Per my report published Friday at The Shooter’s Log, actors were used to portray customers in a fake gun shop “public service announcement” produced by States United Against Gun Violence. That information comes from the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media in its response to a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request submitted in March. Additionally, all replica firearms used were evidently “authorized” without official documentation to ensure legality and inventory accountability.
“Actors are interviewed on camera in a fake gun store,” the permits’ scene descriptions reveal. It had previously been known that the “gun store proprietor” behind the counter was an actor — and one who has previously made a living glorifying fake “gun violence” — but up until now, speculation on if the “customers” were also plants has been just that. By presenting their “PSA” as a “social experiment” recorded by “hidden cameras,” viewers have been encouraged to conclude that minds were changed about buying a gun based on CeaseFire’s compelling arguments against owning them.
It also appears that records and permits were not obtained for the fake gun store’s “inventory.” Noting the complexity of special theatrical permit requirements for applicants and dealers, and restrictive New York laws on imitation firearms, it’s surprising to find a fake gun shop can be set up containing hundreds of replica weapons with no paperwork, apparently on just the say-so of on-site NYPD officers. That is, assuming the FOIL reply was completely responsive.
“With regard to your request for ‘any special permits required for … prop/replica firearms used in accordance with State of New York and New York City gun laws for which compliance is required for transport, delivery, receipt, possession and use at the location where the video was recorded,’ we do not have records responsive to your request,” Press Secretary and Communications Manager Marybeth Ihle wrote. “The firearms in question were inspected by the NYPD on site and verified to be props, not real guns, so therefore no permit was required.”
The concern here is to ensure that a group working for more gun laws observed all existing ones. That’s not unfounded after an earlier FOIA request documented how another anti-gun “PSA” producer in Oakland failed to obtain required permissions for bringing a prop gun into a public school.
See The Shooter’s Log report for documents pertaining to the FOIL request and response.