Forbes: Most Guns are Bought as a Form of Political Virtue Signaling

guns as political symbols virtue signaling

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Forbes editor Elizabeth MacBride takes her astonished readers along on her journey of discovery into the mysterious world of America’s gun business, its customers, and their strange customs.

Of course, there are some guns that are still marketed as tools, used for hunting, or purely as collectibles, as items of beauty. Guns are an accessory to a day out at the gun range.

But the larger share — it’s hard to estimate how large it is, because there aren’t good numbers on exactly how many guns are sold in the United States — are bought as tokens of political belonging and as luxury brand items. A gun connotes a wild kind of fun, like a sports car, even if you never drive it. It’s a toy for a grown-up boys, and increasingly, grown-up girls.

These are the messages I’ve seen, over time, the emotional threads that companies and dealers use to reach their consumers: Guns will help you feel powerful. Guns will give you an identity as a protector. Owning guns, especially the right guns, will help you feel part of a group.

– Elizabeth MacBride in The Second Amendment Is A Marketing Slogan, And Other Lessons From The Gun Business Beat

comments

  1. avatar barnbwt says:

    Most are destroyed for the same reason, too

    1. avatar Sean G./The Rookie says:

      Mic drop on that one! Well said!

      1. avatar Smoke’n Mirrors says:

        Article’s author could have used this comment section as proof of her observations. Political virtue signaling alone is a popular reaction around here.

        Like it or not, she nailed us.

        1. avatar Grumpy says:

          Yep.

        2. avatar Forward Assist says:

          For….Home Defense!

          Speaking of nailing it…us…

          https://youtu.be/DFgCXeqa7YM

    2. avatar binder says:

      She is looking at it from a marketing perspective, and to be honest, she is not far off. How many guns do you here about where people buy them and never have even fired them. How import is following the “trend” look at; .40 cal, look at 300 blackout, DI vs Piston ARs. Look at all the crap people hang off ARs. And she was right on about the HK416. Why else would that be on the market for that price other than people wanting the “same gun”.

      1. avatar Speculatores says:

        I literally know of no one that buys a gun and doesn’t shoot it. Maybe that’s some kinda new Gen Z thing, but I haven’t seen it.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I literally know of no one that buys a gun and doesn’t shoot it.”

          My grand parents had a Luger (bring back) for about 30yrs. They never shot it. Unfortunately, it got lost in unraveling estates.

        2. avatar rosignol says:

          Give it time, most gun owners eventually have a ‘safe queen’ that they never get around to shooting.

          In my case, it’s a Saiga project gun that I intend to convert into an AK someday. Been sitting in the safe for 2-3 years now, just haven’t gotten around to it.

        3. avatar Speculatores says:

          I mean I get not shooting a luger or something like that, but even a safe queen needs to be taken for a spin once and a while.

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “…safe queen needs to be taken for a spin once and a while.”

          “I love my cigar, but I take it out of my mouth once in awhile.”

        5. avatar Toni says:

          i have 2 safe queens at present. one is a belgian mauser in 30-06 that i cant seem to get shooting right and the other is my Austrian M95 Styer in 8x56R. not going to be able to use either till i get set up for reloading. The M95 you cant get ammo for anymore so it has to be reloaded. the 30-06 i need to work up handloads that dont end up with a machine gun pattern on the target. If i still cant get it right after that i will get rid of it. I also am not keen on the whole floorplate design of the mag with only 4 rounds…. I like at least a 10 round mag and would prefer more if we could get more here in commiestralia.

      2. avatar pwrserge says:

        We want “the same gun” because we know that THAT gun works and has the thousands of hours of trials and field use to prove it. Mind you, I’m of the opinion that I can build a better AR to purpose than the Navy will ever allow through their trials. Why? Because my AR won’t be the cheapest bidder built to a broad range of specifications.

      3. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

        I don’t get the gun marketing angle. I’m sure the manufacturers do advertise, but that’s only via marketing channels where people expect guns. You never see gun commercials on television. You may on the radio, but only fir a gun shop or range, but not brands themselves. There are sponsorships and presumably still some print products, but even that is all already special interest and not marketed toward the general public. Really, anyone exposed to firearms ads is very likely already in the game. Those ads aren’t wrangling unsuspecting new people into the life.

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          The do advertise in the print media, and in sites like this one. but me, I look at those ads as often as I look at the ads in the newspaper–which is never. I don’t buy fund by what I see advertised, usually I become interested because of a review (of something the Masters here in California allow me to buy) or research as to the various options and cost. I have never bought a gun because it made me “feel like a real man” or because I belong to a particular political party.
          I did buy an 80% lower though because Senator De Leon wanted to ban all those “ghost guns.” So yeah, that was purely political. And although I never really wanted an AR, I completed the build because, well, why not? It was fun!

