For a few days in March, a gun store opened on Manhattan’s Lower-East Side…or at least it appeared to be a gun store. The sign on the storefront read “Gun Shop,” and behind the counter was a wall displaying what appeared to be shotguns and rifles. A glass display case was filled with looked like handguns. A clerk stood behind the counter. People could walk right in from the street and look around.
The thing is, the clerk was an actor. And if you talked to him, you’d have been on camera.
The “clerk” would show a gun to customers. Then he’d tell them they were holding an actual gun that was used to kill someone—maybe even a child.
The ruse was staged by a group called States United to Prevent Gun Violence (SUPGV). They rented out an art studio, filled it with props, and used the scene to make a video on why people shouldn’t get a gun for self-defense, or for any other purpose. They call the video “Guns With History.”
The video was bizarre, and inaccurate. Some of the prop guns were replicas of firearms that are banned from sale in New York City and State. But realism wasn’t SUPGV’s goal. They wanted to point out that any gun can potentially be used to harm someone (so can any knife, baseball bat or automobile, but maybe that’s too obvious), but did not acknowledge that guns are also used in defense of life, as well as for hunting and sport.
Even more absurd, as The Washington Post uncovered, is that the actor hired to portray the clerk in the fake New York City gun store was Ned Luke. Luke previously did the voice for one of the lead characters—Michael De Santa—in the very violent 2013 video game “Grand Theft Auto V.”
And of course the video also didn’t point out that guns should be stored, handled, and used in a mature, responsible manner, which is why the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for firearms manufacturers, funds Project Child Safe and many more safety-oriented programs.