Gun marketing little more than straw man villain

Gun marketing little more than straw man villain
(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

Ever since the lawsuit against Remington, anti-gunners have set their sights on gun marketing. Several states have even passed laws to help facilitate this kind of thing, blaming the marketing for mass shootings and mass shooters themselves.

This bothers me.

It bothers me so much that I get furious when I read crap like these first few paragraphs of this piece:

When was the last time you saw a cigarette advertisement?

Odds are it’s been a while — tobacco ads on television, radio, billboards, transit and event sponsorships have all been banned by federal law for decades. It’s an approach that some gun control groups and lawmakers are now seeking to deploy in response to the nation’s mass shooting crisis.

“The gun industry at some point recognized there was money to be made by appealing to and encouraging the anti-government and increasingly extremist fringe,” New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski told USA Today, arguing for legislation he’s introduced that would push the FTC to restrict gun ads.

Do me a favor. Reach out to a friend or family member with zero interest in firearms. They don’t go to gun-focused groups on social media, don’t follow gun manufacturers on those sites, none of that. Preferably ones that don’t even read outdoor magazines or television channels.

Now, ask them when was the last time they saw an ad for a gun.

I’m willing to bet that they’ve seen zero marketing for a gun manufacturer in ages and ages; if they can remember ever seeing such an advertisement.

Despite all the hysteria, gun marketing isn’t out and about. They’re not running ads during primetime television or during the Super Bowl.

Yes, gun manufacturers sponsor events, but what kind of events? That’s right, shooting and outdoor events.

In other words, they’re marketing to a very particular group of people, those who are likely to seek out that marketing. You’re not going to stumble upon it going about your day-to-day life.

Sure, you might see a banner outside of a gun store, but how is that any different than the neon signs advertising tobacco–the much-demonized product that had its marketing opportunities cut, much as many want to do to gun companies–in any appreciable way?

All this talk of marketing and advertisements is nothing more than a way to try and bankrupt gun companies. The anti-gunners hope is that with them unable to advertise new products, they won’t be able to make profits, thus driving them into oblivion.

It’s an attempt to ban guns without creating legislation that would never survive judicial challenge. After all, if there are just no guns available, then there’s no need for an explicit ban in the first place.

That’s the most likely goal here, though I doubt anyone would articulate it as such.

“But their marketing is irresponsible!” someone will shriek, to which I ask, how? How is it irresponsible to market to law-abiding gun owners in a way that law-abiding gun owners will respond to?

So far, there’s absolutely no evidence to even suggest a single mass shooter ever saw any gun company marketing. This is just something that anti-gunners latched onto because they had literally nothing else they could do.

What’s more, the legislation I mentioned that’s designed to help facilitate this? It’s generally written in such a way that they don’t have to show the killer ever saw such marketing.

In other words, it’s not about saving lives. It’s not about trying to keep dangerous people from doing awful things. It’s purely about trying to punish the gun companies for not rolling over and letting anti-gunners have their way.

They want to compare gun companies to Big Tobacco, but gun companies never lied about their products. They never claimed they were perfectly safe while knowing otherwise. They’ve never pretended their products were anything other than what they are.

But even that is too much for the anti-gun jihadists.