        2. avatar BR says:

          I have seen TV ads for guns. Then again I use an antennae to pick up local channels and one was a Henry commercial of which I live within driving distance from the factory… or was that an infomercial? Whatever. I know I have seen Bond Arms infomercials too. But still local antennae TV so I may be an outlier. The infomercials didn’t get me to buy anything either, but they were entertaining to watch.

          As for me and virtue signaling on buying guns? No. I bought all my guns for a specific reason (and have shot all of them a fair amount) and politics didn’t factor in. I did build my AR but just because I wanted a dissapator, and that was before Dissapator uppers became a buyable thing without forking out an arm or leg and if i was to do an upper might as well do the whole thing.

          And literally EVERYONE I know that owns a firearm, let alone those that bought one and not simply inherited it, has it for one or more of these reasons and in this order: first for self defense, second for hunting, lastly for fun/practice because the first two are covered by another firearm. I have never talked to someone who bought one to virtue signal.

        3. avatar GeorgiaBob says:

          Really, you haven’t seen gun commercials on TV? I see them all the time. Outdoor Channel, Discovery, and a half dozen other cable channels where you can find hunting and outdoor programming, all carry ads for Glock, Henry, Ruger, S&W, Colt, lots of different ammo, accessories, and many of the stores that sell the stuff.

  2. avatar No one of consequence says:

    Hmm. So you’re saying that guns are the right’s version of bioactive all-natural artisinal deodorant that the lefties like to buy as virtue signals?

    Okay. Maybe. I’ll concede the point that some people probably do that.

    One difference though … the stuff we buy, generally works as advertised.

  3. avatar barnbwt says:

    LOL, “guns will identify you as a protector.” Because “identifying as a protector” is the difference between being able to end the guy attacking you/yours, and being at his mercy.

    Prerequisite, not a token, for being a “protector.” These people are so screwed up from intentionally confusing cause & effect, they probably don’t open an umbrella until someone tells them it won’t make the rain worse.

    1. avatar No one of consequence says:

      No, grasshopper … The umbrella causes the rain in their world…

      1. avatar Main Spring says:

        So what liberal treehugging enviro-worshiping left-leaning anti-capitalism rag published the commie article?

        And the author could have looked no further than the Springfield saint to do research. But maybe that was too easy, you know, having Springfield do all her marketing research for her. Or maybe the saint’s advertising claims were too over the top for anyone outside the gun community to believe.

    2. avatar Patriot2G says:

      I like my guns like I like my presidents – .40 & .45.

      1. avatar barnbwt says:

        Short & fat, respectively?

  4. avatar tdiinva says:

    It isn’t the firearms industry that has done this, it’s the anti-gun movement. If they had not invented the term assault weapon and banned the AR-15 in 1994 such weapons never have been that popular. Before the push to pass the Assault Weapon ban the anti-gun industry started a campaign to ban “sniper rifles” like the Remington 700. When that failed to fly they went after guns few people owned.

    1. avatar GeorgiaBob says:

      I must disagree with you on the popularity issue. The ArmaLite pattern direct gas impingement system is popular – not because Clinton’s cronies signed a ban on scary rifles – instead because it WORKS. Was the Colt version of the AR-15 popular in 1994? Yes, certainly it was. Did the Brady campaign, House Democrats, and Clinton aides use a Colt AR-15 in their efforts to figure out how to describe something that they could define as an “assault weapon” so they could ban it? Turns out that is EXACTLY what they did. If any one of them had any idea what they were looking at, they might even have figured out how it works and described function instead of attachments (and that might have been a “bad thing”).

      The AR is popular because it is simple, functional, and it works. It works when it is clean, it works when parts don’t fit together perfectly. It works when it has been stored too long and corrosion becomes a problem. It even works, much of the time, when it is dirty.

      The AR design simply works. And “simply” is the other piece of the popularity. The AR design is simple. Any clumsy Joe with a bench in his garage can be a gunsmith with an AR. No matter the skill level, an AR can be built, modified, redesigned, or outfitted at home. The AR is popular because people like to be able to shoot a dependable weapon, because people like to fiddle with their “toys,” because people like to put one over on the ATF, and because it works.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        You are looking backwards. We know all these things as a community because the ban caught people’s attention. Without the ban it certainly would have taken longer for people to learn these things. And it is fortunate that the AR patterned rifle is a easy to maintain because it takes a lot more maintenance than a Garand patterned rifle.

