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After the Midnight Movie Massacre in Aurora, Groupon announced they would no longer accept advertisers providing firearms training. (Much to the chagrin of Armed Response). As you may already know, Google AdWords and Google Shopping have a no-firearms policy. As does Bing’s shopping search engine. You never see a firearms-related products advertised in the main TV networks or a general interest magazine. Some companies providing public wireless service block firearms websites (e.g. the hospital tending Dan’s mother in St. Louis). Make no mistake: the gun rights fight is a multi-front, multi-national culture war.

We’ve reported on the effort by UK Animal Aid to put age-restrictions on the hunting magazines such as Shooting Times and The Field. Earlier this week, in a piece entitled Gun porn: Put shooting magazines on the top shelf where they belong, Dr Victoria Martindale added her voice to the protest and let loose the politically correct dogs of war:

Do we really want to encourage more children to develop traits lacking in empathy, absence of compassion and acts of remorseless cruelty?

The whole idea is just about as macabre as blood sports get. Where is our sense of responsibility to protect against the unhealthy and damaging effects these graphic violent depictions have on vulnerable and impressionable young minds? Why are we endorsing acts of brutality and bloodshed to children? Desensitising them to such aggressive deeds and teaching them that this kind of behaviour is a valid and acceptable response in life?

Two of the UK’s biggest mobile network providers have already taken a stand and block access to shooting websites for under 18s stating their content as “inappropriate”. Why then are we still selling this same “inappropriate” content to children in magazines?

Whoa. UK cell phone companies block access to shooting websites for under 18’s? First, how do they do that? Do mobile phones have a hidden under18detectinator? Second, why do they do that? What idiot decided that it’s OK for kids to shoot bad guys but not Bambi (i.e. pheasants, grouse and such)?


Speaking of hidden devices that recognize the user—and grousing—did anyone notice that James Bond’s new Walther PPK is “coded to his palm print” (1:09)? Hello? What if Bond’s hand was covered in blood? (What are the odds, right?) Or the gun got wet. Or the battery failed?

Or what it 007 wanted to toss his [now thankfully German-made again] Walther to Séverine? Not the most beautiful Bond girl by any stretch of the imagination, a woman who clearly and mistakenly believes that if a little trigger finger is good the whole damn digit is better, a panda-eyed protagonist who could well be right-handed and left-eye dominant, but still.

Censorship and political correctness. Yes, even in a Bond movie. Once again, we’re looking at the poison fruits of utopianism. The anti-gun “Nanny Knows Best” Powers That Be believe they can create a perfect world by . . . Hang on. Do the techniques of gun control really matter?

Every time elitists call the shots (so to speak) gun rights get kicked to the curb. Why wouldn’t they? A citizen with a gun is in control of his own destiny. Not absolutely; no man is an island. But symbolically—and then some. Anyone who thinks that individual gun rights don’t protect against genocide simply isn’t paying attention.


Fortunately, the media gatekeepers who offer aid and comfort to the anti-gun elitists are fighting an increasingly desperate rearguard action. As Marshall McLuhan theorized, as witnessed by the fact that I can immediate locate and share this clip from Annie Hall, the medium is the message. The ‘net destroys the elite’s ability to control the idea of gun control.

And yet gun rights haven’t gone mainstream.

The gun rights idea—that citizens owning and carrying guns is normal, natural, desirable and acceptable—is easily available through pro-gun websites, blogs and forums. It’s propagated by cable TV channels and specialist magazines (still banned in gun-averse locales and losing circulation to the ‘net). But it remains at the margins of the mainstream media.

Gun rights’ popularity remains largely geographic, based on a pre-existing gun culture. (Eroded in those areas where gun grabbers rolled back rights.) The media gatekeepers still exist and still actively exclude gun makers from access to their audience.

Working from the principle that culture eats strategy for lunch, this the battleground for the hearts and minds of Americans that will secure our gun rights. The courts are key to upending the unconstitutional laws that deprive Americans of the right to keep and bear arms. Realistically, practically, politically, the court of public opinion trumps all.

While I’d love to take on the mainstream media by attempting to place an ad for TTAG on say, CBS primetime, or within the pages of the Chicago Tribune, I don’t have the money to buy the time/space or fight the inevitable First Amendment legal battle. But I know someone who does . . .


Ruger is on a roll. They’re selling guns like Adeline Mocke sells the idea of procreation. My point exactly: Ruger needs to sell the idea of guns. To people who don’t own them. Not only will an ad aimed at gun virgins bring in more business (should Ruger find a way to build firearms faster) it would also bond the newbies to the brand. For life.

A single Ruger ad campaign placed in the mainstream media would do more for defending and extending our gun rights than TTAG’s 9,489 posts. The creative possibilities are endless (and don’t include the ad above, which reminds me of nothing so much as 70 porn movies’ pre-action acting). How about “Your rights. Your Ruger.”?

