In response to petition, Leno cancels appearance at gun industry trade show.
The Newtown Action Alliance, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Campaign to Unload have applauded comedian Jay Leno’s decision to cancel his appearance at the 2015 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show), an annual event sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the gun industry. Leno’s cancellation comes just hours after the three gun violence prevention groups had launched a petition calling on him to take this action.
Leno personally called Po Murray, the chairman of Newtown Action Alliance, to inform her of the cancellation. He said he was unaware that the NSSF was a pro-gun lobbying group based in Newtown, Connecticut—the site of a tragic mass shooting in December 2012 that claimed the lives of six adults and 20 children ages 6-7. As Leno told Mother Jones magazine in separate remarks, “I understand it’s Newtown, and of course I get it. It’s just, sometimes, mistakes get made.”
“I’m not at all surprised that Jay didn’t understand that the NSSF is part of the gun lobby,” said Murray. “Before the Sandy Hook shootings, I had no idea they existed, and they’re right here in my community! I am thrilled that Jay changed his mind once he had full information. It is so appreciated by those of us in Newtown.”
Jennifer Fiore, the executive director of the Campaign to Unload, added, “I’m grateful that Jay has seen the NSSF for what it really is: a corporate lobbying group that puts money over morality, no matter how many families are destroyed by its products.”
“We are sincerely grateful to Mr. Leno for making this decision so quickly after it was brought to his attention,” said Josh Horwitz, the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “It shows that he cares about all the Americans whose lives have been turned upside down by gun violence. And that speaks to the man’s character.”
Vigil of Mourning and Remembrance
Since the Sandy Hook shooting, more than 60,000 Americans have died from gun violence. To commemorate the second anniversary of that tragic event, a vigil of mourning and remembrance will take place at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, December 11, 2014.
George Higgins, acting director of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence, will travel to Washington for the vigil. To join him, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the vigil, visit http://newtownaction.org/2014-national-vigil/.