        1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

          I never thought about buying an AR until they started talking about banning it, again.(Haven’t bought it yet.) I never thought of buying a case of .22 until it became difficult to find (a few years back). Just like the saying: “You’re never thirsty until the well runs dry”.

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          I just traded my Mini-14 for an AR in part because I though I should have one. I will keep the Garands in 7.62. I guess you could say I was making a political statement and in part you would be correct. And why is there something wrong about making political statements?

    2. avatar Southern Cross says:

      When the media declared “assault weapons were the guns of choice for gang members and drug dealers“, the police noticed that more of the guns were being collected in raids, but the guns had rarely been fired.

      It turns out a 30″+ long firearm is not as easy to do a drive-by shooting with from a car as opposed to a pistol or SMG.

  5. avatar Napresto says:

    Oh no! People with a product to sell look for effective ways of marketing it! Ahhhhh! (Sets hair on fire)

    1. avatar Doc Samson says:

      Seriously… lol!

  6. avatar No one of consequence says:

    And yes, guns are consumer products. They are marketed. Just like almost everything else we buy today. Buying a Crusader 3000 will make you a Tier 1 operator just as effectively as Axe Body Spray makes you irresistible to vapid 17-year-olds. If you’re going to start decrying marketing, be careful how far you go … your advertisers may take exception.

    1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      I have to go and get some Axe body spray now.

  7. avatar Sam I Am says:

    I read the linked article…..

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    1. avatar Jack says:

      WTF is an “astonishingly large minority”?

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “WTF is an “astonishingly large minority”?”

        Same as “jumbo shrimp”.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          ‘Military Intelligence’

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          ‘Military Intelligence’

          Large economy size?

      2. avatar cj says:

        im an overweight black guy so maybe they are talking about me….

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “im an overweight black guy so maybe they are talking about me….”

          I would like to say that your comment is funny, but I can’t……you know, can’t.

  8. avatar ozzallos says:

    You can already tell she has no factual foundation to base any of these opinions off of. None of the circles I travel in own firearms just for the warm fuzzy identity politics MacBride is describing. I imagine some do, but not the huge percentage she’s imagining based on her colored opinions and a flawed sample size based on her own admission.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “None of the circles I travel in own firearms just for the warm fuzzy identity politics…”

      Agree.

      With .22LR so cheap, I go to the range 3 or 4 times a month. Have never heard anyone, anyone at all, talk about guns giving them “feelings”. Never even heard (mostly men) say anything about being “protector of the family/household”. And….never heard (mostly men) talking about the zombie apocalypse. Maybe I just don’t get around to the really good ranges.

      1. avatar Kenneth says:

        I’ve been shooting since 1969. I’ve never heard any of that BS either. Nothing about “feelz” ever. That’s just the ‘progressive’ insanity projecting their weaknesses onto everybody else again.
        I’ve heard a lot of “my gun is so accurate”, and “my gun is so badass”, and my gun is so good at____(fill in the blank). Largely standard male competitiveness. And also largely B.S.
        But we(all humans) are people of the lie. Can’t really expect truth from liars, now can we?

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “But we(all humans) are people of the lie. Can’t really expect truth from liars, now can we?”

          When you only have a .22 plinker (like I do), tall tales never get any respect. Trying to lie about .22 adventures doesn’t get you beers at the bar; gets you run out of the bar.

        2. avatar Kenneth says:

          Nothing wrong with the old rimfires. I must have more than a dozen. They make up maybe 95% of the ammo I shoot. My favorite is my old Marlin Model 60 with a 4x burris. I’ve had that gun since 1975. The only time I ever clean it is when it starts to have stoppages. Detail strip it and clean the gunk out and its good to go for another year or two. I wish I had kept good track but I’ll bet it has 40-50K rounds through it. It just won’t wear out. I’ve never even replaced a spring.
          Cheap, reliable, and will kill anything one points it at. What more could a guy want? Except, sometimes, a little more “oomph”.

    2. avatar barnbwt says:

      I can see it being her misunderstanding why some first time buyers get a gun. That’s probably all it is. Buying a gun for defense/just in case/before they are banned/because you should have one/because your buddy got one/etc are seen as explicitly political motivations to people that think hunting is the only “legitimate” use for guns.

      It’s psychological projection, same as always. These people don’t do hardly ANYTHING that isn’t politically acceptable or for political accolades, so clearly someone who does something they wouldn’t or which they see as politically unacceptable, must bs doing it for opposing political accolades.

