As part of its multi-year, ongoing national effort to help prevent illegal “straw” purchases of firearms, the National Shooting Sports Foundation is reminding the public in and around the cities of Chicago, as well as Detroit and Flint, Mich., that stiff penalties are in place for individuals convicted of such purchases.
Billboard advertisements for the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy program are being purchased by NSSF in key locations in the Chicago, Detroit and Flint markets with the message: “Buy a gun for someone who can’t and buy 10 years in jail. Whatever you do . . . Don’t Lie for the Other Guy . . .” In addition, two radio ads will run in rotation more than 4,500 times in these markets.
More than 32 million total media impressions will be delivered in February and March through the public-education program, which is being funded by the firearms industry. The billboards for this campaign will feature a new and more striking design.
“Don’t Lie” was formed as a cooperative program between ATF and NSSF. The effort was developed over a decade ago to raise public awareness about the seriousness of the crime of purchasing a firearm for someone who cannot legally do so. The program also helps educate firearms dealers so they can be better prepared to deter potential straw purchases.
The public campaign drives home the message that anyone attempting an illegal firearm purchase faces a stiff federal felony penalty of up to 10 years in jail or up to $250,000 in fines.
To legally purchase a firearm, a person must be able to pass an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check and fully comply with state and local laws. When a criminal knows he cannot pass this check, he may try to induce a friend or other person to make the purchase on his behalf, which is known as a straw purchase and is a felony.
“Our goal is to raise awareness among residents of Chicago, Detroit, Flint and the surrounding areas through billboards and radio ads that there are serious consequences for illegally straw purchasing a firearm,” said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. “Federally licensed firearms retailers are on the front line every day working to prevent illegal purchases. This warning can help deter an illegal purchase long before a person steps into a store.”
This public awareness campaign constitutes only part of the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy outreach effort. The full Don’t Lie for the Other Guy program, which also involves educating firearms retailers to better detect and prevent straw purchases, has been rolled out in major cities throughout the country and has run before along the U.S.-Mexican border and in several other metropolitan areas from Boston to San Diego.
This is a campaign that ATF has called “vital” and “an important tool for ATF as it pursues its mission of preventing terrorism, reducing violent crime, and protecting the nation.” In the retailer segment, federal firearms licensees are provided a Don’t Lie for the Other Guy retailer kit. Each kit contains a training video and informational brochure for storeowners and staff, as well as point-of-purchase displays aimed to deter illegal straw purchases.
“The firearms industry is proud of its longstanding cooperative relationship with the ATF and the entire law enforcement community by assisting them in their efforts to combat the criminal acquisition and misuse of firearms,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.
Learn more about Don’t Lie for the Other Guy at dontlie.org.