A new home shopping channel dedicated to the sale of firearms and related items will launch in January 2016, The Guardian reports.
On Gun TV, viewers will be able to purchase guns, ammunition, concealed-carry holsters, clothing and other accessories. The channel will launch with six hours of programming set to air from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. ET, seven nights a week with the hopes of expanding to 12 and eventually 24 hours a day.
Like other shopping networks, Gun TV will employ presenters and experts — including former law enforcement officers, military personnel and Olympic marksmen — to help describe and demonstrate the products. Gun TV has inked a distribution deal with Sports South, the Shreveport, Louisiana wholesaler that provides guns to Walmart and other stores. The network will operate a 24-hour direct sales network, and purchases can be made online or by phone.
The major difference between Gun TV and channels like QVC is that, due to regulations, the channel will not ship items to the buyer’s home, but to the nearest federally licensed gun shop. The store will then perform the mandatory background check and provide the buyer with the proper paperwork.
Gun TV was co-founded by Doug Bornstein and Valerie Castle, both of whom have experience as consultants or executives for shopping networks. While Gun TV has been in development for a while, news of its existence only recently began to spread, quickly drawing criticism from gun control advocacy groups.
“My gut reaction is this is the last thing we need,” Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told The Desert Sun. “When you look at the number of gun deaths in this country every day, the idea that somebody’s ‘brilliant marketing scheme’ is to get more guns into the hands of more people is just a little bit outrageous.”
Castle, however, told the Palm Springs paper that she and Bornstein believed Gun TV would not exacerbate demand for guns, but cater to what she called America’s “love affair with shooting sports.”
Speaking with The Guardian, she said, “We saw an opportunity in filling a need, not creating one. The vast majority of people who own and use guns in this country, whether it’s home protection, recreation or hunting, are responsible. I don’t really know that it’s going to put more guns on the streets.”
In a promotional video, Gun TV boasted that it would “drive an important social responsibility message” and “address the need for education, information and safety regarding firearms commerce in America, while responsibly offering extraordinary access to purchasing the most diverse representation of firearms in the world.”
Cutilletta acknowledged Gun TV’s safety precautions, including the buyer’s need to pick up their purchase at a licensed dealer and a system that flags those trying to purchase weapons illegal in their state. Still, she cited America’s striking gun violence statistics, including a daily average of 85 shooting deaths a day, which combine to more than 30,000 deaths a year.
“If you’re just flicking through the TV channels and you come across this, it could put the idea into your head of owning a gun,” Cutilletta said. “They’re going to put guns in enticing settings. It will make them very appealing, and that’s a big concern for us — we believe it will increase demand and generate new customers.”