  9. avatar Bob Herman says:

    Male Bovine Feces

  10. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Break into my house and I’m going to virtue signal my politics with a .44 caliber marketing slogan right up your ass.

    Funny btw, how she didn’t mention guns as tools for self defense.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Guns can’t exist for that purpose because that purpose is politically incorrect, since it is wrong to defend yourself from the disadvantaged. The mind then conjures up an other reason for the gun’s existence, namely killing innocents or making a political statement.

  11. avatar Joe blow says:

    I’d say the only guns that could as virtue signaling are the ones that give a finger to the nfa or skirt Cali style compliance. Why build a compliant ar when a mini 14 makes more sense? Because you don’t want me to to have an ar so screw you.

    1. avatar VicRattlehead says:

      That’s the EXACT reason I want, and eventually will build, an AR pistol, because let’s face it, an AR pistol with an arm brace, for all intents and purposes, is a SBR. Nothing gives me warm fuzzy ‘feelings’ quite like flipping the bird at an over-reaching gov’t.

      1. avatar Middlefinger Industries says:

        Roger that rattlehead

        That’s why I formed a new company, Middlefinger Industries. And our first product, The Bumpfire Pistol Brace, starts shipping this summer. Our chest-mounted 1200 round Glock mag is available on our website and our 80.999% lowers are hot sellers.

        Our company’s motto: We are the sharp stick in the eye of the ATF.

        1. avatar rosignol says:

          So you’re the outfit that makes these? 😀

  12. avatar Scooter says:

    The car comparison isn’t far off, what with brand loyalties, collecting, hot rodding, etc., but otherwise? Virtue signaling? I need a defensive tool set, and I like to make the boomstick go “pew.” Pewing equals practice for defense, and it’s fun. Pew. Pew. All we are saying is give pew a chance. Friends help friends pew. Have a pew and a smile.

  13. avatar Shire-man says:

    Isn’t like all of journalism basically virtue signalling at this point?

  14. avatar ANG Pilot says:

    The author is an activist, not a real journalist. She says she’s been accepted as a Fellow at Georgetown’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation where they purport to use “outcome based” solutions, meaning, they decide what they want you to think and then “educate” you simpletons to reach the desired conclusion.

    This fits with Holder’s idea of using the same type of propaganda campaign that worked against cigarettes on guns.

  15. avatar Patriot2G says:

    Why do I have guns? Because I can.

  16. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    Sounds like she’s struggling to fit “people buying guns” into a terribly flawed personal belief system that “only bad men want guns”. So what happens when facts confront beliefs and it turns out that a “good man” is also a gun owner? Or a woman buys a gun (in the liberal mind, all women are good unless they hold conservative beliefs).

    There’s a much clearer theory she might entertain- that gun owners have made the rational choice, in a randomly violent world, to take personal responsibility for their own welfare, because they have accepted several facts 1) people can be randomly violent and unpredictable, 2) police cannot protect everyone all the time (never mind that police are more on clean up duty than protectors), 3) weapons greatly increase the ability to defend oneself, 4) guns are highly effective defensive tools which require minimal training for competency.

    Most liberals still think 1) police will protect them, 2) violent people won’t hurt anyone who submits, 3) violence against others is ok if the victim may hold dissimilar political beliefs, 4) the life of a random citizen is less important than the feelings of a protected class (drug dealer, young gang member, liberal activist).

  17. avatar daveinwyo says:

    To the idiot in the corner; ESAD. Just me virtue signaling.

  18. avatar kap says:

    This South East Asia War Games ex player does not like the AR platform, in its formative years it got a lot of users KIA! US military is just Gaga over this weapons system because they teach spray and pray in stead of one shot one kill. Guess Ammo is cheaper by the thousands! I wonder how many AR owners actually exercise their weapon with a minimum of 500 rounds a year? bet most are show and tell or it sits in a corner cocked and locked and hasn’t moved in years.
    A Firearm is a tool, nothing more nothing less, some are more specialized than others for specific jobs. With the way these Gun control Democrats are going they are going to get a lot of people injured when non-compliance takes hold also this what they really want so they can kill off Gun owners and import more Muslims and Illegals and move back to serfdom! just ask the Native Americans about gun control

  19. avatar AndrewinVA says:

    From her employer’s web site:

    About – The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation
    https://beeckcenter.georgetown.edu/about/

    “How we define Social Impact
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.”

    At least they’re honest about not having anything of value to say.

    1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      I would reply to them, sic semper tyrannis! They may be able to read those words, but they won’t understand them.

