Eddie Eagle, or “Joe Camel with Feathers,” is the NRA’s official mascot for its school curriculum that is supposedly designed to teach “gun safety” to children. Yet as VPC research has documented, the primary goal of the Eddie Eagle program is not to safeguard children, but to protect the financial and political interests of the NRA and the firearms industry.
The Eddie Eagle program makes firearms more palatable to children and youth, helping to recruit them into America’s gun culture. It employs strategies similar to those used by the tobacco industry — from youth “educational” programs that are in fact marketing tools, to appealing cartoon characters that put a friendly face on a hazardous product.
During a time of shrinking household gun ownership, the NRA and its financial patrons in the gun industry are desperately seeking new markets for their products. One of the most brazen strategies they use is the attempt to introduce their products to future customers through programs like Eddie Eagle.