As Advertising Age reports, “Gun safety advocacy group Evolve is spreading its own version of “stop, drop and roll” and “friends don’t let friends drive drunk” to gun owners. The nonprofit is rolling out a new ad campaign this week that uses star power, humor and media prowess to push its call to action to Americans: ‘clear it, check it, lock it.'” The firearms safety org’s out with another of their slickly-produced videos, featuring spokesnoid Josh Lucas strolling down Main Street, USA while copious amounts of (presumably) negligent gunfire ricochets around him . . .

Yes, it’s an effective bit of hyperbole employed to make their point. And their target audience is far wider than just experienced firearm owners. Still, by exaggerating the amount of ballistic oopsies for effect, the ad may alienate more than a few People of the Gun.

The ad is meant to have broader appeal than its predecessors. Evolve’s most recent spot “Playthings,” which featured two mortified moms who find their sons having a sword fight with sex toys, aimed to get people talking about gun safety, in particular parents. But it alienated people who weren’t amused by dildo jokes. And “The Bill of Rights for Dumbasses” — Evolve’s first push introducing it as a “third voice” in the gun debate — spoke mainly to gun owners.

This time around, Evolve set out to reach all Americans — a tall order. Like campaigns that tackle drunk driving — “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” — Evolve believes gun safety is everyone’s responsibility, not just gun owners.

Fair enough. And if you catch that half-second message that flashes at the end, Evolve also wants to create a National Gun Safety Day to drive their non-political point (think Shannon’s orange shirt fiasco, only with some tangible emphasis on safety for real gun owners, rather than a thinly-veiled disarmament push).

“This should be the big duh,” said Con Williamson, chief creative officer at Erwin Penland and a former creative at Saatchi & Saatchi, where he worked on Evolve’s first ad campaign. “I want people supporting it who aren’t on one side of a political view. I want people who talk about guns and share guns. I want the NRA to begrudgingly say, ‘Goddammit. This is good.'”

The first Evolve spot was well produced, though largely ignored. Their second effort was unquestionably lulz-worthy, got a lot of play nationally, though arguably failed to move the safety needle…their stated goal. Is this Evolve message “the big duh” that will get more people thinking about gun safety?

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73 Responses to Evolve Rolls Out ‘Clear It, Check It, Lock It’ Safety Campaign

    • Yup. They showed their true colors right from the get go. They were and will be aligned with bloomburg, moms, and mayors wanting illegal moms.
      I don’t trust them one iota.
      It would be nice to see where they get their money…

    • Joe/Tom/48625,

      Where did you see that they are funded by gun grabbers?

      Look here:

      http://www.evolveusa.com/faqs.html
      Their statements on “personal responsibility” were well in place.

      I do think their cause could be better used elsewhere. 500 people out of 300 million? It may actually be better to teach people how to avoid lightening strikes. Then again – as carry permits increase – if ND’s decrease – that is a win-win for us.

      • It appears they have changed their web site and their FB page. When they first came out, they had reposts of moms stuff all over the page. It’s gone now. Guess they are evolving to probably scoop up more money.
        I tried to have “meaningful dialogue” with them. They kicked me off. They didn’t want to read facts.

  1. Seeing that they genuinely care about safety instead of confiscation like other groups do makes me hope that people on the fence about firearms go toward away from the darkside of mom’s demand action and other “muh feelings” groups.

    • I hope they really are a safety organization, and not just a very clever long con. I can see a possible long-term strategy here – you make a big push for safety, then if the numbers don’t improve (and there’s not much room for improvement, anyway – compared to the number of guns in this country, the number of injuries from ND’s is vanishingly small), you make the turn and say, “Well, we tried to educate these idiots. Clearly people can’t be responsible with guns. Take ’em all away!”

        • Not really, but we’ve been shown time and again how duplicitous and dishonest the anti-gun forces are. I’m not saying that this “Evolve” group is necessarily anything more than just the safety organization they claim to be, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out that they’re just another disarmament group in disguise. It seems like an awful lot of money to spend for something (accidental deaths by gun) that occurs at an extremely low rate. Where’s the wailing and gnashing of teeth and seven-digit advertising budget for accidental poisonings, which kill 50 times as many people as accidental shootings every year?

