This week, the nearly forgotten anti-gun crusaders, States United to Prevent Gun Violence (SUPGV), grasped at relevancy when they debuted their latest shenanigans targeting lawful gun ownership. Called “Guns With History,” the campaign aims to harangue first-time gun buyers for even considering the exercise of their rights.
At the center of the campaign is video of a purported hidden camera stunt conducted in Manhattan last week. The group rented out an art gallery and used the space to construct an installation strewn with prop firearms on peg boards and openly-displayed boxes of various sorts of ammunition visible from the street through a large plate glass window. Even a large American flag is ironically displayed on the premises. To someone wholly unfamiliar the gun laws of New York City or State, it might have appeared to be a gun store. The installation was manned by an actor and outfitted with several cameras. The video portrays those unfortunate enough to mistake the gallery for an actual store as being subjected to stories about when the different types of firearms offered “for sale” were misused by criminals. In other words, the whole point is to shame visitors for their interest in purchasing a firearm. After receiving the anti-gun lecture and leaving the installation, the supposed marks then earnestly profess the profound effects the experience has had on their views of firearm ownership.
Considering the misleading tactics favored by various contemporary antigun fanatics, we have no reason to believe the “customers” weren’t simply actors paid by SUPGV to participate in a skit. Nothing about the resulting video, especially to anyone familiar with New York City and its residents, comes across as anything but phony and contrived. Were the visitors to the store truly unwilling dupes, however, SUPGV’s choice to prey upon what is perhaps – thanks to New York City’s persecutory gun control and overweening antigun orthodoxy – the most gun-illiterate population in the country, should not be discounted.This is especially so, given the self-congratulatory nature with which SUPGV has presented the results of its “experiment” to a fawning, uncritical press.
The whole episode is bizarre for a number of reasons, not the least of which is just how far removed the exhibition was from anything that could resemble a real gun shop in lower Manhattan. New York City law only allows a gun store to display its wares “so long as the firearms are enclosed in a glass case.” City code states:
Ammunition shall not be displayed in any area. Any ammunition required in the selling area shall be kept in a locked container not visible to the public. All other ammunition shall be stored in an area of the premises that can be secured and is not in view of the public. Only the licensee and authorized employees shall have access to this area.
Some of the prop guns were replicas of firearms (like an Uzi and AR-15) that are banned from sale by New York City and State law. Further, any potential Manhattanite gun purchaser would be forced to comply with the city’s regressive licensing and registration scheme before he or she could even lawfully take possession of a firearm. Of course, SUPGV and its supporters likely would have found an accurate depiction of a New York City gun shop far less titillating.
Considering that an observer familiar with New York gun law would have immediately recognized the phony store as being in significant violation of state and local law, the question arises as to whether SUPGV had the City’s cooperation in operating the installation. Unfortunately, New York City government is not above using public funds to participate in gun control campaigning, even out of state. The Post article mentions an “NYPD official” being present on the scene, but why, in what capacity, and at whose expense is not explained. Berating people seeking lawfully to exercise their constitutional rights is not typically a function of city government, even in the Big Apple. Moreover, even the possession or offer for sale of realistic “imitation firearms” is generally banned in New York City.
Aside from offering strong evidence that there is no low to which gun control activists won’t stoop, the stunt reveals more about the anti-gun agenda than some might like. While some of the prop firearms that were used mimicked the types of firearms large portions of the gun control community openly seek to ban, others were as uncontroversial as any firearm could normally be. One hapless “customer” is berated as he handles a prop .22-caliber revolver, and two of the props hanging on the wall suggest garden variety pump-action shotguns. The inclusion of these firearms illustrates a point NRA has made for years and gun control activists continue dishonestly to deny. Simply put, gun control supporters are not merely after certain types of “especially dangerous” firearms, they are after all firearms. Traditional bows and arrows also adorn the walls of the “store,” prompting one to wonder if SUPGV supports their abolition as well.
With failure as their norm, it appears gun control activists are getting continually more desperate, at this point resorting to the petty and bizarre. Perhaps more peculiar than the installation itself and the activists behind it, however, is why anyone would choose to fund such nonsensical antics in the very place gun control advocates already cite as a model for the rest of the nation. Having largely ridden law-abiding New York City residents of actual guns, the abolitionists apparently want to stamp out the last vestige even of any gun-owning impulses in the city. That, or they’ve simply spent a great deal of time and money creating an elaborate fantasy in which their sad, pathetic agenda is portrayed as having persuasive force.
And speaking of funding, in watching the video one can’t help wonder if some of the no-doubt generous funds spent on this stunt would have been better spent on promoting the basics of safe firearm handling; namely keeping one’s finger off the trigger until ready to shoot and keeping the firearm pointed in a safe direction, to name just a couple. Interestingly, that wasn’t part of the script.