    2. avatar ANG Pilot says:

      It’s meaningless Latin gibberish taken from Cicero used in the publishing industry to demonstrate various typeface.

  20. avatar Mao the Dung says:

    Sometimes I buy guns to signal my defiance of gun control. It makes me feel better but I don’t feel virtuous. What am I doing wrong?

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “It makes me feel better but I don’t feel virtuous.”

      You’re not understanding that feeling better is a virtue.

      Name it, claim it, make it yours. You earned it because you learned it.

  21. avatar FB says:

    Hmmmm. I wonder what the whole 2nd ammendment thing is all about.

  22. avatar Sgt of Marines says:

    All my firearms were purchased for and used in competition. Competition sharpens my skills for self defense. I have AR styles rifles, a tactical long range rifle, a semiauto shotgun with an extended tube and several handguns for several different classes or styles of competition, none for virtue signaling or fashion. As a veteran a certain long ago South East Asian war I view my firearms as weapons and tools for dual purpose.

  23. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    … there aren’t good numbers on exactly how many guns are sold in the United States …

    My understanding is that there are very accurate numbers of how many firearms manufacturers sell in the United States every year — because the manufacturers report those numbers to the ATF. As for private sales, no one knows that number. At any rate, private sales do not increase the number of firearms in circulation.

    … [firearms] are bought as tokens of political belonging and as luxury brand items.

    I wholeheartedly disagree that people purchase any significant number of firearms as “tokens of political belonging”. I have never, ever heard of such a thing. I can see a small number of people purchasing firearms as luxury brand items — to which I ask, “So what?”

    A gun connotes a wild kind of fun, like a sports car, even if you never drive it. It’s a toy for a grown-up boys, and increasingly, grown-up girls.

    Sure, some people purchase some firearms primarily for recreational purposes. Again, I ask, “So what?”

    These are the messages I’ve seen, over time, the emotional threads that companies and dealers use to reach their consumers: Guns will help you feel powerful. Guns will give you an identity as a protector. Owning guns, especially the right guns, will help you feel part of a group.

    Again, I wholeheartedly disagree. I just do not see nor hear this sentiment anywhere. Does it possibly apply to a teeny-tiny percentage of firearm owners? Perhaps. Does it dominate and define the majority of firearm owners? Absolutely not.

    1. avatar Kenneth says:

      Yeah. Glocks and Hi-Points are “luxury items”. Don’t need to read any more than that to see how far off the target this witch is.
      Now a Cabot 1911? Well, yeah…

  24. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    For reference my firearms most certainly do NOT give me an identity as a protector. Rather, being a protector is a mindset and my firearms simply DEMONSTRATE that I am serious about my protector mindset.

    Saying it another way, my firearms show that I prioritized my money, storage space, time (for training), and comfort (actually sacrificing comfort) to ACTUALLY be able to effectively protect myself, my family, and my community. The mindset and commitment came first, the firearms came second.

    Forbes just lost serious credibility in my book.

  25. avatar Hal_greaves says:

    Sooooo… Is that Dan Wesson still available? Ive got a statement to make and it ain’t political, I just want that revolver!

  26. avatar Beachman says:

    I was a Forbes subscriber for many years. I liked its unapologetic, in-your-face capitalism approach to news and opinion. I canceled about 10 years ago when they changed direction to a more hip or edgy style, lowered editorial standards, and started printing this type of poorly researched BS.

    1. avatar Kenneth says:

      Please note how they went downhill after Malcolm Forbes died so mysteriously.

  27. avatar NORDNEG says:

    Well, I personally have a lot of guns, Yep , some I’ve never shot, I’ll agree with that, but I like collecting guns, what better way to find out which ones agree with you or not. I’ll personally take a big bore more often than not for hunting or carrying, for the homestead I’ll take one of my short combat style shotguns,, just saying.

  28. avatar strych9 says:

    Her comments on emotional appeal are probably mostly correct. Nearly all advertising starts with an emotional “hook”.

    But you can tell she’s a city slicker when she makes that awkward comparison to tools. Chainsaws? Not a very good analogy. Screwdrivers, perhaps. Why do some people own two dozen or more screwdrivers or a screwdriver handle that comes with a fleet of driver heads? Because not all fasteners are the same size and shape. Guns are no different. If you want to punch paper or ring steel at 1000 yards there are reasonable calibers for that. Killing elk at the same distance requires a different tool. Same with killing a squirrel at 50 yards or a coyote at 200.

