From the Daily Mail (UK) -
I want an assault rifle for Christmas or the reindeer gets it! Gun club invites children to pose with Santa... and their choice of firearmFrom the website of the Scottsdale Gun Club, the organization at the center of the latest controversy to subject Arizona to ridicule -
It's definitely one way of making sure Christmas goes off with a bang.
A gun club in Scottsdale, Arizona is inviting children to pose for pictures with Santa Claus – and a high-powered firearm.
Each family member carries their choice of weapon, from pistols to $80,000 machine guns.
The Daily Mail ran some additional pics from the Scottsdale Gun Club's Facebook page, including a couple with an infant and another with a small child, but those particular pics seem to be missing as of this writing.
Still, it seems that children are the target of this move, much like the tobacco industry used the cartoon character "Joe Camel" to market cigarettes to children and pre-teens.
It's simply propaganda, making firearms and weapons seem "warm and fuzzy" by associating them with Santa Claus.
In addition to efforts like this, working to associate firearms with something positive, they, through the NRA, also work to fight efforts by others to "de-weaponize" childhood, as shown in this column from an NRA bigwig from Christmas 2010. In it he admits that their "fight" for guns is a "cultural" one right after decrying a toy gun exchange event (turn in a toy gun, get a non-gun toy in return).
While the legislative push is meant to make it easier for their members to be able to obtain and carry almost any weapon without regulation, the cultural push is aimed mostly at younger Americans to "help" them grow into adulthood wanting to possess and carry (and use?) more and bigger firearms.
Another aspect of their effort is to introduce people to "gateway" weapons that are one step (OK, maybe two or three) above the toy guns that the NRA so ardently defends.
Like NRA-branded pepper spray (from the website of the vendor) -
Pepper spray may be "non-lethal" (yeah, right) and more socially acceptable than firearms (semi-automatic pistols with high-capacity magazines won't fit on a keychain anyway :) ), but it's still a weapon. And the introduction of weapons of any variety into stressful social situations can lead to chaos. Witness this year's Black Friday:
...A woman in California who pepper-sprayed other shoppers in a Wal-Mart to gain an advantage over those other shoppers in pursuit of one of a limited number of discounted video game systems
...A group of men who shot and critically wounded a shopper at another California Wal-Mart to rob him of his Black Friday purchases...
...At a Fayetteville, NC mall, two men who fired shots near people gathering for Black Friday "deals." No one was hurt and the motive is unknown as of this writing. But hey, at least it wasn't another Wal-Mart..
Think of the opportunities with other holidays!
How about -
"Make your St. Patrick's Day parade the talk of the town...and the county morgue! Hire our leprechaun with a double-barreled shillelagh to lead your parade and work DUI checkpoints! It's better than a breathalyzer!"
"Your children will squeal with delight when they wake up Easter morning and find that the Easter Bunny has left them a basketful of mini-grenades, now in a wide variety of colors, covering the entire Easter palette!"
"Celebrate the New Year with your handy, dandy, .40 caliber noisemaker*! *Except in Arizona. Remember to write to your legislator about repealing the crazy law that was enacted because some darn teenaged honor student got in the way of somebody else's celebratory bullet."
This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.