This past weekend I helped to staff the Grass Roots North Carolina booth at the Asheville Gun Show. Soon after setting up and the show opening, a couple in their 60s stopped by and started asking questions about GRNC. They were interested in our organization, what it did, and if we did anything about educating on gun safety. They then said they were with a gun safety organization for kids called Be Smart. After they left, I knew something didn’t seem right so I googled “Be Smart”. Turns out they are a project of Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.
Now I was really suspicious about what they were doing at a gun show of all places. Shortly thereafter, another one of their members stopped by and started asking questions on how to purchase a handgun and then a long gun. I educated him on North Carolina and Federal law regarding both handgun and long gun purchases. In NC, to purchase a handgun, either from a dealer or a private individual, you must either have the Jim Crow-era pistol purchase permit or a NC Concealed Handgun Permit. I also said if he were to purchase a long gun from one of the dealers, he would have a NICS check. This lack of knowledge of NC gun laws really raised the warning flags for me. He left a couple of pieces of their literature with me.
While their card does acknowledge their affiliation with Everytown, you need a magnifying glass to read it. The disclaimer is in gray, ultra-tiny print at the bottom of the card. It is almost like they are trying to hide something.
Later that morning, I went by their booth and saw Project Childsafe gun locks. I asked how they obtained them and was told they got them from the sheriff’s department. Having donated to Project Childsafe in the past, I knew it was a project of NSSF and the gun industry. Given Bloomberg’s billions, that really irritated me so I tweeted about it.
The Bloomberg supported group Be Smart had a booth at the Asheville Gun Show today. They are passing out locks paid for by @NSSF With Bloomberg’s billions, you’d think they could buy their own. Cheap b@8tards. pic.twitter.com/p60yeq61u1— John Richardson 🌻 (@jpr9954) March 4, 2023
That tweet has been seen over 12,000 times and was retweeted another 29 times. I also contacted NSSF and Project Childsafe to alert them that gun locks that they had bought for distribution by authorized groups was being handed out by Be Smart. I got a nice reply back from NSSF Communications Director Bill Brassard thanking me for alerting them to this. I thought that was the end of it.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a tweet from NSSF VP and General Counsel Larry Keane with a link to a story about it. The story on the NSSF news page is entitled, “Bloomberg-Backed Gun Control Swipes Project ChildSafe Kits to Pass Off as Their Own.” My initial tweet which included a picture of the locks provided the basis for their story and they credited me for it. The article by Matt Manda then gave some of the history of Project Childsafe including praise for it by politicians including then-VP Joe Biden.
This is not the first time that the anti-gun, anti-rights forces have been caught relabeling Project Childsafe gun locks and handing them out. Journalist Beth Bauman called them out on it last year. My guess we will see more of it in the future.
I did one other thing. I made sure the gun show promoter was aware of just who Be Smart was and their affiliation with Everytown. I found out they had gotten a free booth at the show by claiming they were “a local group promoting kid’s safety”. Guess who is not going to be allowed back to the gun show.
So, if you see an anti-gun organization handing out gun locks, stop and see how it is labeled. If it says “Project Childsafe” on it, call them out on it. As the saying goes, “See Something; Say Something.”