    Spending a year studying this, she has attained an uneven grasp of the material. There’s a reason that in high school or college we call you a “sophomore” when you start your second year.

    1. avatar Kenneth says:

      “sophomoric Exhibiting great immaturity and lack of judgment” -https://www.thefreedictionary.com/sophomoric

      Seems to fit her perfectly. Her, and 99% percent of humans under 30. Make that under a hundred…. 🙂

  29. avatar Cadeyrn says:

    Is that why gun sales skyrocketed when Obama was elected and the Dems indicated they wanted to try to take guns?

    Is it why they will skyrocket again if the Dems win in 2020 and they’ve started trying to pass anti-gun legislation already?

    Virtue signaling?

    Maybe you ought to re-think what it really means.

  30. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    “Most Coffees are Bought as a Form of Political Virtue Signaling”

    Of course, there are some coffees that are still marketed as a staple, used for caffeination, or purely as white-girl street cred, as items of beauty. Coffees are an accessory to a day out at the mall.

    But the larger share — it’s hard to estimate how large it is, because there aren’t good numbers on exactly how many coffee drinks are sold in the United States — are bought as tokens of political belonging and as luxury brand items. A coffee drink connotes a wild kind of fun, like a sports car, even if you never drive it. It’s a toy for a grown-up boys, and increasingly, grown-up girls. And children.

    These are the messages I’ve seen, over time, the emotional threads that companies and brewers use to reach their consumers: Coffee will help you feel powerful. Coffee will give you an identity as a caffeinator. Drinking coffee, especially the right coffees, will help you feel part of a group.

    1. avatar Kenneth says:

      Now do $50 “T” shirts with rainbows on them…

    2. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Coffee will help you feel powerful. Coffee will give you an identity as a caffeinator. Drinking coffee, especially the right coffees, will help you feel part of a group.”

      What are you? Some kinda pro-coffee amendment radical?

    3. avatar Eli2016 says:

      LMAO. A brilliant re-edit of this liberal hag’s ignorance. After reading it I immediately went out and bought some Kauai Coffee. After which my balls increased in size.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “I immediately went out and bought some Kauai Coffee.”

        That only works if you bought 100%, non-GMO, environmentally friendly, pure Kauai beans/ground. If not, you are still a weak-kneed deplorable.

        1. avatar Dave G. says:

          To: Chip Bennett , Kenneth, Sam I Am, and Eli2016
          You guys have just made my day. ILMAO!

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Always nice to know one made someone smile.

          TTFN

  31. avatar Karl says:

    The author is right not only in theory but in practice as well.

    Let’s explore theory first. THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE OUR LAWS virtue signal by writing legislation. Sometimes they pass it despite zero evidence it will do any good at all. Sometimes they pass it despite evidence telling them it will not do any good with the only justification that it might save one life. Odds are better it mightn’t and there is a Constitutional Amendment specifically forbidding it, but to them I’m just a yokle in flyover country who uses made up words so my rights don’t count especially because I don’t have any special group I can claim. I’m a straight, white, male who identifies as male, middle class, taxpayer, I work in a call center for the transportation industry, married, no kids, vote Republican as least worst option. My wife is a Messianic Jew, so everyone hates her… but I’m not. When I cast a ballot they should take away about seven votes from the candidate I vote for. That’s the theory, anyway.

    Now let’s explore practice, as theory only takes you so far unless you are in academia and then only in a fuzzy science. As I am in every way unremarkable, I’ll use myself as a representative sample.

    I never really felt the need for an AR15 because I am very, very tall (never played pro sports so again, don’t get extra media exposure) so they don’t fit me that well. Most I handled didn’t inspire confidence in quality. I estimate handling around 1,000 so far, the vast majority of those during a job when I was the firearms supervisor in a big box chain during the Obama administration. I’m more of a M1A kind of guy, they fit me and 7.62 NATO is better in every way except for cost. I had nothing against ARs or the people who used them, but no reason to get one.

    Almost exactly one year ago I bought an AR because Marco Rubio said he was open to capacity limits. It was the same day in fact… I went looking to see if I could find one I could tolerate but I found one that I really liked. I have acquired several 10 packs of Pmags, mostly because someone said “common sense” before they said something that wasn’t even true. Just so happened Brownell’s was having a sale those days, I don’t need more than two reasons to buy something.

    I bought an AR pistol because I figured Donny might use that kind of thing as a barging chip for the wall during the shutdown. The people who haven’t figured out all gun infringements are an incrimental game likely find them icky so they would support it like bump stocks. The grabbers will pounce on anything they can get, so it’s a collective weakness and bill amendments that gets things banned lately. I saw them pulling a Hughes Amendment to put in a mild AWB into a bill called Useless Feelings of Safety Act of 2019 and Deal Maker Donny signing it to get the wall built. I bought it instead of a mint used BT-99, a single shot dedicated trap gun virtually useless for anything else.

