amendment rights.

  4. Fair Use is more about use without payment or permission. That’s a separate issue from use that deliberately misleads the public for furtive purposes.

  5. This sounds a lot like the CMP model – rifle delivered right to your door. Of course you do need to send them a notarized equivalent of a 4473 for them to run, so there’s still a background check; it just gets done before the rifle ships, rather than when you pick it up.

    Pity it’s a parody.

  6. Hopefully some of the people who see this are neither pro-gun nor anti-gun and will give some thought to it. Anytime I engage any “oppressed minority” or “victim” regarding gun rights, I bring up the fact that a lot of gun control legislation was written with the intent of keeping blacks from comfortably exercising their 2A rights. Usually it doesn’t change anybody’s mind because they either don’t believe it or just aren’t ready to break free of their malevolent overlords, but I figure if that fact can undermine or upset some of their thinking, then it was worth it; plant that seed of doubt in them. If they are being particularly obnoxious about “racist white gun owners” and “oppression”, I talk to them about how if they really believe they are so oppressed, then why don’t they buy a gun, if for nothing else to defend themselves from the gangs of marauding neo-Nazi, skinhead, Klan members that are always killing protected groups everywhere, everyday? Oppressed people should be the most pro-gun folks out there, and us “racist” white gun owners should be the biggest proponents of gun control. Logic dictates, right?

  7. Actually, Smith & Wesson and the NRA should actually DO this.

    And then sue the yokels for copyright infringement. ?

    That would be a Win-Win-GFY! ?

  8. Isn’t there a group in Detroit doing something like this with shotguns. I recall an article a year or 2 ago about a group going door to door offering to give shotguns to families who wanted one.

    I could be wrong (or forgetful).

  9. Wow this is incredibly raciss-and not funny. Although I DID notice the big gal with the skinny hillbilly from a couple daze ago(makes me think THAT was a spoof). Whatever-it’s what I preach. Crime would disappear in Chiraq if the GOOD black folks would arm up and protect their streets. Sadly they won’t get off that plantation. Oh well…

  10. For a second, I thought it was a real ad and I thought: “well, finally a communist program that would for once provide something for future gun owners”, and then some socialist candidate (such Clinton and Sanders) would jump for the government to provide monthly free ammo to practice and a free conceal carry class to make streets safer by having well equipped and properly trained gun owners, even in poor areas. That would be some socialist/communist I wouldn’t mind. And it would fit the “well regulated militia” part too…

    But we all know, it will never happen because the goal from the lefties is not even “collectivism” or whatever, it’s pure civilian disarmament. Enough said…

    • It’s only socialist if the government does it using tax money. Otherwise it’s true charity, love for the fellow man and acting to help them fend for themselves, done with private money.

  11. We’re stuck on the copyright infringement aspect of this video (let the NRA and S&W deal with that) but I have to say the message is spot on. What’s there that’s wrong or not to like? This could be some form of anti-gun propaganda that has backfired or maybe an extremely clever trick as it seems to be totally valid in it’s assessment and solution.

    • It heavily implies that the NRA is giving guns away willy-nilly to random inner-city folk. Probably without any background checks.

      • Not sure if the site has been altered at this point but I went ahead and asked to get notified (disposable email) when the “shop” opens for business. That takes you to a very legit page with the following small print at the bottom:
        “The Share the Safety Program will be available in most US states. Smith & Wesson online purchases, including those made through http://www.ShareTheSafety.org, are compliant with all applicable Federal, state, and local laws. During checkout you will be prompted to select the Federal Firearm License Holder (FFL) nearest you, where we will ship your order. We will contact the chosen dealer to ensure that the gun is compliant with Federal, state, and local laws, and that they are able to assist the transfer. You will be notified when your order arrives (Share the Safety handguns will be mailed by 2-day air). Simply go to the dealer with proper identification and documentation to show that you can legally purchase and possess the gun, as may be required by your state. The FFL dealer will complete a background screening using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as required. Then, take home your piece of history!”

  12. I’d buy a Smith and Wesson if this were real. Why not? The assumption is that NRA members are racists and only favor gun rights because they fear minorities. That assumption is false in my case at least, and I think in the case of the vast majority of members.

  13. Actually I could completely get on board with this program. A firearm, ammunition, and training to those the most Need it. I don’t see a problem with it. And make the people that did the video pay for it since they’re the one making the offer originally and not Smith & Wesson or the NRA. Sounds like a win-win to me

  14. For those who take this seriously, given the present attitudes and leeway that police have, it would mainly translate to a lot more people killed by cops (who will probably get away with it, too).

  15. Simple solution: sue, you have to to protect trademarks. Take over the site or build your own with the same message, edit out the social justice, keep the message going and cut out the Yes Men.

    “We agree that minorities should not be denied any constitutional rights, however due to the nature of trademark law we cannot allow another entity to use our trademarks add it sets a precedent. We have reached an agreement (forced them in court to avoid bankruptcy) with the Yes Men that allows this website and message to continue.”

  16. The best response would be to make the program real just as described.

    I’m sure one of the Koch brothers could spare a million or two to implement it, and get some fellow billionaires to match it.

    • Arming dysfunctional citizens can change our nation. Their creativity is astounding!
      Let us hope everyone shares our loving compassion for these poor souls who are frustrated by human interaction. Taking Hope and Change to the next level.

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