          That’s why I’m suspicious of their motives.

    • This is definitely part of the long con. Have you ever looked into the founders? They are not firearm enthusiasts. And as I stated below, firearm accident are not a growing problem, not at all.

      • This is definitely part of the long con

        I fully agree. It is part of a campaign to make Americans think firearms are unsafe. You here who are thinking “conspiracy theory” don’t know your history.

        Back when groups like the National Coalition to Ban Handguns and Handgun Control Incorporated were new, they described a process whereby they were going to completely do away with handgun ownership by slowly adding one little restriction on top of another over a couple of decades. More than 40 years later they are still sticking to that strategy with new language and new tactics, but the target—destruction of the “gun culture” and the right to keep and bear arms—remains the same.

        The antis take a long view on things and are relentless. They approach from multiple fronts, looking for openings. Guns are routinely sold to felons because the ATF doesn’t require background checks for every single firearm sold in the US, guns are a health concern, the open carrying of guns is intimidating, certain guns aren’t needed by anyone, and high capacity magazines offer the ability to slaughter more people more efficiently, certain ammo uses “cop-killer” bullets, we need more gun-free zones to protect us and our children…

        I could fill a page with their mindless and unreasoned drivel, and you people who ignore encroachment approaches from alternate angles do so at your peril, and if you think others are conspiracy theorists, you’re delusional.

        Why does Evolve all of a sudden come up with some random commercial/PSA about keeping your guns unloaded and locking them up because they are unsafe? Was that really needed? Out of all the bad things happening in this world, that’s the number one priority?

  2. The underlying message is good, but IMO the video’s too slick for its own good. People are either going to be offended at making light of accidental shootings, or they’ll be offended at the implied widespread gun-handling negligence, or both. I think the video would’ve been better if they’d toned down the humor a bit and showed people actually clearing, checking & securing firearms.

    • Some people are just offended by anything.
      What put me off is that I thought it was Shaun Penn at first.

  3. How many people die or are injured in gun accidents each year compared to the gun owning population? I know the numbers for children is fairly low. I wonder if we have reached the point of diminishing returns? How much more effort would need to be expended to make a significant impact on accidents?

  4. Another fail. And yet, some good may come from it. Guns have become so normal that “everybody” has them. Guns are almost as ubiquitous as cars. Some gun owners need a good safety lecture, just like some people need to be told not to drink and drive. It’s just that this video doesn’t get the job done.

    But here’s the main thing: “Lock them up” now refers to guns, not gun owners. That’s a win.

    • “Guns are almost as ubiquitous as cars.”

      I will argue that firearms are actually more ubiquitous than cars … at least according to the estimates of how many firearms there are in the United States.

      • Guns might be more numerous than cars, but that doesn’t mean they’re more ubiquitous. Cars are everywhere. Guns aren’t. Lots of people can go through their whole day without ever seeing a gun, but few can manage the same feat where cars are concerned.

  5. The problem with all of these PSA campaigns is the people who are not morons already know better and the people who are morons will never learn regardless of how many times they hear the message.

    • You are right about the true morons. But a lot of people have NDs and kids getting ahold of guns, including cops and otherwise safe gun owners. You can’t do anything about the morons, but you can remind the people who care.

      I have been in the aviation safety business, specifically in the communications end of it. When dealing with life and death subject matter, teaching safety procedures is only the beginning. Finding new ways to constantly remind intelligent people is an essential part of the process.

  6. The problem is simple. Gun owners will understand that this is a humorous take, because we all know that actual ADs are fairly rare in the context of the sheer number of guns owned by citizens of this once great land.

    However, those with an axe to grind against gun owners, and those who see things on tv and assume they are real (the vast majority of Americans who helped oboobles get elected TWICE) will see some truth in this. This will help negatively cast gun ownership in a bad light. It’s sort of how like most people polled think that 25% of the populace is gay because of the prevalence of gays on TV, when in reality, around 1-2% of the populace is gay. These same fools will likewise think that there are lots of AD’s (in fact the guy in the ad says as much), contributing to the need to “do something” to make “common sense” changes in our laws.

