Gun prohibitionists are gloating while nobody in the firearms industry is chuckling today after funnyman Jay Leno abruptly cancelled his scheduled performance at the 2015 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, and this morning, Human Events was calling the comedian a “coward” in its headline story about the announcement.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which sponsors the SHOT Show – said to be the largest firearms industry trade show in the world, attracting more than 70,000 people to Las Vegas each January – issued a statement that was anything but a joke. NSSF said Leno “unilaterally cancelled his promised appearance due to pressure from the anti-gun lobby, which included false statements about our industry and its commitment to genuine firearms safety, which we attempted to personally correct with him, but to no avail.”
“We are not deterred by their publicity seeking nor are we unfamiliar with the bullying political tactics of the gun control groups,” NSSF said in a statement, “that seem to have as little respect for the First Amendment as they continually demonstrate with regard to the Second Amendment.”
The annual SHOT Show draws manufacturers, media, retailers and wholesalers from around the world. The show has seen performances in the past by Larry the Cable Guy and magicians Penn and Teller during the annual State of the Industry Dinner, where Leno would have been the headliner.
A story in the New York Daily News yesterday noted that other entertainers performed earlier this week at a “benefit” for Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety. The newspaper described both organizations as “the gun safety group backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.” In actuality, they are both gun control lobbying organizations that were heavily involved in the recent effort to pass Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control measure in Washington State.
This raises a legitimate question: Why should performers help raise funds for a billionaire-funded gun control lobbying organization? Should those performers get a pass for supporting a group whose goal is erosion of the Second Amendment?
Leno’s cancellation will not stop the annual industry gala, NSSF vowed. “Despite Mr. Leno’s cancellation,” the statement noted with a jab, “we look forward to having our biggest and best State of the Industry Dinner to date with a performer that respects the contributions of our industry and the customers it supports.”
NSSF has been a leader in promoting firearms safety and the lawful use of firearms for hunting, competition, recreation and personal protection. In 1999, NSSF created Project ChildSafe to educate gun owners of all ages about firearms safety in the home. NSSF is responsible for the First Shots program, which introduces new shooters to safe and enjoyable firearms use.
The organization has also become a leader in setting the record straight on firearms ownership and crime. The accompanying video was released in early June, and essentially puts the lie to long standing predictions by the gun prohibition lobby that more guns in private hands leads to more violent crime.
Overall, the firearms industry and American gun owners have contributed billions of dollars to wildlife conservation and enhancement programs, through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration Act, passed in 1937. NSSF is responsible for education programs that help retailers comply with federal and state firearms laws.
Leno might have done some homework on this before bowing to the demagoguery of the gun prohibition lobby. Instead, he’s being portrayed as a man who “caved” to “liberal activists,” and that’s no laughing matter.