Changing opinions: one person at a time: FMG Publications and P2K Shooting Range host First Shots Media Day.

Author:Smith, Roxanne
 
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FMG Publications teamed with Project 2000 (P2K) Shooting Range in San Diego in May to host the first-ever First Shots Media Day. FMG invited members of the local media to the range to learn about firearm safety and shooting through NSSF's First Shots program.

NSSF President Steve Sanetti was on hand for the event, along with Cyndi Dalena, First Shots director. FMG staff and the staff of P2K Shooting Range hosted the event.

"What we want to convey to them is shooting is fun, shooting is safe and the people who do it are responsible, regular Americans. We hope to give them a better understanding of what guns are about, what shooters are about, and a little bit about what the industry is about," Sanetti said.

The majority of media who attended the event had no experience with firearms.

"I write about my life and my adventures, and I have never held a gun," said Barbarella, a columnist for the San Diego Reader. "They scare me and I just want to understand how it works and to touch one and not be so freaked out by it."

The nervousness coupled with curiosity was echoed by several participants, and was a strong factor in why First Shots Media Day was held, according to Randy Molde, FMG promotions director.

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"We're concerned with how the mainstream media portrays guns and the shooting sports," Molde said. "Many of their reports are completely inaccurate, suggesting that guns are evil and anybody who owns or handles one must be evil, too. As we in the industry know, that's simply not true. We felt the First Shots program gave us a great opportunity to dispel myths and help educate the local media on the different types of guns and safe shooting activities available."

Educating The Media

Media representatives learned about firearms, safety and the industry from Sanetti, Dalena and FMG publishers Roy Huntington and Russ Thurman, and then fired handguns, rifles and shotguns.

"It was not as ominous as I expected. It's less negative to me. This was fun, and it's exciting and it's not people going crazy about their guns--it's a And I can see that now," said.

Molde says providing a hands-on experience with several types of guns in a controlled and safe environment cleared up some misconceptions have about guns.

"Many of them realized shooting is a safe, nonviolent activity, and they liked it. It also reinforced and fact that we're a self-policing industry--we care about promoting the safety and responsibility...

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