Lest we forget, Ruger has a karmic debt to pay. Bill Ruger’s gun control efforts—pro-waiting period and magazine capacity limitations—are a significant stain on the company’s history. Pro-gun national ads would go a long way to right that wrong. Right?

At the end of the proverbial day, to quote Andrew Wilkow (of all people) the pro-gun rights argument can not be broken. The fight for our gun rights is the fight to be heard. TTAG is doing its part. I implore Ruger to continue doing theirs by taking the gun rights movement into the mainstream media, where it belongs.

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    • I would guess not, I know several people that work for living social and they are much more ‘experience’ based in their offers. LivingSocial is doing a huge part to bring in new shooters to the cause. I jumped on Yelp for reviews of a couple other ranges in the area and many were submitted by new shooters that bought deals for themselves and friends on living social. Many ended with “I’ll be back, this wasn’t what I expected, wow, fun”.

  1. Hmmm. Maybe we should take up a collection!! Say $5 per TTAG member per month and make up either print ads or video ads to run on Mainstream media and in papers!
    When they refuse because it is Pro Gun then simply inform them that they are violating the First Amendment and are in jeopardy of facing a discrimination/bias lawsuit because we all know they run every anti gun ad and speech and campaign that comes along!
    Maybe RF could be our main spokesman for pro gun and other constitutional rights.
    Just a thought!!
    After all “The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword” as the saying goes!!
    Hell we might actually change somebody’s mind!!

  2. The problem facing us in this culture war, is that the opposition owns all the public media outlets. Ruger could write a billion dollar check to CNN, and they’d turn it down and use the offer as PR hay to sell an inflammatory story about the ‘NRA Gun Lobby’ trying to buy the media.

    Our nation , for better or worse is divided on the subject of civil gun ownership, and I daresay that’s going to be the new “normal” for the forseeable future. People in states which recognize the RKBA will enjoy being treated as individuals, and the nanny state utopians will continue to gnash their teeth at being unable to force their philosophy on the rest of us.

  3. I never before imagined a Ruger ad on network television. Which makes your point, I think. Can you imagine the s__t storm if such an ad were placed?

  4. This site’s practice of finding interesting YouTube videos and giving them broader exposure is another technique to fight the culture war. Viral videos can’t be crafted as such, they have to be “discovered” – and the effect can greatly outweigh national ad campaigns.

    And yes, I’d be much more interested in buying a Ruger if they counter acted their past cave-in to gun control by running a campaign for gun ownership.

  5. as guns continue to go mainstream and more people take up their right to protect themselves we will see a change even in the msm. the msm doesn’t stand on principal, when they see that money can be made off gun ads they will come around.

  6. When you said

    “As you may already know, Google AdWords and Google Shopping have a no-firearms policy. As does Bing’s shopping search engine.”

    I believe you are mistaken about Bing in that I can (as of the posting of this message) search for firearm prices in it’s search engine.

  7. We have a locally owned hunting/fishing store now advertising on cable tv . The 4th generation owner is shown shooting a handgun, a bow, and fishing in a stream. It’s a new thing to see on tv for me, and I like it.

  8. Locally I have a pawn shop running ads that prominently display firearms and makes no secret that they sell them. They usually run during Pawn Stars episodes. I was floored the first time I saw it. It’s local advertising in a small pro-gun section of a generally anti-gun state. Baby steps

  9. I remember back in the 60’s Colt had an ad, with a Catholic Priest shooting a Colt Python. I was impressed by that to say the least. If more clergy would talk about our rights, as opposed to being touchy- feely, I believe we would see attitudes changing very quickly.

    I have seen more hypocrites in a church, than in a bar. At least in a bar, every one knows why you are there. In a church it has always been my contention, that many people are seen there, to give a false impression of themselves, to all the others that are for the same reason.

    Just like among so called liberals, there are far more racisist in the commie-crat party. What has this to do with firearms? Not much perhaps, it is basically observations. A black guy from N.C. once told me that he would live next door to a KKK member, before he would a liberal. At least he knew what the guy in the KKK was thinking.

  10. Four points:

    1– Yet another South African model. They sure know how to grow ’em down there, don’t they?
    2– The acting may have been cheesy, but the ending made me laugh. “Wanna trade?” “No.
    3– I am more likely to have the gun guy take one out of the case for me to look at now than I was before I saw the ad. Doesn’t mean I’ll buy one, but I wasn’t even going to look before, so I’d call that a win.
    4– I’d be fantastically amused to read the frothing at the mouth letters to the editor in the local paper if that Ruger ad ran on TV in prime time.

  11. I recall being impressed by the “I’m the NRA” ads which were run years ago. I’d like to see similar, but perhaps independent ads in a “I’m a gun owner” series where people could see that everyday, respectable citizens and neighbors own guns and support gun rights.

  12. I couldn’t disagree more with the central thesis of the post for a variety of reasons.

    First, if Ruger (or anyone else) wanted to atone for the sins of the past with money, I’d much rather they spent it on direct public education (such as encouraging shooting sports clubs on college campuses), or on legal advocacy (e.g., Second Amendment Foundation).

