I know you're probably sick of the gun posts, but I thought you might like to know about this warm-fuzzy NPR story, which showed up in my Twitter feed today:
Are Shooting Ranges The New Bowling Alleys?Yes, you read that location correctly.
The traditional American shooting range is extending its range.
In Summerville, S.C., for example, the ATP Gunshop & Range stages community-minded blood drives and Toys for Tots collections. Twice a week there are ladies' nights, where women can learn to fire pistols and receive free T-shirts.
The Freestate Gun Range in Middle River, Md., has staged competitive, poker-style target games and zombie shoots. The Family Shooting Center in Aurora, Colo. ...
... The Family Shooting Center in Aurora, Colo., showcases gourmet elk and pheasant bratwursts. The Governors Gun Club under construction in Powder Springs, Ga., will feature a members' lounge and bar.Golly gee, I'm not sure! Tell me more!
"Warm up this winter at an indoor shooting range," trumpets the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association of the firearms industry. "You can teach family and friends to shoot, or you can sign them up for a class. What better way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon than enjoying quality time together doing an activity you enjoy?"
Games! Specials! Online coupons! Sign up for teams! Fun for the whole family! Are shooting ranges the new bowling alleys in America? ...
We learn about a shooting league in Texas called A Girl and a Gun; we learn that a gunshop in Las Vegas has added a wedding chapel; were told, "Some women's shooting groups hire certified babysitters," and "Others have volunteers who take turns watching the kids, 'kind of like day care at church.'" It's mom and apple pie! It's girl power! How can you possibly criticize this, totebagger?
(A few grumbles of discontent from gun-control advocates do eventuallyshow up, but not until paragraph 26 of the 30-paragraph story.)
This isn't news -- this is sponsored content from the gun industry, except it's not labeled as such, and there's no evidence that any money actually changed hands.
The National Shooting Sports Federation, which gets a couple of mentions in the story (home base: Newtown, Connecticut), is the clear beneficiary -- and, I assume, the source of the story. NSSF has made a concerted effort in recent years to sell guns, particularly assault rifles, to new markets, particularly women and children, as a far more skeptical story at the Huffington Post notes:
"Why are these guns so popular?" asks a lecturer in a video of one of the NSSF media seminars. "One word: They're fun!"A gun control advocate says the NSSF is trying "to put a happy face on these military weapons" -- and I suspect NSSF is also trying to put a happy, girly face on shooting in general. Thanks, NPR, for the big assist!
"These are fun fun guns to shoot," says an unidentified journalist in the same video. "As a mother of three I'd have no problem letting my kids, with the correct supervision and safety gear, you know, try one of these guns."