|Gun violence prevention groups launch effort highlighting radical record of Newtown-based NSSF
Newtown, CT−Two gun violence prevention groups, the Newtown Action Alliance and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, have launched a petition campaign calling on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to cancel a planned $2.4 million grant to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and find a more suitable partner for their gun violence prevention efforts.
On September 10, 2015, the Newtown-headquartered NSSF announced that it had received a two-year grant from DOJ to produce Project ChildSafe Safety Kits, which the organization distributes to law enforcement agencies around the country. The kits include a cable-style gun lock and a brochure detailing gun safety procedures.
The program has been beset with problems from the start. After hundreds of thousands of its gun locks were recalled for being too fragile and flimsy, NSSF lost federal funding for Project ChildSafe in 2009. Obliged to fund the program on its own, NSSF scaled it back significantly, leading to complaints from police departments. In addition, NSSF actively lobbies against any and all reforms that would prevent children from gaining unauthorized access to firearms, to include Child Access Prevention laws and regulations that would require parents to store firearms safely in homes with children. NSSF has also supported lowering the age at which Americans can purchase firearms and carry them in public.
Ladd Everitt, Director of Communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, stated, “Unsafe storage of firearms is a major public health issue in our nation. While we fully support programs aimed at reducing gun fatalities and injuries, we do not believe that tax payer dollars should be used to fund the corporate gun lobby. Project ChildSafe has a terrible track record and the NSSF’s lobbying activity makes it clear they have no intention of protecting our children if it means limiting industry profit.”
Po Murray, Chairman of the Newtown Action Alliance, added, “As we approach the third anniversary of the horrific and senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, we deserve more from our government. We call on Americans to sign our petition and demand that DOJ stop funding an organization that promotes a lethal ‘Any Gun, Anywhere, Anytime’ agenda. If the interest here really is reducing gun violence, there are plenty of reputable law enforcement organizations that would be more appropriate recipients for this grant.”
The two groups plan to deliver their petition directly to DOJ at the agency’s headquarters in the coming weeks.