Rifle Association Gunning for Share of the Restaurant Trade

By Usborne, David | The Independent (London, England), May 21, 2000 | Go to article overview
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Rifle Association Gunning for Share of the Restaurant Trade


Usborne, David, The Independent (London, England)


THEY CALL it the new Disney theme park of America, but the few blocks that comprise New York's Times Square may soon be getting a new attraction that does not entirely fit the image. The National Rifle Association wants to open a themed restaurant there for all those folks who just like guns.

"We believe in family shooting for fun and shooting for enjoyment," was how Wayne LaPierre, the vice president of the NRA, explained the project at the opening of the lobby group's annual convention in North Carolina.

He boasted about plans both for an eatery that would serve wild game dishes such as pheasant and quail, and an arcade with video games and a virtual shooting range.

The announcement startled many people, however, who would prefer not to see bullets over Broadway. "It will go down in history as the worst marketing decision ever," retorted Josh Sugarmann, who has written a book about the NRA and its power. "What will their sign say, `Over a Million Killed'?"

"This is ludicrous," commented Kimberly Mariani, a spokeswoman for the group Handgun Control. "The very New Yorkers who have worked to reduce their crime rate don't want the NRA coming into Times Square and glorifying their culture."

Democrats in New York have also jumped in to ridicule both the plan and the NRA itself, whose president is Charlton Heston. When it is not thinking about menus, the association battles to curb gun control legislation in Washington.

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