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Jan 28 - Gun makers reach out to children

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 Jan 28 - Gun makers reach out to children
topic by Ham Rove - 01-28-2013, 05:58 PM


NEW YORK — Threatened by long-term declining participation in shooting sports, the firearms industry has poured millions of dollars into a broad campaign to ensure its future by getting guns into the hands of more, and younger, children.

The industry’s strategies include giving firearms, ammunition, and money to youth groups; weakening state restrictions on hunting by young children; marketing an affordable military-style rifle for ‘‘junior shooters’’; sponsoring semiautomatic-handgun competitions for youths; and developing a target-shooting video game that promotes brand-name weapons, with links to the manufacturers websites.

The pages of Junior Shooters, an industry-supported magazine that seeks to get children involved in the recreational use of firearms, once featured a smiling 15-year-old girl clutching a semiautomatic rifle.

At the end of an accompanying article that extolled target shooting with a Bushmaster AR-15 — an advertisement elsewhere in the magazine directed readers to a coupon for buying one — the author encouraged youngsters to share the article with a parent.


The industry’s youth-marketing effort is backed by extensive social research and is carried out by an array of nonprofit groups financed by the gun industry, an examination by The New York Times found. The campaign picked up steam about five years ago with the completion of a major study that urged a stronger emphasis on the ‘‘recruitment and retention’’ of new hunters and target shooters.

The overall objective was summed up in another study, commissioned last year by the shooting sports industry, that suggested encouraging children experienced in firearms to recruit other young people.

The report, which focused on children ages 8 to 17, said these ‘‘peer ambassadors’’ should help introduce wary youngsters to guns slowly, perhaps through paintball, archery, or some other less intimidating activity.

“The point should be to get newcomers started shooting something, with the natural next step being a move toward actual firearms,’’ said the report, which was prepared for the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Hunting Heritage Trust.

Firearms manufacturers and their two primary surrogates, the National Rifle a.ssociation of America and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, have long been a.ssociated with high-profile battles to fend off efforts at gun control and to widen access to firearms. The public debate over the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and elsewhere has focused largely on the availability of guns, along with mental illness and the influence of violent video games.

Little attention has been paid, though, to the industry’s youth-marketing initiatives. They stir passionate views, with proponents arguing that introducing children to guns can provide a safe and healthy pastime, and critics countering that it fosters a corrosive gun culture and is potentially dangerous.

The NRA has for decades given grants for youth shooting programs, mostly to Boy Scout councils and 4-H groups, which traditionally involved single-shot rimfire rifles, BB guns and archery. Its $21 million in total grants in 2010 was nearly double what it gave out five years earlier.

Newer initiatives by other organizations go further, seeking to introduce children to high-powered rifles and handguns while invoking the same rationale of those older, more traditional programs: that firearms can teach ‘‘life skills’’ like responsibility, ethics and citizenship. And the gun industry points to injury statistics that it says show a greater likelihood of getting hurt cheerleading or playing softball than using firearms for fun and sport.

Still, some experts in child psychiatry say that encouraging youthful exposure to guns, even in a structured setting with an emphasis on safety, is asking for trouble. Dr. Jess P. Shatkin, the director of undergraduate studies in child and adolescent mental health at New York University, said that young people are naturally impulsive and that their brains ‘‘are engineered to take risks,’’ making them ill suited for handling guns.

‘‘There are lots of ways to teach responsibility to a kid,’’ Shatkin said. ‘‘You don’t need a gun to do it.’’

Steve Sanetti, of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said it was better to instruct kids in the safe firearm use by hunting and target shooting.

His industry is well positioned for the task, he said, but faces an unusual challenge: introducing minors to activities that involve products they cannot legally buy and that require a high level of maturity.

Ultimately, Sanetti said, it should be left to parents, not the government, to decide if and when to introduce children to shooting and what sort of firearms to use.
Gun makers reach out to children - Nation - The Boston Globe


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11 comments for "Jan 28 - Gun makers reach out to children"

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 01-28-2013, 07:05 PMonline - #2
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 01-29-2013, 04:33 AMaway - #3
Parkchester 115 heat pts115 space
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...page
 01-29-2013, 05:26 AMonline - #4
Arson 82 heat pts82 space
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who's the idiot that greenlit this?
 01-29-2013, 05:39 AMaway - #5
Got Cheeve? 111 heat pts111 space
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We need to show kids that guns are fun! Get rid of all this teddy bear nonsense. Why you think so many kids are f*gs these days? Teddy bears! And other cuddly bedroom things. How about they crawl into bed with a nice, friendly 9 millimeter? Much better. ♥
 01-29-2013, 09:47 AMaway - #6
cottonman5grand 7 heat pts space
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Im a gun advocate and believe people should buy whatever they want in accordance with their overall health....but haven't guns been promoted to kids since the evolution of video games? I mean just playing GTA, and COD alone have created a knowledge and infatuation with firearms....i do think this ad is a bit over the top....but then again, these companies are just prepping for the next generation of adults...
 01-29-2013, 10:27 AMaway - #7
Maroon_Tiger 13 heat pts13 space
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 01-29-2013, 12:13 PMaway - #8
adthekidd 5 heat pts space
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sh*t seems like bullsh*t to me

the gov did this
 01-29-2013, 12:34 PMaway - #9
KFrizzle 284 heat pts284 space
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Reminds me of my 10th or so Xmas...

When my dad got my first gun, Great time I was like for weeks w/ that thing
 01-29-2013, 12:39 PMaway - #10
Andrefrbk 802 heat pts802 space
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I really dont feel bothered like this. Wtf is this communist china or Russia. Oh wait.........
 01-29-2013, 02:54 PMaway - #11
LexHeyden 12 heat pts12 space
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Originally Posted by cottonman5grand
...but haven't guns been promoted to kids since the evolution of video games? I mean just playing GTA, and COD alone have created a knowledge and infatuation with firearms....
I grew up with GI Joe, He-Man, Transformers, Go Bots, Visionaries, etc. Violence has always been a part of growing up, but it always came with a message. Messages were reinforced by parents and teachers. I think that ad is overboard as well, but parents that are responsible gun owners need to teach their children about the dangers of firearms. This whole push on gun control is coming from a few bad apples spoiling the bunch.
 

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