Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP/Getty Images
Fashion runway? More like fashion gun-way.
The Gun Owners’ Action League of Massachusetts and the online networking group Massachusetts Women Gun Owners are hosting a “Concealed Carry” fashion show and fund-raiser this week where they will promote clothing and accessories used to keep firearms tucked away while in public.
The March 9 event, which will be held at Bass Pro Shops in Foxborough and will feature models strutting down the runway in the latest in gun-related gear, is billed by the MWGO as an “entertaining yet educational event highlighting firearms, holsters, personal safety products, and [concealed carry] clothing,” according to the group’s website.
Mandy Deveno, a GOAL board member and the event’s coordinator, said the fashion show is meant to educate the public about state gun laws while offering an array of options for carrying a firearm.
“We want to promote the positive side of gun ownership here in Massachusetts,” she said. “We hope that [attendees] learn something from the event but that they’re also entertained.”
The show comes amid a national conversation about gun laws after 17 people were shot at a high school last month in Parkland, Fla. The show’s organizers started planning the event six months ago.
A License to Carry is required to carry a concealed handgun in Massachusetts, according to the state’s website. To obtain a license, applicants must be at least 21 and complete a firearms safety course. Licenses are issued through an applicant’s local police department and require state and federal background checks, the site states.
Deveno said the Bass Pro Shops will rope off a large section of the store and use drapes to separate the fashion event from the general public.
The models hitting the runway will not have real guns in their holsters but instead will carry “blue guns,” Deveno said, plastic replicas typically used for firearms training.
“Models will walk down the runway about halfway, show where their concealed holster is, show both sides of the stage, and then walk to the end and draw their blue gun,” she said. “They’ll show them how easy it is to conceal and how comfortable it is.”
An emcee will be describing the 41 accessories as the models wearing them try to wow the crowd. The products will range from classic to modern, Deveno said.
“If you’re a woman and you like wearing dresses, we have options for thigh holsters and off-body carry” like purses, she said. “We have the ‘flashbang,’ which is a holster worn underneath the bra; and corset and hip-hugger options and waist band options that are more traditional.”
Money raised from the ticketed event will support the Massachusetts Women’s Leadership and Firearms Summit, a weekend-long workshop of lectures and events where gun owners, or those interested in becoming gun owners, can learn about “how to talk with non-gun owners/Opposition and Advocacy,” gun laws, and cleaning and firing guns.
The gun-centric fashion show in Foxborough Friday night is similar to one hosted by the National Rifle Association in Milwaukee last summer. During the event, titled the “Carry Guard Expo Fashion Show,” models hit the runway and showed off firearms that were hidden in purses, bras, and corsets. Others flashed holsters that were strapped around their ankles, thighs, and waists, according to pictures posted by the news service Reuters.
While attendees can expect to see a wide variety of carry options, they won’t see any famous models.
“We’re not trying to one-up Victoria’s Secret,” Deveno said.
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