The campaign encourages people to buy a gun online, and then pick an “at-risk” neighborhood to which another gun will be shipped to someone to better protect themselves.
The National Rifle Association on Wednesday said an elaborate online campaign under its name to give away guns in “at-risk neighborhoods” to “increase the safety” is a hoax.
A screengrab of Sharethesafety.org
Complete with a website, press releases, a social media presence, and even spokesman to take media calls, the campaign fooled many online.
But the website appears to be an elaborate hoax that copied the fonts and layout of the NRA's website for the ruse.
“No, that's a hoax. It's a spoof,” an NRA representative told BuzzFeed News. “It appears that someone skinned our website, font, and put their own content in.”
The campaign encourages people to purchase a handgun online, then pick a high-crime neighborhood to which another gun will be delivered to “make an underprivileged American safer, while treating yourself to that Smith & Wesson you’ve always dreamt of.”
A screengrab of sharethesafety.org.
“There's no way that the NRA or Smith & Wesson would be behind a program like that,” the NRA rep told BuzzFeed News.
The gun rights organization became aware of the spoof Wednesday, and had been fielding calls all day from journalists asking about the program.
The NRA was still looking into who might be behind the hoax.
Whoever it is appeared to have gone to great lengths, and time, to make the campaign look legitimate.
Twitter and Facebook accounts connected to the campaign appeared to have been active for weeks, posting and retweeting gun rights content.
A news release posted online also appears at first glance to be posted by the NRA's lobbying arm, NRA Institute for Legislative Action. But the url, nrapress.org, does not in fact appear on the organization's real media page or list of news releases.