So the the family have busied themselves this weekend putting up the Christmas trees. Plural. It brought me back to memories of national publicity Guns Save Life garnered over a throwaway comment I made to Stretch Ledford as he was setting up to do an interview with me in 2012 at my place of work. Just as we got ready to record, I mentioned that my Christmas tree had a handgun as an ornament.
“You’re kidding me,” Stretch said, utterly in disbelief.
“No, I’m serious.”
So he followed me home and walked into the house with me. Sure enough, there it was.
His boring old interview turned interesting and then some. Ultimately it landed us as the top story on The Atlantic, giving us hundreds of thousands if not millions of eyeballs who generally aren’t necessarily pro-gun.
From The Atlantic, December 21, 2012:
John Boch, the president of GunsSaveLife.com, isn’t joking about his Christmas tree decorations. He and the members of the organization firmly believe more firearms in the hands of trained citizens are the route to a safer society. Based in Illinois, the nonprofit is dedicated to protecting the rights of gun owners and promoting education around gun safety. On the GunsSaveLife.com blog, Boch concurred with recent remarks from the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre, focusing on gun-free zones as the problem, not the solution to school shootings.
Charles “Stretch” Ledford, a filmmaker and assistant professor of multimedia journalism at the University of Illinois, tackles this highly polarizing issue in a short documentary, below, called Handguns and Humor in the Heartland: A Gun Rights Group’s Unlikely Activism. Ledford spent this past summer and fall meeting members of G.S.L. and documenting their slogan-powered publicity effort, which dots the sides of highways with signs like the classic Burma Shave signs. In the documentary, members speak candidly about their values, providing a more nuanced look at the pro-gun side of the national debate raging in the wake of the Newtown tragedy.