The Violence Policy Center (VPC) on Monday released a 39-page report about the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the gun industry as a whole. The gun control group takes issue with the NSSF and NRA "targeting" blacks and Latinos as first-time gun owners.
"In its marketing efforts to communities of color, the gun industry frequently focuses on the self-defense use of firearms, despite the fact that guns are rarely used to stop crimes or kill criminals and are far more likely to be used in homicides, suicides, or fatal unintentional shootings," the report stated. "Recognizing that Blacks and Latinos are already disproportionately impacted by lethal gun violence, these efforts can only increase death and injury in these communities."
VPC's Executive Director and the report's author, Josh Sugarmann, compared the gun industry to the tobacco industry, saying groups like the NSSF and NRA are working to arm blacks and Latinos for all the wrong reasons. In particular, Sugarmann argued, is because they want to drive gun sales.
"Along with the hope of increased gun sales, a corollary goal of this effort is to turn more Blacks and Latinos, who historically support gun violence prevention measures, into pro-gun advocates for future political battles," Sugarmann said.
The most bogus claim is that the firearms industry is "exploiting crises (real and perceived)" and creating civil unrest to market guns to potential buyers. Basically, the VPC is upset that the gun industry is taking into account various types of gun owners (men, women, black, white, Hispanic), when they market. What happened to diversity? Or is that only something to celebrate when the minority backs your cause?
"Mr. Sugarmann’s theories that the firearm industry and others are seeking out Blacks and Latinos to replace present firearm owners is demonstrably racist. It is shocking to me that he believes Black and Latino men and women cannot decide for themselves how and when to exercise their God-given rights. The Second Amendment is a right of all law-abiding Americans at birth, endowed by their Creator and protected by the Second Amendment. It’s not a white right, a Black right or a Latino right," NSSF's Director of Public Affairs, Mark Oliva, told Townhall. "It’s not a right of red states or blue states. It’s God-given right of every American and it is appalling that Mr. Sugarmann believes an entire industry should ignore the personal safety concerns of Black and Latino Americans because he doesn’t believe they should be exercise their rights."
“The Second Amendment belongs to everyone, regardless of race, creed, or gender. The NRA is here for all gun owners and we want all Americans to know they are welcome in our ranks. This 'study' – if one call call it that – is inane," the NRA's spokeswoman, Amy Hunter, told Townhall.
One of the worst aspects of the entire report is their attack on Maj Toure, the founder of Black Guns Matter, a pro-gun organization dedicated to teaching those in the inner-city how to properly handle a loaded firearm. They also work on conflict resolution as a way of getting people to think about their actions instead of resorting to violence.
The report painted Toure as someone who is being taken advantage of instead of someone who wants to be part of the Second Amendment community.
"Yet despite the joint efforts of the NSSF and gun manufacturers targeting non-white communities, and the ongoing research that in theory guides such efforts, NSSF’s own research reveals that one of the primary hurdles to overcome in engaging Blacks and Latinos in gun ownership is that although NSSF and gunmakers have, for their own purposes, identified communities of color as a great 'untapped market' to exploit, the objects of their attention frequently don’t feel welcome in the firearms community as a whole, and gun stores in particular — despite NSSF’s stock photos to the contrary," the report stated.
It is obvious that Sugarmann and whoever else wrote this report has never been to SHOT Show or talked to those who are involved in the firearms community. The gun community is one of the most welcoming communities around. Everyone works together to make sure new gun owners get the resources and training they need. And safety is always the number one priority. Not only has Black Guns Matter received support from people all across the industry, but so have the Pink Pistols, a group for LGBTQ folks who want to protect themselves.
That doesn't fit their narrative though. And that's why they did their best to manipulate data, saying blacks and Latinos are more likely to suffer from homicide by a firearm. The problem, however, is the data they cite doesn't conclude that. Whites are higher on the list than Latinos.
Reading through a "report" the @VPCinfo did on the gun industry. They say blacks and Latinos are more likely to suffer from homicides by firearm. The chart they cite doesn't come to that conclusion. Latinos are lower than whites in the chart. pic.twitter.com/xnbgCTedrq— Beth Baumann (@eb454) January 27, 2021
The VPC has concerns about how Latinos and blacks are impacted by suicide utilizing a firearm. Again, the data shows firearm suicides disproportionately impact white men and women.
Again, they focus on blacks and Latinos. Look across this chart and what do you see? White men and women are more likely to commit suicide than Latinos and blacks. pic.twitter.com/ycqS6jp0dO— Beth Baumann (@eb454) January 27, 2021
The anti-gun group can flip the numbers however they want. The fastest growing demographic of new gun owners are women and blacks.
"The numbers tell it all. There were 21 million background checks for the sale of a firearm in 2020. An estimated 8.4 million people purchased a firearm for the very first time. Forty percent of those buying guns in 2020 were women. The largest increase of any demographic group purchasing firearms was among African-Americans, which rose by 58 percent from 2019 to 2020," Olivia explained.
The number one reason people flocked to firearms over the last year is based on a concern over their safety. Riots and looting that broke out this summer made more Americans realize that their protection is in their own hands. They have to make sure they know how to defend themselves.
"The concerns of African-Americans to provide for their safety is their inherent and natural right. It’s not for Mr. Sugarmann or the Violence Policy Center to decide their needs," Oliva said. "Any assertion to the contrary is fundamentally racist."