The NRA is not actually donating guns to 'at-risk Americans'

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The NRA Is Not Actually Donating Guns to 'At-Risk Americans'

The National Rifle Association isn't actually giving out free guns to people in poor, urban areas. But a dedicated hoax campaign sure wanted to make it seem that way.

A narrator in a fake ad campaign said: "Too many poor Americans have never known the pride and security that comes from owning a firearm. Won't you help share the freedom and responsibility that you enjoy?"

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"Share the Safety" seems to be modeled after the "buy one, donate one" business strategy used by TOMS shoes and Warby Parker glasses. The campaign claims that for every gun they sell, they'll donate one firearm to "an at-risk American citizen in the urban center of their choice."

Again — that's all fake. Despite the official-looking website, Twitter account and press release, there's no such program called "Share the Safety." Both the NRA and gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson, also implicated in the hoax, denied they were involved in the campaign's creation.

But for an internet prank, it's an extensive one. Several outlets that called the number listed on "Share the Safety's" press release were met with the program's alleged spokesperson, "Hensley Cocker," who went on at length about a schism in the NRA between supporters of Colt and Smith & Wesson.

NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told Marketwatch the organization was looking into legal action against the hoaxsters. It's worth noting that the NRA and other organizations are allowed to give away guns for free — they just usually don't do so in such an indiscriminate manner as this campaign.

RELATED: 2016 Senate filibuster for gun control

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2016 senate filibuster for gun control
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2016 senate filibuster for gun control
This frame grab provided by C-SPAN shows Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. speaking on the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 15, 2016, where he launched a filibuster demanding a vote on gun control measures. The move comes three days after people were killed in a mass shooting in Orlando. (Senate Television via AP)
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (R) speak to reporters after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (R) speak to reporters after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (R, obscured) speak to reporters after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) collects himself as members of his staff catch up with him in the halls after he ended a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (L) speak to staff members after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) speak to reporters after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Spencer Davis (L), an intern for U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), greets Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) as he departs the Senate floor to thank him for his work with fellow senators on a filibuster to put pressure on legislators to move on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. Davis said he was moved to meet Booker because he had a relative killed in an infamous 1966 shooting spree from a tower at the University of Texas. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (center L) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (center R) depart the Senate floor directly after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) (C) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (R) speak to aides directly after ending a 14-hour filibuster in the hopes of pressuring the U.S. Senate to action on gun control measures, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 15: Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) leaves in an elevator after assisting Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) in waging an almost 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor in order to force a vote on gun control on June 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. Murphy wants the Senate to vote on a measure banning anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing a weapon. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
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