For Release: Thursday, April 22, 1999
Colorado Tragedy an “Inevitable Result” of Youth Gun Culture
NRA Shrinks Convention, Avoids Scrutiny of Youth Marketing
In the wake of the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado – the latest and deadliest school shooting in America – the Violence Policy Center released a new report documenting the efforts of the National Rifle Association and the firearms industry to recruit children into the gun culture.
“The gun industry needs more customers and the gun lobby needs more contributors. In the face of declining gun ownership nationwide, they have both targeted a new market: youth,” said Josh Sugarmann, the VPC’s executive director. “The tragic, inevitable results of the gun lobby’s focus on youth are visible in Littleton, Springfield, Jonesboro, and too many other towns across America.”
The new report, Start ‘Em Young: Recruitment of Kids to the Gun Culture, includes quotes from leaders of the industry and the gun lobby about their efforts to target kids; photos of advertisements, articles, and photographs illustrating the campaign; a review of school shootings over the past two years; and fact sheets on Colorado’s gun laws and statistics about firearms death in the state.
“By canceling most of its annual convention, the NRA has prevented America from glimpsing its frantic efforts to recruit young new shooters,” Sugarmann said. “In prior years, the convention has been saturated with craven attempts to appeal to kids.”
The cover of the new report, for example, features a photo of a pink-trimmed NRA baby bib sold at last year’s convention.