When The NRA Talks About Gun Safety, It Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means.

With all the talk about how easy it is to get a gun through the internet, it figures that sooner or later gun dealers would start using wireless apps to spread the word about products, prices and where a gun nut should go if he wants to pick up another gun.  And the company that is kicking off this new venue is owned by a family now in its third generation of using media to promote guns.  The company, GunDealio, is the brainchild of Tom and Ryan Gresham, whose father and grandfather respectively was ‘Grits’ Gresham, who got into outdoor sports journalism and was host of the ABC television show, American Sportsman, from 1966 until 1979.

The new company is another offshoot of the Gresham media empire called GunTalk Media, which produces television and radio shows about guns and shooting and in particular is known for a radio show called GunTalk, which is syndicated nationally and usually plays Sunday afternoons on whatever AM talk-radio station captures the gun-owning crowd.

grits                The GunDealio app, which can be downloaded to iOS or Google, allows gun dealers to list whatever special deals will get customers into their stores.  As the number of app-holders grows, the plan is to let each gun shop push a notice or ad onto the mobile devices of everyone in the market area of that store, which means that as someone goes cruising down the street on the way to wherever they want to go, all of a sudden they’ll get a text or a pic which tells them to make a quick turn right in order to stop off and save thirty bucks on a new Glock.

It doesn’t surprise me that the Greshams or someone else would sooner or later come up with a mobile app that promotes the sale of guns.  Gun buyers are first and foremost hobbyists, they love to wander in and out of multiple stores and they’ll think nothing of taking off on a Saturday afternoon after they’ve finished the ‘honey-dos’ and driving fifty or a hundred miles to drop into two or three gun shops.

What I found interesting about the GunDealio story was not the use of mobile sales ‘push’ technology, which is becoming a standard part of sales and marketing strategies no matter what consumer product category is being discussed.  Rather, that I found interesting was the description of the mission of GunTalk Media which, according to the Greshams, produce shows that focus on “firearms, hunting and personal safety.”

Whoa!  Personal safety?  You mean media productions that explain the hows and whys of using guns in a safe way?  Just goes to show how little I really understand about an industry with which I have been involved for nearly forty years.  Because when the Greshams talk about ‘personal safety,’ they’re not talking about locking the guns or locking them away.  Actually, they get a fair share of advertising from companies that manufacture gun safes, but that has nothing to do with gun safety from their point of view.

What the Greshams mean when they use the term ‘gun safety’ is what the entire gun industry really means when they trot out that phrase, namely, how to use a gun to protect yourself from crime because –read the rest of this sentence closely – that’s the most important reason to own a gun.  I took a look at the last 10 podcasts listed on the show’s website, and half dealt primarily with products for self-defense.

Grandpa Gresham, who got the whole family into gun media in the first place, was an outspoken guy who wrote nine books on hunting and fishing and, as far as I can recall, never spoke about using guns for anything other than hunting and sport.  And that’s what the gun business was all about before the crazies took over the NRA and invented the stupid and cynical, but ultimately successful marketing strategy known as armed, self-defense.   Too bad the legacy of sportsmen like Grits Gresham is disappearing thanks to the efforts of people who bear his name.

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