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Honesty for Thee, But Not for Me
How a New Grabber Group Is Deceptive
in Exposing Supposed Deception

by Sean Oberle

October 15, 2001 -- On October 1, in conjunction with the anti-gun event First Monday, the Alliance for Justice and Physicians for Social Responsibility launched Gun Industry Watch (GIW). Its supposed purpose is for students to “monitor gun industry and National Rifle Association (NRA) practices surrounding the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of guns and [to] take direct action aimed at gun makers and the gun lobby.” Among the group’s goals are:

Therefore, I find it breathtakingly hypocritical that in its first criticism of NRA practices, GIW itself issued a deceptive press release. On October 4, just three days after its inception, the group attacked an October 2 NRALive web broadcast ( titled “Canada Targets Gun Control...Ignoring Real Threat of Terrorism”.  (See

GIW claims that the segment “includes an array of accusations that the Canadian government's enforcement of gun licensing and registration allowed terrorist cells to proliferate and ‘contributed’ to the September 11th attacks on the U.S.”

Note that GIW quotes just a single word: “contributed.” Whenever someone quotes just one word, I’m always suspicious that they are distorting what actually was said – you know, like when movie companies say a reviewer called a movie “stupendous” and “astounding” when the reviewer actually wrote, “The flaws in this movie were stupendous. It is astounding that such a horrible work made it out of the editing room.”

Well, Gun Industry Watch is nearly that deceptive in its portrayal of the NRA segment. The web broadcast involves an interview with Canadian Parliament member Garry Breitkreuz, who complains that the government of which he is a member has spent nearly half a billion dollars – already – on an failing gun registration scheme while cutting back on the military, border security and police. Among his concerns are that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and border patrol have seen cuts and that the port police have been eliminated altogether.

After Breitkreuz expresses these concerns, the following exchange occurs (emphasis mine):

NRA INTERVIEWER:  “You don’t want to point the finger of blame, but do you feel like Canada has allowed these terrorists to multiply, in a sense, and may have CONTRIBUTED to what happened here on the 11th?”

BREITKREUZ:  “I don’t have any firm evidence, but the evidence that seems to be coming forth now appears to be that way. It appears as if people have been using Canada, as a country, because we have not gotten tough on these people when we’ve discovered that they are here. We do no get rid of them. We don’t screen them properly before they come…”

Asking a question and receiving an indefinite answer is not the same thing as making an allegation. The horrible thing here, however, is that Gun Industry Watch is exploiting youth to spread this deceptive propaganda.

Incidentally, it appears that to Gun Industry Watch, “deceptive advertising” will be defined as failure by the gun industry to spread the anti-gun propaganda of Arthur Kellerman, whose junk science has been roundly discredited during the past two decades. 

On October 3, the group issued a press release in response to the increase in firearm sales following the terrorist attacks. The group said it would be “informing consumers about the dangers of gun ownership by handing out fact sheets and leaflets at gun dealerships across the country”.  (See

In those leaflets will be factoids from three Kellerman studies.

According to the press release: 

“ ‘The gun industry has spent years and millions of dollars convincing American families that a gun in the home will make them safe when statistics show us exactly the opposite is true,’ added [Alliance for Justice President Nan] Aron. ‘At a time when Americans are feeling most vulnerable, we do not want them to fall prey to this misleading advertising. Students are determined to get the facts out.’ ”

If this is a taste of what’s to come out of this group, then I suppose that we will need a Gun Industry Watch Watch.

[Gun shop owners targeted by GIW have permission to make copies of this article and distribute them to customers harassed by the group. Students whose campuses have been targeted for exploitation have similar permission.]

Sean Oberle is a Featured Writer and gun control analyst for He can be reached at View other articles from him at

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