Skip to main content Skip to main content

Leno Cancels SHOT Show Appearance: So What?

Leno Cancels SHOT Show Appearance: So What?
Photo by: Michael Albov/Creative Commons

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

I was quite surprised when the NSSF sent out a press release announcing former "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno as the feature entertainment for its annual State of the Industry banquet at the SHOT Show. Leno is well-known as a car enthusiast, but I'd never heard of him being a gun owner.

Well, it turns out he must not be one, because under pressure from Bloomberg-financed anti-gun groups, he canceled his appearance. Predictably, a lot of people on our side are saying a lot of nasty things about Leno: I think they are missing the point.

Why, exactly, do we need any mainstream entertainer at our functions? Is an industry dinner somehow a bigger or more important event because a comedian, of whatever stature, is telling jokes? The Leno booking was a departure: previous dinners have seen a long string of country music figures, who presumably are immune to pressure from Bloomberg front groups.


The gun culture has always stood outside the celebrity culture, and I've always thought that a good thing. But celebrification has come through our windows, too, with well-known musicians, athletes and reality television stars hawking products. I'm not wild about it, but you can take that with a grain of salt if you want, since celebrity endorsement fees are usually paid with money robbed from magazine advertising budgets.


Tying yourself to a celebrity can backfire, as I am sure Jell-O is finding these days with its former pitchman Bill Cosby in hot water over rape allegations. In our own industry, Ted Nugent has caused his endorsement partners sleepless nights with some of his more acerbic commentary and violations of game laws. But gun culture is part of American culture, so I guess we are along for the celebrity ride, like it or not. Just no Kardashians, if you please.

If Leno doesn't want endlessly to be hassled by Bloomberg-funded astroturf groups over one night's work, I can't really blame him. I would point out, however, that anti-gunners primarily watch Letterman.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Firearms News Takes a Look at the Aero Precision 7.5-Inch AR Pistol Upper In 5.56

Firearms News Takes a Look at the Aero Precision 7.5-Inch AR Pistol Upper In 5.56

Vincent DeNiro, editor of Firearms News, does some shooting with the Aero Precision Atlas S-One 7.5-Inch AR pistol upper in 5.56.

Rival Arms

Rival Arms' Precision-Upgraded Glock 48

New from Rival Arms for 2019; introduced at NRA Show in Indianapolis.

Pulsar Thermion Thermal Scope

Pulsar Thermion Thermal Scope

Want to hit a target in the dark? Patrick Sweeney will tell you how to use the Pulsar Thermion thermal scope.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Firearms News App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Firearms News stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now