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Gun Control Advocates Take Aim At LivingSocial for Promoting Guns and Alcohol

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, May 13 2013

"The days of the Old West are behind us, but that doesn't mean we can't still pretend to be cowboys," says this ad.

A coalition of advocacy groups is launching a new campaign this week against the promotion of American gun culture.

The campaign focuses on the daily deals site Living Social, which hasn't stopped promoting social events Hunter S. Thompson would have loved (they promote shooting off guns and letting off steam and drinking.)

The left-leaning coalition, made up of Corporate Accountability International, CREDO Action, the Gun Truth Project and Momsrising, says that Living Social should instead rebrand itself as 'Dying Social," because of what it says are irresponsible promotions for social events at gun ranges that include meals and drinks after the events. The deals act as marketing for the gun industry, glorifies "the foolish combination of guns and drinking," and encourages alcohol-driven bravado, the coalition alleges. It wants LivingSocial to stop offering promotions of any kind related to guns, or gun ranges, just as competitor GroupOn did in January.

Certainly the language of some of the ads does seem to promote the macho idea that drinking and shooting are cool. One ad aimed at shooters in Seattle, Washington entitled "Shootin'+ Drinkin' + Round-Trip Transportation," reads: "Fun fact: George Washington loved to shoot a gun. And, like every good American, he also loved good tipple. Think you've got what it takes to run the country? Try a day doing the things that old school way with this Adventure: A day of gun shootin' and beer drinkin' that would be fit for any of the Founding Fathers."

That's just one of several others like it for other deals around the country. CREDO is gathering signatures for a petition to send to the company to end these kinds of promotions. Combined, the coalition has just under seven million subscribers to their e-mail lists.

This is a culture battle that is just the beginning. In February, when I talked with Brandon Combs of the Firearms Policy Coalition, he described his own group's grassroots tactics of promoting gun culture, which among other things involves getting Second Amendment advocates to talk about gun ownership rights to their friends and strangers at every opportune moment, and hosting booths at agricultural conventions.

LivingSocial did not get back to techPresident about this new campaign at the time of this blog post.