    Last weekend my buddy told me about a smoking deal on a used AR that was the make and model as the first one, so I bought a 3rd, I liked it that much. I have a backup in many things and because I liked my virtue signaling AR I have three and north of 50 pmags. I’m also considering just how much ammo buy in the Federal Freedom Fuel rebate, I don’t think I can afford to max out at 10,000 rounds but we will find out soon.

    Back to the practice to prove the point: I also purchased a 1911 and found a deal on the exact carry revolver I actually wanted (been making using a .38+P, finally got my snub nose .357) in the part 12 months. So yes, 3/5ths of the firearm purchases are a direct result of virtue signaling.

  32. avatar GS650G says:

    I guess if a gun is not needed for a specific purpose it should not be sold to us. We aren’t allowed things for fun.

  33. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

    It’s a hobby like any other. First you get the locomotive engine and a couple cars. Then you lay a track. Now you want a bigger track. Now you need a ‘better’ transformer. Now you need to clean out the basement so you can expand the layout. Of course you need buildings: houses, depot, factory, trees. Then you join a club, which leads to needing more cool stuff. It never ends. At least there’s resale value on guns. Not so much on used trains.

    1. avatar UpInArms says:

      My favorite response to “why do you need a gun?”

      I don’t bother with trying to explain 2A rights anymore, or get in to the whole self-defense reasoning. None of it ever seems to make a dent.

      So my answer now is pretty much “It’s a hobby. Everybody should have a hobby.” And then I walk away. Works every time.

  34. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    I would agree that a very few are purchased as a political statement but most of her thoughts are drivel and leftist wishful thinking. I personally know a few people who bought guns for that reason and one guy who got a carry permit and no gun.

  35. avatar Hannibal says:

    Something tells me there is some projection going on here.

  36. avatar Kyle says:

    I know we’re all slamming the author and the article.

    but i only got 1 question. Is it wrong??

    I only ask be cause my wife, long go said this and it rang as true then as it does now.

    “Men are to guns as women are to shoes.”
    “Women get 20 pairs of shoes all to suit different occasions, outfits, and purposes, men get 3 pair, 1 for work, 1 for mud, and 1 for just walking around”
    “Men get 20 guns and women as many as 3 guns, along the same rational”

  37. avatar RedOwl says:

    Looking at my own collection, she might be partially right…about some of them…maybe. I own guns that are tools for self defense, home defense, and hunting. However, I originally purchased an AR-15 because…well…I’m an American dammit! (Now that I have learned how to shoot it properly it has gone from vanity item to mighty killer of hogs and coyotes). I have recently been bit by the collector bug. I bought a nice 1911 because I think it is a great example of American gun design. Now I want to buy a colt single action army and a lever action Henry rifle…..clearly I need to earn more money

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “…..clearly I need to earn more money.”

      Not actually. Just wait, Demoncrats are going to give you an annual grant of money for not working.

  38. avatar Dani Seacastle says:

    “The appeal of military-style weapons is obvious: People like to play soldier…”

    This line really emphasizes the author’s elitist, snobbish, I’ve-been-writing-on-this-for-over-a-year-so-I-know-more-than-you orientation.

    “Some people say guns are tools — but nobody buys 10 chain saws in varying colors and speeds.”

    Looks like her ignorance covers other tools as well.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      I have a couple of Mauser 98s that go by the brand name of Winchester Model 70. I also have a Yugo made K98. You can say that I am attracted to military style weapons. The AR is different from most people’s conception of what other firearms look like that they can see the military heritage of my Winchesters.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        Can’t not can.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      “Some people say guns are tools — but nobody buys 10 chain saws in varying colors and speeds.”

      Yea, well, this mouthy broad (she has a veritable torrent of twaddle over to Forbes’ website) has probably spent her whole life around urban soy-boys who don’t know the difference between a chisel and a screwdriver – and who probably use chisels and screwdrivers interchangeably. Feel pity for her.

      My wife knows if there’s something that needs done, I have the tools and skills to do it. Her only dread is asking me to do the fairly big honey-do issues, because I’ll use those jobs as an excuse to buy more tools.

      Me: “Look, dear, the job you wanted done … is done.”
      Her: “OK. Where’s the tool you bought for this job?”
      Me: “You make it sound like I did the job just to get the tool…”
      Her: “I did, because I know you.”

