I’ve sometimes called The Trace, the anti-Bearing Arms. They sort of do the same job we do, only for the other side.
That’s probably not entirely fair because we’re far from alone in the Second Amendment space, with excellent work being published all over the internet.
But The Trace isn’t alone, either. Everytown for Gun Safety has their own version called The Smoking Gun.
They think it’s clever.
Anyway, despite Everytown being one of the biggest gun control organizations out there, their own blog doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention.
Which is probably for the best.
After all, if the horrible logic behind their recent attack on the NSSF is any indication, they should probably stay under the radar.
It starts with the headline, “THE GUN INDUSTRY’S POWER BROKER,” which until a few years ago, they seemed to think was the NRA.
Anyway, that’s followed by a sub-headline reading, “A closer look at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the front group for America’s gun makers and sellers.”
It’s a trade association. It’s no different than a trade organization for literally any other industry. The only difference is that no one is trying to ban travel agencies or dairy farmers.
Honestly, if that were the most egregious things Everytown tried, I wouldn’t have bothered writing this. After all, we know how they feel and there’s nothing new under the sun in that regard.
But they don’t stop there.
Every January, thousands of firearm, ammunition, and accessory manufacturers and importers gather in Las Vegas to show off their new products at the largest trade show of its kind. The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show is the gun industry’s biggest event of the year, garnering some 55,000 attendees in 2020, before the pandemic, and currently boasting more than 2,400 exhibitors.1 But unlike other gun shows, the SHOT Show is a closed-door event open only to exhibitors, potential customers who buy in bulk — including gun wholesalers, retailers, and military and law enforcement personnel — and media outlets that regularly cover firearms.
Because it’s not technically a gun show. It’s a trade show.
The organization that fights the hardest to prevent the firearms industry from being held accountable for its role in endangering the public is the same one that sponsors the SHOT Show: the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the official trade association of the firearms industry, which derives over 75 percent of its revenue from the show itself, through entry fees and renting floor space to exhibitors.8 While the National Rifle Association remains mired in scandal and legal troubles,9 the NSSF has tried to fill the void — even though it is only backed by the gun industry and lacks a grassroots membership — and is increasingly influential in the halls of Congress and statehouses across the country. The NSSF isn’t as well known as the NRA, but as this report details, it shares many of the same goals, is just as extreme, and exacerbates our gun violence epidemic.
Of course, the NSSF hasn’t gotten as well known in part because people like Everytown attack the NRA for literally everything, which has allowed the NSSF to do its work without the same level of vitriol spewed at them.
Alas, that was never going to last.
What people don’t understand, though, is that the firearm industry and gun owners tend to have aligned interests, so the NSSF represents the industry, but it looks little different from more traditional gun rights groups because of that alignment.
With “over 9,000 members” representing every facet of the firearm supply chain, from manufacturers and distributors to retailers and shooting ranges,10 the NSSF is the voice and lobbying arm of the firearms industry. In fact, the NSSF’s Board of Governors is composed of executives from the country’s largest gun companies,11 including Smith & Wesson and Daniel Defense, which made the AR-15-style rifles used in the recent Highland Park and Uvalde shootings, respectively.12 In the aftermath of those tragedies, it was Daniel Defense CEO and NSSF Governor Marty Daniel who told the House Oversight Committee that mass shootings are “local problems” in deflecting blame for his company producing military-style assault weapons and aggressively marketing them to civilians.13
There is no “aggressively marketing” in the gun industry because most places won’t run their advertising. Groups like Everytown made it difficult for them to market, so they do what they can.
And while I don’t know that I’d term mass shootings as a local issue, it’s definitely not served by gun control.
But so far, this has mostly been traditional spin. Let’s get to a really egregious example of how the distort things to make the NSSF look bad.
At the same time, the NSSF has also published misleading statistics that downplay the dangers of firearms. NSSF studies claim that hunting with a firearm poses nearly the same risk of injury to children as playing pool, and is somehow safer than bowling,66 while ignoring the fact that 2,281 children died from guns in 2020 alone.67 Similarly, the SSSF website claims that the “shooting sports are one of the safest activities available to youth today!” and directs viewers to the NSSF’s statistics,68 which focus on the rate of injury but withhold the severity. There is no mention of how often gunshot wounds lead to death or a severe disability compared to, say, spraining an ankle while playing soccer.
Is Everytown trying to imply that youth hunting has somehow been a significant factor in the nearly 2,300 cases of children being shot in 2020?
They clearly know that’s simply not the case. If it were, they’d have been attacking youth hunting specifically for years and they haven’t. They know that those deaths were a combination of gang activity and suicides that had nothing to do with outdoor sports.
What’s more, their attack on the rate of injury versus severity of injury is also disingenuous. They know that kids aren’t being killed at shooting events. Again, that would make headlines from coast to coast if it were happening. Kids aren’t even being shot at them.
At most, they’re getting those same sprains as from playing soccer or basketball.
That’s because literally every shooting sports event has rigorous safety measures in place to keep anyone from being shot. Those measures have been honed for decades to prevent such tragedies from happening, and they’re not going to be loosened for kids.
But Everytown should know that. They know that the severity isn’t that severe. They just want their followers and supporters to be able to scream at the top of their lungs that shooting sports kills kids even though there’s absolutely no evidence to support it.
After all, let’s note how they keep including footnotes. That particular paragraph has three of them.
And yet, they show absolutely no evidence that kids are being severely injured or killed at shooting events, despite the fact that it’s impossible to cover such a thing up since gunshot wounds have to be reported to police by medical professionals.
So either they know what they’re saying is untrue and unfounded, in which case they’re lying, or they don’t, in which case they’re morons.
Either way, the way they seem to jump from one point to another and pretend it’s a logical leap is downright offensive to anyone remotely interested in logic.
But it’s Everytown. Why would we expect better?