Industry counters assaults on "assault weapons".
In the ad, an ominous voice says, "These are the weapons of choice of violent criminals. Sick of watching their fellow officers gun downed, American police went to Congress and got copkiller guns banned. President Bush, are you going to let the Assault Weapons Ban die?"
The Brady Campaign also launched a major public appearance campaign where it uses victims of crimes to plead for renewing the ban. They linked the ban to terrorist threats.
"Why would anyone want to put assault weapons like AK-47s and Uzis back on the streets, particularly when we're facing renewed threats from terrorists?" asked Michael Barnes, Brady Campaign president.
To counter the message, the firearm industry is taking its message directly to the news media. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) addresses the Assault Weapons Ban in an ad placed in "Editor & Publisher," a trade publication for journalists.
"If they were banned," NSSF asks in the ad, "how can they still be legal to buy, to shoot and to sell under federal law? The 'assault weapon' portions of the Crime Bill passed in Congress in 1994 did not forbid ownership of semi-automatic firearms but banned cosmetic features on firearms unrelated to their mechanical operation. Those are the provisions that will sunset in September."
The ad invites the media to the Media Resources section of the NSSF Web site (www.nssf.org) to explore the industry's positions on firearm issues.
"'Editor & Publisher' is read by some 20,000 editors and others in the media who are the decision makers when it comes to what news gets printed in America's newspapers and news magazines," said Gary Mehalik, NSSF's director of communications.
Mehalik urges those in the industry, including gun dealers, to refer the media to the NSSF Web site.
"Unfortunately, all too often a journalist gets even the basic facts about a firearm issue wrong," Mehalik said. "Sometimes, it's because of bias; but more often it's because the journalist lacks knowledge."