A website touting a gun-sharing program for “at-risk neighborhoods” prompted questions and speculation across social media on Wednesday, as well as a denial by the NRA that it was affiliated with what appeared to be an elaborate hoax.
Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, National Rifle Association spokeswoman Amy Hunter said the organization “would never be affiliated with anything like that, and neither would Smith & Wesson,” the firearms manufacturer mentioned on the website, sharethesafety.org.
Asked if she knew who might have created the website, Hunter said she did not know, adding that the NRA had contacted its attorneys about the matter.
The site encourages visitors to “buy a gun, give a gun to an American in an at-risk neighborhood.”
“You know how important it is to protect your family,” reads a statement on the homepage, which features photos of people armed with apparent handguns, and others draped in the American flag. “But you may not know that some of America’s poorest citizens cannot afford to arm themselves against those who would limit their freedoms. That’s why the (NRA) is proud to partner with Smith & Wesson to Share the Safety.”
Above photos and descriptions of three Smith & Wesson handguns, ShareTheSafety.org describes how the purported program “works”:
- Buy a Gun: Choose one of the premium models below.
- Pick a Place: Peruse our selection of at-risk neighborhoods.
- We’ll Deliver: A suitable gun will be given to someone in need.
The site was prompting various reactions on Twitter and Facebook, with some people reacting with outrage, others with support, and still others with puzzlement.
I've just spent the last hour absolutely *insisting* this is a hoax. I'm right, right? RIGHT? https://t.co/xlzP1t1oxG
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 22, 2016
— rob delaney (@robdelaney) June 22, 2016