Many readers probably know of, or have seen the new NRA Freestyle series, Noir. Hosted by popular YouTube gun enthusiast Colion Noir and Amy Robbins, the show seeks to add a pop-culture spin to all things firearms. Those who have yet to watch it would do well to give it a chance. The NRA clearly understands the need to appeal to younger gun owners and this show seems to be geared towards that crowd. While the execution is far from perfect, the concept has potential. It is clear that NRA producers tried to mimic the same overall feel in Noir to that of Colion’s YouTube vidoes. Unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the show has drawn the ire of many anti-gun blogs and publications across the internet, namely Vocativ, ThinkProgress, and Gawker.
The seemingly unanimous belief shared by vocal critics of the series is that the NRA has chosen to produce Noir in an effort to “convince young people that guns are cool”. This is perhaps the most out of touch and preposterous thing I have heard in months. I hate to break this, but the NRA are not the ones selling the guns these days. Rather, film, games, and television are the dominant outlets responsible for young growth in the firearms community. I speak from personal experience when I say that young firearm enthusiasts overwhelmingly associate guns with their favorite pop-culture icons in films and games. To that point, I am certain that James Bond has sold more PPKs than anyone in history and the Resident Evil series of games has no doubt served as inspiration for at least a few Beretta 92 projects. While Noir attempts to bridge the gap between entertainment and real-life gun ownership, it certainly is not intended to drive demand.
Furthermore, the criticism levied towards Colion Noir is not only tired and ridiculous, but also encroaches on racism. The hypocrisy in the left’s collective reaction to Colion’s hiring has been alarming. It seems as though these people believe that all African-Americans must subscribe to a uniform set of beliefs. How is that not a bigoted perspective? Some bloggers have even gone so far as to accuse him of being a “token black guy” or worse, an “Uncle Tom”. That someone could be considered an “Uncle Tom” simply because he enthusiastically defends his constitutional rights is beyond absurd. To assume that a young black man who has been producing quality YouTube pieces for years was hired only because of his race is most definitely a bigoted viewpoint. Of course, these writers conveniently forget that Colion has been somewhat of a YouTube celebrity for a few years now. To them, the big, bad NRA created Colion.
Lastly, the Vocativ piece emphasizes that “young people overwhelmingly support gun control”. According to a study done by American University, 60 percent of high school and college students have seriously considered owning a firearm in the future. Meanwhile, a Harvard study performed shortly after Sandy Hook revealed that 18-29 year olds were evenly split on stricter gun laws. The integrity of using 15-month-old data notwithstanding, 49% support is not even a simple majority. Based on the above evidence, it is very difficult to believe that there is “overwhelming support” among millenials for stricter gun laws.
In future episodes, I hope to see a little less of the pop-culture side of things and a little more substance as far as firearms are concerned. I think a longer format with fewer segments and more detailed reviews alongside deeper political discussions would still work very well. The pop-culture aspects can certainly stay, but would still be successful if toned down some. Still, the show is worth a watch.
American University study: http://www.american.edu/media/news/20120114_Gun_Poll_High_School_College_Students.cfm
(I will not be linking to the Vocativ, ThinkProgress, or Gawker articles. Feel free to search them out.)