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Gun Week

 

By David B. Kopel

 

Gun Weekis a newspaper published by the Second Amendment Foundation. For the last several decades, it has served as a leading source of information for news about gun policy, the firearms industry, and recreational gun use.

Gun Weekwas created in 1966, with Neal Knox serving as its first editor. The original publisher was Amos Press in Sidney, Ohio. At the time, Amos Press also published Linn's Stamp News, Coin World, and a daily newspaper in Sidney. The business theory was that the gun field was a similarly hobby-oriented to the stamp and coin fields. Gun Weekoriginally earned substantial revenue from classified ads offering guns for sale, but the Gun Control Act of 1968, which banned almost all mail-order sales, ended that.

In 1985, Gun Weekwas acquired by Alan Gottlieb's Second Amendment Foundation, the first of what would become a large stable of SAF-owned periodicals. Gun Weekremains SAF's flagship. At the time of acquisition, the publication's name was officially changed to The New Gun Week, but no-one ever uses this title. Currently, it is published on the first, tenth, and twentieth day of each month.

Gun Week's most prominent role on the national political stage came during the 1988 Presidential campaign. The same week that the Democratic National Convention was nominating Michael Dukakis for Governor, Gun Weekreported that the Massachusetts Governor had said on June 16, 1986: "You know I don't believe in people owning guns, only the police and military. And I'm going to do everything I can to disarm this state." Dukakis denied making the remarks, but Gun Weekhad witnesses.

As reports of Dukakis's words spread among gun owners (abetted by the Bush campaign and by the National Rifle Association), his support in many rural areas plunged. The gun issue was probably responsible for Dukakis's narrow losses in traditionally Democratic Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Michigan, as well as in Montana, and for Texas voting against Dukakis in a landslide, even though Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen was the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate.

Dukakis had a well-established record on gun control, but the Gun Weekquote made it very difficult for Dukakis surrogates (such as Bentsen, who was A-rated by the NRA) to convince gun-owners that Dukakis was not a serious threat to Second Amendment rights.

 A typical Gun Week issue of 12 or 16 pages includes numerous staff-written original articles, as well as summaries of articles from daily newspapers and mainstream magazines. The masthead proclaims that Gun Weekserves "shooters, collectors, and activists," and the newspaper contains extensive coverage of target matches, hunting news, gun collecting news, firearms business news, and so on. Unlike most monthly gun magazines, Gun Weekrarely runs "how to" articles of hunting tips, self-defense advice, gun cleaning, and so forth.

Gun Week'sgreatest impact has been in its gun control and gun rights stories. Until the mid-1990s when e-mail and the world-wide web became ubiquitous, Gun Weekwas the speediest in-depth source of gun policy news. (The only thing that was faster was the recorded telephone message service from Neal Knox's Firearms Coalition.) For many professionals and serious activists on both sides of the gun policy debate, Gun Weekwas mandatory reading. While Gun Weekhas a very explicit editorial point of view, its stories tend to have much less spin than do the publications from other pro-gun groups or from anti-gun groups.

Every issue of Gun Weekcontains a list of many of the gun shows that will take place in the United States during the next two months.

Executive Editor Joseph P. Tartaro writes a "Hindsight" column (archived from 1994 onward at http://www.saf.org/hindsight.html) which attempts to provide long-term perspective on current controversies. Robert M. Hausman writes extensively on the firearms industry.

Gun Week now has its own website, where, like many periodicals, it makes some but not all of its content available for free. Searchable electronic archives extend from the present back to April 2000.

 

See also: Alan Gottlieb, Neal Knox, Second Amendment Foundation

 

For further information:

 

Gun Week, 267 Linwood Avenue, Buffalo, New York 14209. 716-885-6408. http://www.gunweek.com/

 

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