Generally, I find myself skeptical of anything that seems to be an alternative to traditional firearms. Especially because I know how some people will get about those “alternatives.”
Take Byrna Technology’s less-lethal gun as an example. A couple of months ago, I shredded a report extolling the virtues of their products. I called it advertising copy, because that’s how it read.
Yet it seems that Byrna didn’t have a role in that at all. It was a third party making most of those claims about gun violence.
That seems pretty clear based on what recently happened.
You see, Byrna’s CEO gave an interview to a “reporter” from The Trace. Only, the person in question reportedly lied about where the interview would appear.
The Trace story quotes Byrna’s founder, president and chief executive officer, Bryan Ganz. However, on Friday Ganz told the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project that he had never even heard of the Trace until the story appeared Thursday morning. The freelance writer who wrote the story claimed it would appear in a different publication.
“Originally, he said it was supposed to be published in Wired magazine,” Ganz said Friday. “But once we gave him the quotes, we had no control over where the article was published.”
The story was written by Ted Alcorn, who describes himself in the story as an “independent journalist whose reporting has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.” Alcorn’s bio also shows he was “the founding research director of Everytown for Gun Safety and a policy analyst in the New York City mayor’s office.”
Now, it’s possible that Alcorn intended for the report to appear at Wired, only they shot it down for some reason and he turned to The Trace to publish it after that.
It’s possible. It’s not likely, though.
In addition to the allegations that Alcorn misrepresented where the interview would appear, it seems Ganz says Alcorn did an awful lot of editorializing.
“It’s easy to see why gun owners might perceive a less lethal offering as an admission that traditional guns are problematic. But over the last century, the primary use of firearms has changed,” the story states. “Lethality was essential when they were mainly tools for hunting animals or national defense, but now nearly three-quarters of people who own guns say they do so for self-protection against other humans.”
“I never said anything like that,” Ganz said. “I support the Second Amendment, and I’ve carried concealed for years. I’ve been a gun owner my entire life.”
So what we have here is a case of a less-lethal option being presented to the market, not to replace guns necessarily but likely for those who don’t want a gun or can’t have a gun in certain places.
But because it’s not exactly a gun yet fills a self-defense role, a ton of people on the gun control side of the argument are trying to take Byrna’s product and make it a gun control thing.
What’s more, Alcorn reportedly misrepresenting himself as as writer for Wired, then editorializing an anti-gun message, all to make it look like Byrna is a “fellow traveler” in anti-gun circles.
And no one at The Trace seemed to question anything they saw. They ran with the piece as it was. Either they knew what Alcorn reportedly did and didn’t care or else they were easily buffaloed by Alcorn.
Considering the ties between both Alcorn and The Trace to Everytown for Gun Safety, though, it’s kind of hard to believe they got tricked, too.
Byrna might need to do some extensive PR with the gun media, though, just to make sure they can counter these anti-gun stories painting their product as the firearm replacement.