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While Newtown and America Grieve, Newtown, CT-based Gun Industry Trade Association National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Prepares for Its Annual Celebration of Guns Next Week in Las Vegas
NSSF-Sponsored SHOT Show begins in Las Vegas on January 15, 2013, Scheduled to Include Manufacturer of Gun Used in Newtown Shooting, Among Numerous Other Assault Weapon Manufacturers
Barring Mainstream Press from Event, NSSF Hopes 'What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas'
WASHINGTON - January 8 - On January 15, 2013, the Newtown, Connecticut-based gun industry trade association the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) will launch the 35th edition of its SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Promoted as "The Event That Keeps on Giving" that's "Too Good to Miss," profits from the show help fund NSSF's legislative activities on Capitol Hill and in states across the nation as well as its marketing efforts on behalf of the firearms industry. On NSSF's website, an ad for the show, featuring Las Vegas sights, appears on the same page as its brief statement on the December 14 school shooting.
According to NSSF's website, credentials to the show--which is closed to the general public--will not be issued to news media in the immediate period leading up to it. The site states, "Online media registration for the 2013 SHOT Show is closed. Media credentials will not be issued through the mail or on-site during the event." [See http://www.shotshow.org/Media/] And while NSSF has refused to respond to media requests following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, on January 7 its communications staff issued a discordantly cheery notice on the SHOT Show blog offering "10 Tips for a Better SHOT Show," which opened with, "Wear comfortable shoes. The SHOT Show is huge! Last year's show encompassed 1,600 vendors exhibiting in 630,000 square feet. Comfortable shoes will give you a chance to see all the show has to offer." [See http://www.shotshowblog.com/10-tips-for-a-better-shot-show/]
Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center and a native of Newtown, Connecticut, states, "While America grieves over the tragedy of Newtown and searches for ways to prevent future mass shootings, for the NSSF it's back to business as usual: Putting a happy face on the weapons of war it helps market to the general public while ignoring the inevitable tragedies that result. By shutting out the news media, NSSF hopes that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."
Among the vendors listed on NSSF's website as participating in the show are a wide range of assault rifle manufacturers, including Bushmaster, the manufacturer of the assault rifle used in the Newtown shooting (Exhibition Space 14229). (Following the Newtown school shooting, Cerberus Capital Management announced that it would sell Freedom Group, the gun industry conglomerate of which Bushmaster is a member.) According to the website, Bushmaster is right next to Smith & Wesson (Exhibition Space 13731), manufacturer of the M&P15 assault rifle used in the July 20, 2012 Aurora, CO, movie theatre shooting that left 12 dead and 58 wounded, and just across the aisle from the National Rifle Association (Exhibition Space 14540), which receives tens of millions of dollars in funding from the gun industry and has already begin lobbying efforts against proposed federal legislation that would help prevent mass shootings but might negatively impact the industry, such as a federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. [See the July 2011 VPC study, "Blood Money: How the Gun Industry Bankrolls the NRA," http://www.vpc.org/studies/bloodmoney.pdf]