Wait — so there are gun influencers?
There are a lot of them.
A sprawling network of influencers — including military veterans, demolition experts, gun rights activists, and professional shooters — have built large audiences specifically interested in firearms and gun culture. According to a 2020 report from the defense, weapons, and firearms marketing group Danger Close, the top 40 gun industry influencers across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter that year boasted between 400,000 and 10 million followers each.
Shifting toward subtler, grassroots marketing campaigns enables gun companies to both dodge the platforms’ ad policies and reach younger, more impressionable audiences, Koskoff said. “Advertising is so much more decentralized today than it was once upon a time,” he told The Trace. “Until the advent of the internet these companies had to market their products through parents — now that’s changed.”
The change has been a boon. Kyle Clouse, the head of marketing at the gun safe company Liberty Safe, referred to industry influencers as “the goose laying the golden egg” for the firearms industry in a 2019 interview with Vox. Their work keeps the companies top-of-mind for a target audience who might not otherwise see traditional advertisements published in industry magazines.
— Champe Barton in Why Are Gun Ads So Uncommon?