The Newtown, Conn., school massacre, which took the lives of 27 women and young children, caused many Americans to re-evaluate the role of guns in society.The Bushmaster AR-15, one of three guns shooter Adam Lanza used, was marketed to appeal to men’s machismo. Its ad, headlined, “consider your man card reissued”, drew attention to how guns are advertised in the United States.
From sex, safety, to stereotypes about masculinity, here’s a collection of what gun ads look like today and how they’ve evolved in the last century.
Adam Lanza brandished a Bushmaster AR-15 when he murdered 27 women and small children in Newtown. This is how that weapon is marketing to the general public. Magazine ads equate owning the gun to being a man.
Of course, not all gun ads bait customers by questioning their masculinity. This Smith & Wesson ad, for example, only highlights the product's features and functionality.
In fact, early gun advertising from the 1900s and 1910s simply touted the benefits of the gun itself. It ignored what the gun was actually for.
But the true shift came in the 1940s. World War II inspired gun advertising aimed at civilians, likening them to soldiers.
Gun marketing embraces the notion that guns give civilians their only chance of survival in a dangerous world.
But other ads use scare tactics. This ad, which appeared on various gun blogs, urges fathers to arm their daughters, claiming it's their best protection against rapists with AIDS.
Holiday gun ads continue today. This strange ad from 2012 offers World War II era guns that come with Nazi memorabilia.
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