    So yes, this is bad.

    • “this is bad”

      Yup. As someone else said, if this were made by pro-rights people, I believe that we would see this as humor. As it’s made by anti-rights / anti-self defense people (i.e., your unloaded, safety on, locked up gun is fairly useless for protection), it’s insulting and untrue.

  7. If they want to effectively get this message across then they should start with a commercial more practical.

    I can imagine a short spot about someone showing off his new gun to someone else, talking about how well he knows his gun, yadda yadda. Then his friend asks to see it and the guy hands it directly over for the more knowledgeable friend to proceed to drop the mag, rack the gun and expose a round in the chamber followed by a polite scorning and a now humbled braggart.

    It’s realistic, while its not happened to me it’s happened to people I know. It’s a situation that could have just as easily gone wrong because someone didn’t do a basic, five second safety check because they were confident or distracted or what have you. With camera and sound work you can emphasize and illustrate the points of the safety check to the viewer very easily to where anyone can understand it.

    Doesn’t make any group of people look bad, has a serious but not melodramatic tone to it without some horrible attempt at tongue in cheek humor and applying some basic, practical knowledge to a situation any gun owner, new or old, could find themselves in.

    Just my two cents.

    • Your idea sounds like a good message. It could be followed up by showing proper securing in a similar manner.

  8. That’s a lot of symbolism for a short commercial.Full of Freedom AND firearms accidents? Not per capita.

    Main Street, USA. Hamburgers, BBQs. SAVES A FLAG FROM BURNING! Wraps himself in the flag. Loves the flag. Uses “firearm” instead of “weapon”. They chose their words very carefully.

    Not sure how I feel about it yet.

  9. I support any campaign that promotes good gun safety procedures without sending an anti-gun message, no matter who it comes from. I agree this one is a bit too glib. I also think crazy gun “accidents” they are showing do not at all represent the kind of accidents that would be prevented by “clear it, check it, lock it.”

    But the message doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to come from the NRA. I think the NRA should be doing messages with these kind of production values, but their stuff is tame and rarely pushed out to wider audiences than their membership.

  10. The people behind Evolve care nothing about firearms safety. This video is intended to reinforce the notion that guns are dangerous and the average citizen is not responsible enough or intelligent enough to be entrusted with them.

    • You are absolutely correct. More people die of drownings and poisoning than they do of unintentional firearms accident. Take a look at the CDC stats for 2013 on page 57 of this report:

      http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr64/nvsr64_02.pdf

      There were about 500 unintentional firearms death in the entire country for the entire year of 2013. In comparison, approximately 3,300 people died from accidental drownings, and over 38,000 people died of unintentional poisoning. Firearms accident are not even statistically relevant when you look at the big picture. This is pure propaganda to demonize firearms. These people’s lack of logic hurts my brain. Of the 300 million firearms out in circulation in our country, just over 500 of them led to unintentional deaths in 2013. These people are just blowing hot air.

    • Some gun owners ARE unsafe, though. And guns are the topic here, not poisonings or drownings. What we have here is the POTG losing control of the gun safety message. We should be the ones preaching gun safety, but we are not doing enough. We make it worse by sneering when someone else tries to do it. If we seem callous to the gun safety issue, and yes, there is an issue, we will lose ground with the voters in the middle who could have been convinced about gun rights, but we lost them.

      • But that’s why this is just slick propaganda. Do some people die of unintentional firearm accidents each year? Yes. Approximately 500 people or so. Those numbers are dwarfed by car accidents, drowning, and poisoning. You don’t see slick non-profit ads about the dangers of having a pool, car, or household cleaners though, right?

        • No, but that’s the point. Guns are our issue and those other things aren’t. People aren’t campaigning to take away our household cleaners, cars, etc. They are trying to take our guns. They will try any angle to help do that. If we let them take control of the gun safety issue or even if they can make us seem callous about the issue, we lose. We won’t be able to defend ourselves with statistics like you cite. They are going for “hearts and minds,” not rationality. And even if it is only 500, it’s too many. We need to be the ones leading the gun safety charge, not them. And we are not doing it effectively.

