GunTV: 1st live arms shopping channel launched in US amid shootings

© GunTV
A first-ever US home shopping channel selling and delivering small arms will start airing in early 2016, media says. In the wake of the recent mass shooting, there are serious concerns the arms-centric TV will promote “gun culture.”

Online or TV shopping is part of everyday life. But few, however, think shopping platforms may offer something other than electronics, home appliances or jewelry. The new American channel - called GunTV and with the slogan “extraordinary live shopping” - will advertise and sell firearms, ammunition and accessories featuring renowned weapons experts to promote the products on sale.

If viewers see a weapon at a price they deem reasonable, they may buy it by simply clicking the relevant slot online or dialing a toll-free number. According to the Guardian, regulations would restrict direct deliveries meaning that an order shall undergo checks by nearest federally licensed gun retailer with necessary background screening and paperwork to be done.

Amid mounting debates in the US on private gun ownership, the executives say GunTV is designed to meet, not generate, consumer demand.

“We saw an opportunity in filling a need, not creating one,” Valerie Castle, one of the co-founders of the channel, told the Guardian. “I don’t really know that it’s going to put more guns on the streets,” she added.

Both Castle and her husband, Doug Bornstein, have rich experience in consulting TV executives on development of home shopping, saying the rationale behind setting up the GunTV was “a broad range of the most in-demand products in the firearms market.”

Gun TV will air from 1am to 7am ET, 7 days per week with a prospective 24/7 broadcast to come in about one year, according to the Guardian. The channel’s logo shows a bullet whizzing through the words Gun TV accompanied with a tagline: “Live shopping. Fully loaded.”

Those advocating stricter gun control say the new TV channel will hardly bring more safety to the US citizens.

“My gut reaction is this is the last thing we need,” Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a national nonprofit based in San Francisco, told the Desert Sun. “When you look at the number of gun deaths in this country every day, the idea that somebody’s ‘brilliant marketing scheme’ is to get more guns into the hands of more people is just a little bit outrageous.”

Castle and Bornstein are based in California, close to Palm Springs, with Gun TV’s holding corporation based in Delaware. Some social media users have spotted that the channel’s parent company is named ‘Social Responsibility Network’, apparently in sharp contrast to the product offering on GunTV.

According to open sources, the US has witnessed at least 40 shootings in 2015, including cases involving a minimum of four fatalities each. Such cases are qualified by the FBI as a mass shooting, shootingtracker.com, a website that aggregates gun violence data reported by the media, reports. Under a broader definition used by the website, there were 355 cases in 2015 with at least four people injured or killed by gunfire, including the perpetrator(s).

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Earlier on Thursday two suspects – a man and woman – were confirmed dead during a shoot-out with police officers in San Bernardino, US, following a shooting at the Inland Regional Center that left 14 people dead and 17 injured. The shooting occurred on Wednesday morning when the two armed suspects carrying assault rifles and wearing balaclavas opened fire at around 11am in a large conference room where San Bernardino County Health Department employees were gathered.