Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno announced Wednesday that he would no longer be emceeing the Industry Dinner at the 2015 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show).
In an interview with Mother Jones, Leno said he didn’t realize that the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which sponsors SHOT, is based Newtown, Connecticut until various pro-gun control organizations brought it to his attention, including the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Campaign to Unload and the Newtown Action Alliance.
“I understand it’s Newtown, and of course I get it,” Leno told Mother Jones. “It’s just, sometimes, mistakes get made.”
Newtown, Connecticut, was the site of the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which claimed the lives of six adults and 20 school children.
“I’m not at all surprised that Jay didn’t understand that the NSSF is part of the gun lobby,” said Po Murray, the chairman of Newtown Action Alliance. “Before the Sandy Hook shootings, I had no idea they existed, and they’re right here in my community! I am thrilled that Jay changed his mind once he had full information. It is so appreciated by those of us in Newtown.”
Jennifer Fiore, the executive director of the Campaign to Unload, continued, “I’m grateful that Jay has seen the NSSF for what it really is: a corporate lobbying group that puts money over morality, no matter how many families are destroyed by its products.”
“We are sincerely grateful to Mr. Leno for making this decision so quickly after it was brought to his attention,” said Josh Horwitz, the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “It shows that he cares about all the Americans whose lives have been turned upside down by gun violence. And that speaks to the man’s character.”
Likewise, Shannon Watts the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America applauded Leno for backing out.
“Moms applaud Jay Leno’s decision to cancel his National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) event appearance after hearing directly from Moms and other gun violence prevention supporters on social media,” said Watts in a press release.
“The NSSF opposes common-sense gun safety measures like background checks on all gun sales,” she continued. “This announcement comes just one day after moms launched the social media campaign #JokesOnLeno and reflects the power of holding public figures accountable. Jay Leno now stands with the majority of Americans who support common sense gun laws. Moms across the country are thanking Jay for making the right decision.”
Upon learning that Leno caved to the pressure, the NSSF released the following statement:
We are clearly disappointed by Jay Leno’s decision not to perform at the 2015 SHOT Show State of the Industry Dinner. He unilaterally cancelled his 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 that seem to have as little respect for the First Amendment as they continually demonstrate with regard to the Second Amendment.
We are proud of the many programs that we run that meaningfully contribute to public safety including our long standing Project ChildSafe and Don’t Lie for the Other Guy initiatives in addition to our members everyday work in compliance with comprehensive federal and state laws. We will not allow the lawful commerce in firearms nor our industry to be demonized and we will continue to speak out for the Second Amendment rights of the millions of law-abiding citizens who are our customers.
Despite Mr. Leno’s cancellation, 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.
Welcome to the new America! While a mentally deranged sociopath by the name of Adam Lanza carried out the attack on Newtown, in the eyes of the anti-gun lobby all gun owners, gun manufacturers and those who support the Second Amendment are somehow complicit in the murder of those innocent first graders, teachers and staffers.
Isn’t that misrepresenting their position? Nope. It’s what many of them believe. Consider what New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik said in the wake of Sandy Hook.
“The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children.”
Gopnik didn’t stop there, but followed it up in a separate article with an even bigger condemnation of 2A supporters:
As I wrote last week, those who oppose it have made a moral choice: that they would rather have gun massacres of children continue rather than surrender whatever idea of freedom or pleasure they find wrapped up in owning guns or seeing guns owned — just as the faith healers would rather watch the children die than accept the reality of scientific medicine.
Those who fight against gun control, actively or passively, with a shrug of helplessness, are dooming more kids to horrible deaths and more parents to unspeakable grief just as surely as are those who fight against pediatric medicine or childhood vaccination. It’s really, and inarguably, just as simple as that.
How sad is that? Gun owners are tantamount to child killers. But the reality is just the opposite. Guns are a boon for society. In the hands of the law-abiding, they are the great equalizer and the optimal tool for self-defense. In fact, guns are used to save lives and prevent crime more often then they are used to perpetrate it. As a 2013 study coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found:
“Defensive uses of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed. Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”
Yet, despite this fact, gun owners are the bad guys. We’re radicals, extremists and zealots. We are America’s untouchables. Any celebrity, industry executive, sports star or other high-profile figure who associates with us or supports us in any way is publicly shamed by gun-control organizations and lead to believe, as Gopnik wrote, that gun owners “are dooming more kids to horrible deaths and more parents to unspeakable grief” because we refuse to surrender our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms for self-defense not only against the criminal element, but a tyrannical government.
Welcome to the new America where you and I are the evildoers for believing that we should have the means to protect and preserve the very freedom that we all enjoy.