If you’re in the market for a .22 shotgun for your kindergartner, Crickett has you covered. Trademarked by Keystone Sporting Arms as “My First Rifle”, the company markets the weapon for “true winners” in a sickly-sweet pink among a range of color swatches. A testimonial praises the weapon as “just the right size” for a five-year-old, without mentioning that, in 2013, a Kentucky boy of the very same age used the weapon to accidentally shoot and kill his two-year-old sister. …
[The Violence Policy Center’s Josh] Sugarmann says that the industry is nakedly capitalizing on the vibe that “the world’s going to hell, you gotta buy a gun.” In particular, it’s targeting Asian Americans — who traditionally have low gun ownership and support stricter gun control — but who faced an upswell of hate crimes as a result of Covid panic. To the industry, not only are Asian-Americans the fastest growing voter group in the United States with increasing size and consumer power, they are “viewed as an untapped market by gunmakers.”
The NSSF reports that, between 2019 and 2002, there was a 43 percent increase in Asian-American gun ownership, a 49 percent rise by Latinos, and a 58 percent increase among Black people. Women are also the targets of renewed campaigns, with a recent study finding that Twitter and YouTube influencers are prime avenues for sales. The study’s authors found that “videos with women included protection themes” were viewed two-and-a-half times more often than videos without women, though they couldn’t account for whether this appealed to women themselves or men seeking to protect them. Either way, they noted that “YouTube and Twitter subsidize gun advertising by offering server and streaming services at no cost to gun manufacturers,” and that the social media companies are cashing in.
Now anyone can take up arms against a changing world. Remember those two-thirds of gun owners who claimed they needed them for self-defense in 2005? Their number rose to 88 percent in 2021. A diverse coalition is coming together around the most American of ideas: consumption is king. The best way to manage hate, fear, crisis and uncertainty is to go out and buy the thing that you’re terrified of.
— Elle Hardy in Clever Marketing Is the Gun Industry’s Most Lethal Weapon