Gun Industry, Pro Gun Lobbying Organizations Meet At Las Vegas S.H.O.T. Show To Preview New Products And Hone Marketing And Press Strategies

For Release: Friday, January 20, 1995

Firearm manufacturers and pro-gun organizations will meet this weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada for the S.H.O.T. (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show, the annual trade show for America’s gun industry. The show is sponsored by the industry’s leading trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), located in Newtown, CT. In addition to being the showcase for new products and technology, workshop topics will include how to increase firearm sales to women as well as a National Rifle Association-sponsored seminar on how to interact with the news media. The S.H.O.T. Show is closed to the general public and tight controls are placed on media access to it.

New products expected to be previewed at the show include:

  • The Lady Laser 25 caliber pistol from Sundance Industries of Valencia, California. The Lady Laser is a Saturday Night Special pistol that comes equipped with a laser sight mounted on its trigger guard. Laser sights offer the user point-and-shoot killing capability. Based on the unique characteristics of the weapon price, size, and lethality the Lady Laser appears to be an attempt by Sundance to break into the criminal pistol market that so far has been dominated by fellow California Saturday Night Special manufacturers Lorcin, Davis, and Bryco.
  • The Sport-22 from Intratec of Miami, Florida. Infamous for its TEC-9 assault pistol the most popular assault pistol in America the Sport-22 is Intratec’s attempt to circumvent the assault weapons ban contained in the crime bill passed last Congress. The .22 handgun is a modified version of the Intratec TEC-22T assault pistol (for example, it now lacks a threaded barrel). It can, however, still accept a high-capacity detachable ammunition magazine. (Intratec is also known to S.H.O.T. show attendees for its free calendars of models in various stages of undress holding the company’s products.)

Seminars scheduled for the show include:

  • Dealing With the Media: Promotional material promises, “Learning what to say and what not to say, how to act and how not to act when interviewed on television or radio can make all the difference between making you look like a well-meaning concerned expert, or something less.” Despite the National Rifle Association’s constant assertions that it represents gun owners and not the gun industry, the program is conducted by the NRA’s public relations firm of Ackerman McQueen Public Relations and is provided courtesy of the NRA.
  • Your Newest Customer Base How to Sell to the Outdoors-Woman: The seminar is the latest installment in the continuing effort by America’s firearms industry to increase firearm sales to women. “Few people in our industry doubt the potential of the women’s market as an area of significant growth opportunity,” promotional material for the seminar states, “But as a dealer, what should you do to serve this market?”
  • The BATF Issues and Answers ’95: A panel discussion with representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), the government agency responsible for enforcing the nation’s federal firearm laws. Meetings between an industry and its federal regulator (e.g. the Consumer Product Safety Commission and manufacturers of virtually all other consumer products) are commonly open to members of the public. BATF, however, has declared this meeting closed to the public.

The NSSF, whose members include Saturday Night Special and assault weapon manufacturers, is the industry leader in efforts to market firearms to women and children. A December 1994 VPC study revealed that the NSSF had received more than $229,000 in federal tax dollars from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to underwrite a school-based marketing program designed to increase gun sales to children and young adults while bolstering the political base of the firearms industry.

VPC Executive Director Josh Sugarmann states, “America’s gun industry fears public scrutiny. The simple reason is that if the average American saw this show and attended these seminars, they’d be shocked by the industry’s cynicism and avarice. Firearms are virtually the only unregulated consumer product in America. Not until the firearms industry is forced out from the shadows and its products held to the same health and safety standards that we subject all other consumer products will we begin to reduce firearms violence. Until then, what is on display at the S.H.O.T. Show today will be killing us tomorrow.”

 

 

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