Wait a minute – NSSF’s SHOT Show Entertainer Might Not Be So “Pro-gun” After All


Wait a minute – NSSF’s SHOT Show Entertainer Might Not Be So “Pro-gun” After All

In my last post about the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s announcement that comedian Bill Engvall would be the featured entertainer for the 2015 SHOT Show’s State of the Industry dinner, I described the comedian as “pro-gun.”

As it turns out, it looks like I may be wrong. While the NSSF described Engvall as a “hunter” and “target shooter,” they left out the fact that he’s apparently one of those “sportsman” who only likes “traditional” hunting rifles and “doesn’t see a need” for people to own guns like an AK-47.

Engvall was picked by the NSSF to replace Jay Leno after the former “Tonight Show” host backed out of a contract to perform at the event due to pressure from anti-gunners.

The blogger “Bitter” over at “Shall Not Be Quesioned” brought up Engvall’s 2011 appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” In that show, when NSNBC’s Alex Wagner said she wanted to “get rid of” the 2nd Amendment, Engvall initially defended gun ownership. “My belief is that if we take away that right to keep and bear arms the only people who have the arms are going to be the ones breaking into your house. I want the right to protect my family,” he said.

Unfortunately, Engvall didn’t stop there. A few seconds later he said, “I don’t believe there’s any reason for a person like me to own an AK-47… I’d be willing to meet you half-way and ban guns where, if you just pull the trigger, 60 bullets fire out. There’s no need. It’s not used for hunting. It would ruin any of the meat.”

I have to question the pro-gun commitment of anyone who describes themselves as an “outdoorsman” who “hunts and fishes” and yet is willing to meet anti-gunners “halfway” and ban any type of gun.

While Engvall seems to be willing to ban machine guns because they are the only type of gun capable of firing multiple shots with one trigger pull, this ignores the fact that machine guns are already very tightly restricted at both the Federal and state levels.

Since no one is really debating the suitability of machine guns for the general public, it seems likely that Engvall has fallen for the anti-gunners deliberate attempts to confuse the public on the difference between true military firearms capable of full-auto fire (such as a military AK-47) and the much more common semi-auto variants of these designs. These semi-auto guns, which the NSSF itself has said are the most popular rifles in America, are under constant attack by the anti-gunners.

Engvall’s attitude is reflective of the (hopefully small) subsection of hunters who primarily view firearms as a tool for hunting and are known for their lukewarm support of other types of firearms.

I’d be more likely to give Engvall the benefit of the doubt if not for this 2012 interview in New Jersey.com (again thanks to Bitter) in which he said:

“Now I don’t think we need to take away guns from people,” he says. “All I said was, ‘I don’t see any point in a civilian owning an AK-47. That’s a military rifle to kill people.’ My Twitter account blew up. All these country fans of mine, and redneck fans were like, ‘Are you a Communist? You can’t take away our guns!’ That’s what happens a lot of times on shows like that. I enjoy doing ’em. But I’ve learned, as little celebrity as I have, you can’t have an opinion anymore.”

From his comments it sounds like Engvall doesn’t regret his beliefs as much as he wishes he hadn’t let us know where he stands.

In light of this, does NSSF’s decision to choose Engvall as the featured performer at the 2015 State of the Industry Dinner send a message as to the trade group’s feelings about common semi-automatic rifles? As Engvall himself would put it, “NSSF, here’s your sign.”

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Rob Reed is a firearms instructor, collector and all around "projectile launcher enthusiast" in the Metro Detroit area. He also writes as the Michigan Firearms Examiner.

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