I’m currently in big sky country, the beautiful state of Montana at the headwaters of the Missouri river. One of the perks of the job is that sometimes a company in the industry – in this case, BLACKHAWK! – will invite you to tour their operation, show you some of their newest products and let you use them while sending large quantities of lead downrange, hopefully at some steel and paper targets. Yesterday I got to tour their manufacturing facility in Manhattan (but more on that later). On my way up here though, I was trudging toward the security line in the St. Louis airport early Monday morning when this sign caused me to do a double-take . . .
Yes, that’s a firearms-related ad. In an airport. I’m happy to report that no TSA agents attempted to wrestle me to the ground for actually stopping to stare at it, though that may have had something to do with the early hour.
If you’re not familiar with Project Child Safe, that’s the less well-known (than Eddie Eagle) safety program sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to promote responsible, safe gun ownership and storage. While Eddie’s message — STOP!, Don’t touch, Leave the area, Tell an adult — is aimed at kids, Project Child Safe is directed at their parents.
A little while later, still dazed from being deprived of my normal ration of much-needed beauty sleep, I stood near my gate waiting for the Delta agent to call my group to board that big ol’ jet airliner when I noticed the banner sign that was cycling six or eight ads just above the entrance to the concourse. Another Project Child Safe spot.
As you probably know, the NSSF is the trade association for the firearms and ammo industry. Or as our friends in the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex like the put it with their usual aplomb and subtlety, they’re the focus of all that is evil (along with the NRA) in American society today. While Project Child Safe has been around since 1999, the org’s been pushing their relatively new Own It? Respect It. Secure It. campaign, recently distributing PSAs on gun safety to radio stations in advance of hunting season. Now they’re apparently reaching out to an even more mainstream audience.
Not that the industry group is likely to get much credit for the effort. As far as the hoplophobic community is concerned, the NSSF and the gun makers they represent are the problem, not the solution. The trade org is the shadowy face of the nefarious Gun Lobby™, advancing the industry’s dangerous and greedy agenda. Never mind that an unambiguous safety-oriented message like this one just might accomplish something gun grabbers often claim is their goal with each new restriction on Second Amendment rights they propose (“if it saves even one life…”).
So the industry appears to be putting its money where its mouth is. And the St. Louis airport can’t be the only venue where the ads I noticed are running. Messaging like this certainly can’t hurt the larger cause of normalizing firearms in the society. And who could be against gun safety?
But if he really gave a damn about “gun violence” and saving lives, just think what someone like Michael Bloomberg – or some of his billionaire friends in Washington State – could do to advance the cause of gun safety and responsible ownership with just a fraction of the $50 million he’s set aside to advance the cause of rolling back Americans’ natural, civil, Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Or what do you think would happen if his designated telegenic sock puppet, Shannon Watts, dropped her “gun bully” schtick and started talking to women with firearms in their homes about how to use and store them safely? Whoa. I really am sleep deprived.