      I have three chainsaws. They have different chains mounted on them, with different bar sizes. One of them is electric. I’ve been angling to get yet another saw with a long bar so I won’t have to bend over so much when I’m cutting through slash piles up on the mountain – but The Management seems to not agree with me on how pressing a tool purchase this should be. She’d approve another AR before a another chainsaw, because the AR would be cheaper than a Stihl 661 with the 32″ bar.

      In my shop, I have a half-dozen power drills, a half-dozen power saws, hundreds and hundreds of hand files, screwdrivers, pliers, clamps. Dozens of hand saws. I have about 100 screwdrivers, and a few of those have hundreds of bits each. Two lathes, two mills, a surface grinder, a half-dozen pedestal grinders, buffers, bandsaws, table saws, a router table… the list goes on for days.

      By comparison, I have only dozens of guns.

      1. avatar Gregg says:

        Your estate sale would be fun…but not anytime soon.

    3. avatar Toni says:

      yep on the farm we had we had a few rifles for different purposes (probably about half a dozen) and we had a small sawmill operation which ran for 30 odd years. The property was absolutely covered in trees when my grandfather bought it and you could only run about 20 head of cattle. the money from milling the timber helped pay for the clearing and improvement of pastures and by the time i was about 15 we could run about 300 head of cattle. For that sawmill/farming operation and the various uses of chainsaws between the 2 we also had about half a dozen different chainsaws.
      IMHO she understands little of anything outside of academia and journalism and it shows. Unless she made a serious effort to understand I would barely give her the time of day if she spouted any of that drivel to me

  39. avatar MyName says:

    I can’t speak for all gun owners but I can say that she doesn’t understand me at all.

    No marketing campaign has ever made me buy a gun. I became interested in guns the day my Grandfather took me out past the barn, handed me a well-worn .22 rifle and instructed me in the fundamentals of marksmanship and firearm safety. A short while later, he gave me my first lessons in firearms disassembly, cleaning, maintenance and reassembly. Many more barnyard range and dining table gunsmithing sessions later, I brought my first gun to the party.

    I’m interested in guns because of what they are and what I can do with them. I like the mechanical, ergonomic and functional design characteristics of them. I like having the ability to direct concentrated energy on a target at distance. I own and shoot them because I enjoy it. I became involved in the politics of firearms because a bunch of self-righteous douchebags started trying to make something I care about illegal.

    1. avatar Toni says:

      i am much the same. I hate advertising and for the most part I will not buy something that is heavily marketed…. i buy what i need and I do my research on various makes and models of a product before i buy. sure i may buy a product that his heavily marketed IF after research it turns out to be the best choice for my needs but i never buy because of marketing

  40. avatar Anner says:

    What happened to JWTaylor’s epic comment?

    It was posted a couple hours ago, ripped into a large swath of the internet experts, and now it’s gone. Too salty for TTAG management? Too damning of a very specific couple of regular TTAG contributors?

  41. avatar Sam Ho says:

    I do not buy guns for status. It is a bizarre conclusion that has no basis I reality

  42. avatar neiowa says:

    Saddly Forbes has followed the WSJ down the USA Today MSM rathole into irrelevance.

    Steve Forbes was a pretty good guy (better than his fruit father) and decent pres. candidate.

  43. avatar merlin says:

    what a bunch of B.S.

  44. avatar 22winmag says:

    Forbes is just another CIA/MSM owned new rag.

    That being said, the author is largely correct. Countless people buy and hoard guns without ever getting to the deeper issues as to why they are hoarding. They do it to feel something- whatever that something may be.

    It’s not a bad thing or a good thing, it’s just a thing. The people sense what’s coming (Red Dawn 1984) but refuse to delve deeper into the implications.

  45. avatar FunGunner says:

    Hard to tell at a glance, but all the guns in the lead photo are Airsoft / pellet guns.

  46. avatar john says:

    I do not ‘need to have a reason’ to purchase a firearm. It is my god given right by the framers of the constitution.

    Maybe we should start a discussion on ‘reasons’ why antis should or should not have their first amendment rights?

    Appears to be fair game to me as the second is equal to the first and all other amendments of the constitution.

  47. avatar Jim says:

    I have never bought a gun as a form of political virtue signalling but I have bought several for purely political reasons. These reasons I generally keep to myself. Just this once I’ll share with you my number one reason. I own several “weapons of war” specifically for the reason that the Founders intended when they wrote the Second Amendment. She wrote all those words and never stumbled on the truth.

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