    Second, spending millions on advertising on the MSM strikes me as being similar to continuing to buy Saudi oil. Sure, they’ll take the money, and then the company and all of its employees paid by said company would just funnel it to the Antis anyhow. Unless you think the NYTimes or CNN is filled with folks who’d donate to the NRA?

    Third, the culture war that must be fought cannot be fought on the narrow grounds of Gun Rights. That makes everyone focus on the GUN, and naturally puts us on the defensive. Like any battle, we don’t want to fight it on the field the enemy has chosen.

    Instead, the war must be fought on the broader context of individualism vs. collectivism. Legal gunowners understand the relationship between liberty and responsibility better than most people, because we know what it means to hold the ability to easily kill another person in our hands. That same relationship between liberty and responsibility exists in virtually all areas of life, but we haven’t made that point strongly enough, nor gone on the attack enough.

    Just like one doesn’t have to be gay to support gay marriage, or be a drug user to support legalization of pot, we need to advance the point that one doesn’t need to be a gun owner to support the right to own, carry, and use firearms.

    Most Americans still think that it is somewhat shameful to outsource one’s housing and food to the government (section 8 housing and food stamps); why is it not shameful to outsource one’s security to the government?

    But then, we are living in a country where close to half the people think that the government should provide us with free healthcare… without thinking about what strings might come with that “free” health plan. Nevermind all that “Keep Your Laws Off My Body” business, I guess.

    So the larger war, the bigger debate needs to happen. I don’t see how the Second Amendment survives, if the American people as a whole decide that they rather like the Collectivist path.

    From a culture/media standpoint, if Ruger wanted to do something significant, it would do massive media buys on places like Breitbart, PajamasMedia,, and even YouTube. Every single time I go to watch a hickok45 video, I get treated to some random movie ad, or some consumer goods ad. Hey, marketers at Ruger, S&W, Magpul, Aimpoint, etc. etc. — those videos are of people shooting guns. You might wanna think about advertising there.

    From a culture war standpoint, it is absolutely inadequate to advertise on their channels. Rather, we need to build up compelling content of our own. For example, instead of Stars Earn Stripes type of crap programming, why not spend the money to get IDPA or 3-Gun competitions on cable networks? Or start the U.S. Shooting Sports Open and offer $10M in prize money? The more people see normal, attractive people like Tori Nonaka perform at these extremely high levels, more they will see the entire firearms ownership as being more than “thugs who wanna murder us”.

    Finally, some people’s minds won’t ever be changed until they experience something that makes them realize the world is full of evil people who cannot be reasoned with. The recent essays on TTAG about conversion are excellent examples. Thing is, with the economy the way it is, with the finances of blue states and blue municipalities the way they are, I suspect that more and more Americans will come to realize that if they do not protect themselves, no one else will… because they won’t be able to.

    Sorry this got long and rambling.


  13. I think that there is a better chance of seeing ads by the major manufacturers on a cable channel like Spike or G4 than on a major network. S&W has a tacticool commercial for their M&P line that runs on the Outdoor channel that would appeal to the Modern Warfare video game crowd. I think that that’s the easiest way in for more eventually mainstream advertising.

  14. I’d rather see pro golfers wear hats sponsored by S&W or Ruger etc, and then see the networks try and block or not show the hat during interviews or golf shots! Or Nascar with logos on the hoods!

    • In the NASCAR Truck Series, is a major sponsor; that’s how I first heard of them. I have friends who watch NASCAR but are anti-gun, so maybe the exposure will encourage change. I have no problem with more gun ads- it would be an improvement over the ads we already tolerate on TV!

  15. Dear Groupon,

    Hi. I just want to let you know, I will not use your services. The reason for this is your irrational “ban” of firearms related training following the tragic shooting in Colorado.

    I don’t understand what logic led you to conclude one soon to be court certified insane shooter means you need to limit the access of lawful firearms owners to training which, among other things, allows them to be more judicious and educated regarding the responsibility carrying a firearm represents. I guess you would prefer less-trained, less-capable people lawfully carrying firearms in your community.

    At any rate, with regard to your community, count me out. I’ve served in the military for 10 years, and through two operational deployments, and guess what? Bad people do have firearms. Whether you are in America or overseas. And the best defense against the bad people with guns, is a well trained response. You are making getting that training more difficult.

    Know what I noticed about Aurora:

    1) No one in the theater had a firearm other than the crazy shooter

    2) It took police (who were AT THE THEATER) two minutes to respond.

    Thanks, but I refuse to be a victim. And I refuse to patronize corporations, like Groupon, which encourage violence by denying the average citizen the ability to respond to criminal action.



  16. Bing shopping still shows results for firearms, ammo, and accessories. It’s not as good as google shopping was, but it has gotten better in the last couple of weeks.


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