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Gunmakers Battle ‘Trump Slump’ With a Softer Sales Pitch

NEW YORK TIMES February 23, 2020 – It was like any other convention in this city of neon and slot machines, except for all the guns.

At the Shot Show, an annual gathering of the firearms industry in Las Vegas, flash drives shaped like military rifles were handed out. Influencers with large followings on Instagram and TikTok posed for selfies, Glocks in hand. Visitors took turns sitting in the “Freedom Throne,” an eight-foot chair made out of shell casings and other munitions from a company called Lucky Shot USA.

But amid the racks of mounted handguns and hunting gear in camouflage print, many people working for the 2,600 companies represented at the show were saying that the industry should embrace a softer, more inclusive marketing strategy, if it wants to broaden its reach beyond the aging white men who have been its core customers.

The revised marketing strategy is starting to gain traction against a backdrop of sagging gun sales and a rise in mass shootings. The 2017 massacre of 58 people, with hundreds more wounded, happened in Las Vegas, three miles from the Sands Expo Convention Center, where this year’s Shot Show was held.

Blackhawk, a maker of firearms accessories and protective gear, was one of the companies that has moved away from macho branding.

“The whole skull-and-crossbones and lightning bolts and all that kind of stuff, you don’t see that very much anymore,” Joshua Waldron, the company’s president, said at the show. “It’s about figuring out a way to change the narrative to where it’s not so focused on tactical or that aggressive side of things, but to be like, ‘It’s a responsible thing to do, to protect yourself.’”

An ad for the Thompson/Center Compass II Compact rifle in a recent issue of Field & Stream reflects the changed strategy. It features a man and young boy clad in camouflage, gazing at each other while standing in the woods. The rifle, slung over the boy’s shoulder, is at the edge of the image.

Jeremy Flinn, whose Stone Road Media marketing agency works with firearms and accessories companies like Roam Rifles and Thril, said his goal was to “put a better face in front of people.” He added that his “biggest fear” would be “scaring off that new person.”

That means less blood in advertisements featuring hunters, who are described in marketing materials as “harvesting” animals, rather than “killing” them. Models are shown wearing eye and ear protection, and fewer advertising images include the military-style rifles associated with mass shootings.

“What I’m not going to show is a guy, with one hand, just jacking it up in the air,” Mr. Flinn said at the convention, which drew more than 55,000 visitors.  [full article]

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School Daze

It all started in Florida when the March For Our Lives protest featuring surviving students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre partnered with most if not all of America’s anti-gun groups. The initial event, said to gather as many as 800,000 supporters of all ages, held the equally anti-gun media hostage for several weeks as the students traipsed across the country demanding more gun control. What they didn’t realize was that gun control – at least a considerable segment of it that involved school shootings – was right under their noses. Or desks, as it were.

During the school year and on a near daily basis, our news feeds include something about students with guns in schools. Little attention has been paid to controlling guns within schools, themselves, and yet, that’s where the Stoneman Douglas shooting originated when a student of that school opened fire on his fellow students with an AR-15 semi-auto rifle.

We all know the details as well as the gun control fallout. What we don’t know is why school officials didn’t think to look within their own educational walls for the terrifying menace of one of their students with a gun. GunProPlus did look, however, and we decided to begin last mid-November a near daily running account of students caught with guns in schools. Because GunProPlus is reliably headline-oriented, we call your attention to K-12 GUN HEADLINES, a news account of students with guns in schools. That section of this publication can be found on the GPP website’s lower right hand border column, below the ads, and it’s continued archiving by date under the locator, “Read More” at the bottom of each daily K-12 section. We think you’ll be aghast if not totally shocked to learn that mass shootings of students in schools may be a bigger threat than anyone realized and one to which all the gun control groups should have been paying attention.

As the anti-gun advocates continue to push for more gun control legislation using – with media’s help – inane legislation to control law-abiding gun owners’ constitutional rights, they need to do what they should have done years ago as an aid to their intellectual deficiency on guns and gun owners, and gone back to school. Keeping guns out of schools begins with keeping guns free from schools and the students that bring them there.  [Read More]

 

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K-12 Gun Headlines

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K-12 GUN HEADLINES

AR – February 20, 2020 – 2 middle school students arrested after bringing guns to school

Two students at middle schools in Pulaski County brought firearms to school this week, authorities said. A Mabelvale Middle School student was arrested and charged Thursday with possessing a handgun on school property, Little Rock police said.  [full article]

SC – February 18, 2020 – 15-year-old accused of bringing gun to Marlboro County school

Police arrested and charged a 15-year-old boy Tuesday for being in possession of a gun on campus, according to Marlboro County School District Superintendent Dr. Gregory McCord. The teenager is being taken to the South Carolina Dept. of Juvenile Justice.  [full article]

PA – FEBRUARY 17, 2020 – Kindergarten student brings gun to Pittsburgh school

A Pittsburgh kindergarten student brought a gun to school Friday morning. A staff member at Allegheny K-5 in the city’s North Side neighborhood was helping at the building’s metal detector and found the gun in the student’s bag.  [full article]

NM – February 17, 2020 – Teen arrested at Albuquerque high school with 2 loaded guns

Authorities say a 16-year-old boy was arrested after being found with two loaded guns on the campus of his Albuquerque high school. The sophomore at Atrisco Heritage Academy was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon on school premises.  [full article]

FL – February 12, 2020 – Boy, 13, found with 2 guns and 4 knives at middle school

A 13-year-old boy in Northeast Florida faces felony charges after investigators say he brought two guns and four knives to school. The school went on a modified lockdown to keep students and staff safe while authorities detained the student.  [full article]

TX – February 12, 2020 – Kids bringing guns to school at an alarming rate

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2016-17 school year, there were more than three-thousand cases of kids bringing guns to schools. While exact data from 2018-2019 isn’t clear, a report from Fortune Magazine found nearly four-hundred school gun incidents reported in the media, including six in Harris County, Texas.  [full article]

MA – FEBRUARY 11, 2020 – Holyoke grandfather to be arraigned on charges after his 5-year-old grandson brings gun to school

A 5-year-old boy carried a loaded .22 cal. handgun from his grandfather’s home to his pre-Kindergarten class at White Elementary School Friday. Police recovered the weapon before the boy could take from his backpack and there were no injuries.  [full article]

FL – February 11, 2020 – Police: 2 guns, 1 loaded, found inside 13-year-old’s backpack at middle school (VIDEO)

Jenkins Middle School is on modified lockdown after two guns were found in a 13-year-old’s backpack on campus Tuesday, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. Knives were also located within the backpack. Police were able to secure the guns, one of which was loaded.  [full article]

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