What’s so controversial about gun safety education and free gun locks that would compel a gun-control advocacy group to start a petition in an effort to defund the government-backed initiative?
Well, according to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a D.C.-based gun-control organization, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Project ChildSafe, which was recently awarded a 2.4 million grant by the by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, ought to be defunded because the partnership between the DOJ and the NSSF is “deeply troubling.”
To be clear, Project ChildSafe is an initiative that is designed to supply gun owners with free locks and information on how to be a safe and responsible gun owner. There is nothing political about it.
Yet, CSGV believes that since the NSSF, the firearms industry trade association, has opposed certain gun laws that it shouldn’t be entitled to government funding. Specifically, the CSGV says the NSSF is guilty of the following:
- Opposes all legislation that would require parents to safely store firearms in the home in the manner described in their Project ChildSafe Safety Kit brochure.
- Opposes Child Access Prevention laws to hold adults criminally responsible when children gain unauthorized access to their firearms.
- Supports unprecedented legal immunity for the gun industry, which prevents parents (and others) from bringing lawsuits against the industry when they market and/or distribute their products in a negligent manner.
- Supports lowering the age at which Americans can purchase firearms and carry them in public.
CSGV goes on to say that “Whatever good might be done by Project ChildSafe is vastly outweighed by the harm NSSF does in lobbying for reckless gun laws,” adding that “No taxpayer in America should have to foot the bill for a profit-focused lobby looking to improve its public image.”
CSGV believes that the $2.4 million grant should be given to a “better partner for gun violence prevention.”
To be honest, I think that’s what this petition is all about. It’s about the money. The NSSF got a grant that the CSGV probably wanted.
I have no problem with nonprofit advocacy groups and trade associations, but their very existence is dependent on donations from the public, including corporations, and grants from the government. And at times the mission to raise money trumps whatever cause they’re pushing. It’s just the way it is. So, when a sizable government grant is given out to a competitor or rival organization, one can see why there would be consternation and resentment from the organization that was overlooked.
Yet, even in CSGV’s quest for donation dollars, the larger goal of securing firearms and educating people on gun safety shouldn’t be forgotten. In this case, the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe is a legit program. Instead of trying to take down the NSSF for beating them this time around, CSGV should take solace in the fact that lives will be saved. That’s what ultimately matters, regardless of which side of the gun debate one falls on.
In a statement, the NSSF responded to the petition. Here is an excerpt:
Following announcement of the award, two gun-control groups voiced opposition to the Department of Justice’s decision to select NSSF and Project ChildSafe to receive the grant. It is unfortunate that these groups, which do not have comprehensive, practical firearms safety programs of their own, cannot find common ground to support the goals of this successful, long-standing safety initiative…