  11. So, on the “First National Gun Safety Day” will they be passing out pamphlets with the 4 basic rules on them?

  12. Joseph Goebbels and Edward Bernays would be proud of Evolve. You can clearly feel the condescension in the tone of their campaigns. They try really hard to be funny, but all I ever find their ads is really insulting. The care about the 2A like Hillary Clinton does. Not a whole lot.

  13. “The nonprofit is rolling out a new ad campaign this week that uses star power, humor and media prowess to push its call to action…”

    That might be stretching the definition of “star power” to the breaking point there… Josh Lucas? More like “that-guy-looks-vaguely-familiar-was-he-in-an-episode-of-Law-and-Order-or-is-he-the-guy-who-fixed-my-muffler power”.

  14. Amusing or not, the implication that firearms accidents are a growing problem is false. The reality is that such incidents have declined thanks to better training and programs such as NRA’s Eddie Eagle. A false narrative, whether intentionally implied or not, serves no interest save those of our enemies.

  15. I’m of the stance Evolve is a good thing.

    Scan YouTube and you’ll find many cases and videos of unsafe firearm handling. Then you have people who routinely put bullets into places and people in negligent fashion ; these folks we generally see here under the IGOTD column.

    Right now NDs are just bad sport- until someone shoots a pregnant woman at a fast food joint by mistake. Then CNNs gonna get the story, and we’ll be manning the ramparts fending off another assault on the 2nd Amendment.

  16. I don’t know how I feel about this.

    I do like how they acknowledge that the “lock it up” doesn’t apply to everyone. I don’t have kids, so leaving a gun lying around isn’t a problem, even loaded.

    But I can’t help but feel a bit paranoid about a slickly-produced “gun safety” video with a B-list (or maybe C-list?) actor and lots of not-directly-anti-gun hyperbole.

    Chalk me up as amused but wary.

  17. I like it. Its funny. And it says – we are a free people – please be responsible. Instead of saying – please vote yes on SBXXX to regulate firearms in the home, on people’s persons, in people’s cars, where people place them, how people hold them, etc.

    Bullet’s ricocheting all over the place is funny. The exaggeration of this point is funny. To me, it references the anti’s portrayal that there will be blood in the streets, and incidents like this occurring when everyone has a carry permit. When in fact, both pro-gun control advocates and gun haters know that this isn’t going to happen. That you actually have to wear a bullet proof vest to go outside because of all the ND’s is both ridiculous and funny. And at the same time – it’s a personal responsibility message. Liking it.

  18. Just did a quick check on their FB page. Looks like they have removed most, if not all of their co-mingled stuff from little mikey and the rest.

  19. As wary as I am of false flags and long cons, if these guys are genuine, it’s a message much more in line with American ideals. In the country that America is supposed to be, if you have a concern, you speak up to those who will listen. In the country that leftists want America to be, if you have a concern, you forcefully legislate your view, confiscate what you don’t like, and kill or arrest all who oppose you.

  20. I still think they are in bed with other people. Mike(TheGunGuy) Weisser was an early member. Yet, he now claims never to have been a member even after I called him out on an Op-ed he posted at Daily Kos where he admitted to being a member, I guess calling yourself a member of Evolve and actually being a member of Evolve are two different things? The guy lied about something he had to have known was searchable on the interwebs. Is he that stupid or being told to lie by his masters?
    Mike seems to be quite the mover and shaker in the gun activist world and now owns and operates National Medical Council on Gun Violence. Only he’s kind of shy about admitting it and nowhere on the site is he mentioned. I suspect Weisser is getting front money or some kind of compensation from someone in the anti-gun world.

  21. I don’t like the underlying message here that gun owners are unsafe and prone to accidents, and that’s really the steak under the sizzle. Gun owners are irresponsible and we, the People Who Know Better, must teach them how not to be total morons.

    No sir. I don’t like it.

