A group supporting tougher gun laws is holding a protest outside the headquarters of the gun industry's national trade association and lobby organization in Newtown.
Twenty first-graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook school in the town more than a year ago.
Members of the Newtown Action Alliance are gathering this morning outside the offices of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The alliance says it's protesting the gun industry's record of selling military-style assault rifles used in mass shootings while opposing new laws to prevent gun violence.
"We understand that there are gun rights, but the increasing lethality of these weapons has got to stop," Ron Pinciaro, of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, said.
The rally comes a day before the foundation's annual trade show and conference begins a four-day run in Las Vegas.
"These gun manufacturers are targeting our children with their marketing materials. They are reaching out to our kids through visuals that are appealing to our kids," State Rep. Kim Fawcett said.
The foundation represents more than 9,500 federally licensed firearms manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
The foundation says the alliance's characterization of the gun industry is wrong, and they are committed to improving public safety.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation released the following statement:
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is proud to represent America’s firearms and ammunition industry and to operate the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) Show on their behalf for the ultimate benefit of the millions of Americans who lawfully and safely own firearms.
While we respect the First Amendment rights of all Americans, we firmly reject the purposeful mischaracterization of our trade association and of the lawful business activities our members conduct.
To address one such mischaracterization, our members do not sell “assault weapons” to the American public. Calling semiautomatic rifles that resemble, but are not military firearms, is purposely misleading and intended to confuse the public.
NSSF and our members are committed to improving public safety. Before the 2014 SHOT Show got under way in Las Vegas, we brought our ongoing Project ChildSafe initiative to the city in a launch that included county officials, law enforcement and a representative of Sen. Harry Reid’s office. In the last decade, we have distributed more than 36 million gun locks through this program in cooperation with 15,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide.
NSSF also runs an anti-straw purchasing retailer education and public awareness program called Don’t Lie for the Other Guy that was formed in cooperation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
NSSF is also working to ensure that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is strengthened by working in the states to ensure that all appropriate records, including adjudicated mental health records, are sent to NICS. Just last week, the State of Nebraska committed to making sure all its records were submitted.
We all abhor the criminal misuse of firearms. We understand that emotions run strong. But it is important to keep in mind that the Department of Justice and the Pew Research Center have both documented a dramatic 30-year downward trend in the use of firearms in violent crime, even as our nation’s population and the number of guns owned by Americans has risen significantly.