The Washington Post

‘Playthings’ ad is a mortifying warning about gun safety

[posttv url="http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/national/this-gun-safety-ad-does-not-end-how-you-think-it-will/2014/06/26/161f735a-fd65-11e3-beb6-9c0e896dbcd8_video.html" ]

How do you get conservatives to love a gun-safety PSA? Perhaps the secret is to add a dildo. Or two.

Two sex toys are the main attraction in a new gun safety ad called “Playthings” by the group Evolve Together.

The ad’s message encourages parents to keep their guns, like their sex toys, locked away in a place where curious children can’t find them.

“If they find it, they’ll play with it,” a voice intones as two young boys engage in a sword fight with the pink and purple sex toys.

“So always lock up your guns.”

Founded in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre, Evolve Together set out to provide a “neutral ground” for reducing gun violence.

“We’ve recruited gun owners, manufacturers and retailers to sit alongside non-gun owners,” the group’s Web site says. “And for our first act, we need to take back the word ‘safety’ so that it isn’t on either side, but is universal and politically agnostic.”

Gun enthusiast and conservative radio host Dana Loesch called the ad “hysterical” on Twitter and invited Evolve co-founder Rebecca Bond on her radio show.

Not all gun advocates are happy, however. Town Hall’s Katie Pavlich called the ad an “immature” trivialization of gun safety.

“An ad about sex toys is supposed to make us think about an issue as serious as proper firearm storage when kids are in the house?” Pavlich wrote. “The ad isn’t funny. In fact, it’s immature. Instead of promoting safe storage of firearms, it does the opposite by trivializing a serious issue.”

In a statement to Town Hall, Bond explained that humor was part of the strategy to side step the political mine field of gun control and get to the issue of safety:

“Our PSA is humorous, but the message is serious. Parents need to take ownership of safety in the house. If you don’t want kids to play with it, put it away – it’s up to you to keep your stuff locked up. We’re using humor to cut through political correctness and deliver a simple message. Americans can have a serious conversation about firearm safety that doesn’t devolve into a political abyss,” Evolve Together co-founder Rebecca Bond said in a statement.

Abby Phillip is a national political reporter for the Washington Post. She can be reached at abby.phillip@washpost.com. On Twitter: @abbydphillip

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