  22. Gun safety is still not a statistically significant risk. Mortality from accidental/negligent firearm discharge barely registers on the list of causes of accidental deaths.

    How about a national day for pool safety, or household chemicals safety – or, better yet, hospital safety?

      • “Trust me, the car wrecks are just brutal. I felt like a frog in a giant unyielding blender.”

        Oh, yeaaaaaaaah…

        And the ‘wonderful’ way time slows to crawl making the whole unpleasant experience last that much longer.

        Ugh. No more for me, please.

        I have *zero* appetite for more.

  23. I’m generally fine with gun safety PSAs like the root of the verbalized message in this one. That being said, this ad carries irritating and insulting visuals that would strongly infer that a vast number of gun owners are unsafe and that NDs are everywhere.

    I did enjoy their “if kids find it” PSA due to it’s amusing creativity and lack of apparent insult.

    • I would like to point out to you that the “playthings” video directly and brazenly portrayed guns as phallic symbols, a popular anti gun meme.

  24. featuring spokesnoid Josh Lucas strolling down Main Street, USA while copious amounts of (presumably) negligent gunfire ricochets around him . . . No, they were just poor shots, the locals figured out this tool works for Evolve.

  25. Good comment on the youtube page for the video:

    The NRA is the unquestioned leader in gun safety. We don’t need some Johnny come lately jumping in here and talking about something they know nothing about. How many firearm safety courses do they offer? This video is fear mongering and a foot in the door approach to gun control.

  26. This group is trying to charm everyone into considering them a legitimate voice in gun safety. That way when the time is right they can drop the other shoe with a credible voice. Deny them that power.

    Hey NRA, it should be “idiot simple” to browse to gun safety information and educational materials from your front webpage. It’s not:

    HOME
    MEMBER BENEFITS
    NRA-ILA
    NRA DIRECTORY
    NRA NEAR YOU
    EVENTS
    HISTORY
    NRA STORE

    You should be the authority on the web for people seeking to learn about guns and gun safety strategies. Yeah I get you want people to sign up for training programs but you could easily put an almanac of information up for free that would be useful to people.

    Update this ancient page:
    http://training.nra.org/nra-gun-safety-rules.aspx

    Make it an interactive and comprehensive web experience, put some of your gun training and safety information up for free, and make it accessible as one of the links on your main page nra.org. Hire some celebrities. Put up some curriculum a kids program could use for free. Get ahead of the ball on this and be where non-gun owners and new gun owners can get credible information on gun safety and handling before one of these false flag operations takes your place and you have to play catch up. Take note, the anti-gun groups are vying for position as a credible (in the public eye) source of gun safety information so they can use it later to discredit the NRA.

  27. Recently heard a “lock it up” ad on Seattle radio. I didn’t think much of it at first, then I did a double-take and realized what was being said. It literately suggested to forgo self-defense options, to make any firearm you own impossible to get at. It implied gun owners are simply not responsible to themselves, family and friends. But this is Seattle and the current progressive controlled WA State.

  28. Honestly I liked it. It appeals to the video game generation of gun owners who may have picked up their first piece without knowing the most basic of safety rules. As an RSO I can’t tell you how many times a day new gun owners break every safety rule. No really…

    • Honestly I liked it.

      This is why we can’t have nice things.

      Right off the bat the actor states that “too much stuff is getting shot by accident, like toddlers and full-grown people.” Well, one would be too many, but the presumption from the commercial is that accidental shootings are rampant in America.

      Then after that they imply that guns should only be used for hunting or at a range for sport, and after that they should be cleared and locked up, not kept loaded and used for self-defense.

      Tell me, did you actually watch the commercial?

  29. I smell a con. There are tons of organizations that teach gun safety.. The NRA has taught more people safe gun handling than any organization in the history of the world. Although even one ND is bad, statistically, NDs are so rare it is practically a rounding error. Why are they spending money on a cause that is already saturated with groups that seem to be having a high level of success already. Again, I smell a con. I do not trust them.

  30. OH I DIDN’T SEE IT BEFORE. Shotgun blast through the door at 0:45. This is in direct reference to Joe Biden I guess.

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