It’s a stunning irony that Newtown, Connecticut, is the headquarters of one of the main components of the American gun lobby. Newtown, reeling from its massacre, ought to look inward for answers.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is based there. On its website, it describes itself this way:
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 7,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers.
Excitedly, the NSSF is promoting its huge Las Vegas convention and gun show, called the Shot Show, which opens in a few weeks. Its web site says:
Believe it or not, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s 2013 SHOT Show is almost here. As the entire industry prepares, enthusiasm is already building for the Jan. 15-18 event in Las Vegas. If you haven’t already done so, register today at shotshow.org. Also, be sure to take advantage of all the show’s offerings like retailer and law enforcement seminars, the State of the Industry Dinner, SHOT Show University and more. Stay up to date on show news through the SHOT Show Blog and connect with the show on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
And its government relations page proudly details all of its efforts to sabotage or overturn efforts around the country to regulate firearms. A current headline there reads, gleefully: “Illinois Senate Puts the Hammer Down On Gov. Quinn’s Gun Grab Attempt.”
Remember, this is all led by an organization whose officers are headquartered in Newtown.
There’s a blog on the NSSF site, but nary a word there about the massacre in its home town.
The New York Times reports that for the past months the residents of Newtown have been hearing explosions and automatic weapons fire at illegal shooting ranges all over town, but efforts to impose some discipline on gun nuts in Newtown ran up against still opposition, naturally, from the crazies. Says the Times:
But in the last couple of years, residents began noticing loud, repeated gunfire, and even explosions, coming from new places. Near a trailer park. By a boat launch. Next to well-appointed houses. At 2:20 p.m. on one Wednesday last spring, multiple shots were reported in a wooded area on Cold Spring Road near South Main Street, right across the road from an elementary school.
Yet recent efforts by the police chief and other town leaders to gain some control over the shooting and the weaponry turned into a tumultuous civic fight, with traditional hunters and discreet gun owners opposed by assault weapon enthusiasts, and a modest tolerance for bearing arms competing with the staunch views of a gun industry trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which has made Newtown its home.
This is beyond irony, and it shows that far from the bucolic, pastoral and peaceful village that the Newtown might want to appear to be, it is a town that needs to look in the mirror.
Check out Lee Fang’s investigation into the gun manufacturers profiting from our lax gun policies.