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While the Gun Industry Parties, Kids Die: What You Should Know About SHOT Show

Every January, thousands of firearm, ammunition, and accessory manufacturers and importers gather in Las Vegas to show off their new products at the largest trade show of its kind

What is SHOT Show?

The annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show is the gun industry’s biggest event of the year. Held in Las Vegas and hosted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), this closed-door event is open only to exhibitors, potential customers who buy in bulk—including gun wholesalers, retailers, and military and law enforcement personnel—and media outlets that regularly cover firearms.

What happens at SHOT Show?

According to its website, SHOT Show boasts “2,500+ exhibits, education and training sessions and plenty [sic] new networking opportunities.”

A few of SHOT Show’s events:

  • Range Day: Ahead of the show, attendees are shuttled into the desert to test hundreds of new guns at a massive shooting range.
  • New Products: In 2022, Wee1 Tactical debuted the “JR-15,” a scaled-down version of an AR-15 … just for kids!
  • Convention: SHOT Show’s website boasts “13.9 miles of aisles” of guns, ammunition, and gear.
  • Concerts and Parties: Attendees can kick back and celebrate the gun industry’s record profits while Americans mourn their stolen loved ones.

Why does it matter?

SHOT Show symbolizes how far removed the gun industry is from the real-world consequences of its deadly products. SHOT Show is replete with “innovations” that make weapons more deadly or that circumvent federal law—including triggers that simulate automatic weapons fire, braces that create easily concealable short-barreled rifles, and untraceable “ghost guns.”

Several devastating, high-profile mass shootings were carried out with assault weapons made by NSSF members and SHOT show exhibitors, including:

  • Several of the weapons recovered after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting;
  • The Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used in the 2022 Buffalo shooting;
  • The Daniel Defense AR-15-style rifle used in the 2022 Uvalde shooting; and 
  • The Smith & Wesson AR-15-style rifle used in the 2022 Highland Park shooting.

The organization that fights the hardest to prevent the firearms industry from being held accountable for its role in endangering the public is the same one that sponsors the SHOT Show: The NSSF, which derives over 75 percent of its revenue from the show itself.1ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, “National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc: Audit for period ending March 2019,” accessed November 13, 2022,; ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer, “National Shooting Sports Foundation,” IRS Form 990 Filing March 2020,

While the National Rifle Association remains mired in scandal and legal troubles, the NSSF has tried to fill the void and is increasingly influential in the halls of Congress and statehouses across the country. The NSSF isn’t as well known as the NRA, but it shares many of the same goals, is just as extreme, and exacerbates our gun violence epidemic. 

One reason the gun industry has refused to act in the face of the gun violence epidemic is because it is uniquely protected. Its historic bodyguard, the NRA, has seen to it that the industry enjoys broad immunity from lawsuits and that information about the sellers of crime guns is hard to come by, even though these protections have nothing to do with the Second Amendment rights of individuals.

What does a well-protected, indifferent gun industry get us?

Each year, more than 43,000 Americans are killed with guns, and roughly 76,000 more are shot and wounded. For the approximately $9 billion in revenue the gun industry enjoys each year, it externalizes the over $557 billion of costs of gun violence on the rest of us.

The NRA and the NSSF know the danger of gun violence — and that is clearly on display at SHOT Show. Attendees have to go through security to enter the expo, and the SHOT Show site expressly states: “NO personal firearms or ammunition allowed. Only firearms on display by exhibitors whose firing pins have been removed (and have been inspected by SHOT Show Safety Advisors) will be permitted on the show floor” [emphasis added].

What can we do?

SHOT Show’s guidelines make it clear: Behind closed doors, the gun industry recognizes the importance of limiting guns in sensitive places. But it’s long past time for the gun industry to stop pushing to keep that same protection out of reach for the American public.

Guns are the number one killer of children and teens in the United States. We’re holding the gun industry’s killer business accountable for creating a nation of gun violence survivors—and you can join us. 

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