Gun Industry and NRA Target Blacks and Latinos as First-Time Gun Owners and Future Pro-Gun Advocates, New Violence Policy Center Study Details

Media Contact: Georgia Seltzer, (202) 822-8200 x104,

Washington, DC–In response to stagnation in the traditional white male market, the gun industry and National Rifle Association (NRA) are now targeting Blacks and Latinos as potential new gun buyers according to a new study from the Violence Policy Center (VPC).

The 39-page report, How the Firearms Industry and NRA Market Guns to Communities of Color, documents efforts begun in 2015 that have only intensified over time. The VPC report reveals the scope of this marketing effort as evidenced by: gun industry marketing studies and related materials from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF, the trade association for the firearms industry); articles in gun industry publications, advertisements, videos, and social media; and, NRA articles, online programming, and related materials.

In its marketing efforts to communities of color, the gun industry frequently focuses on the self-defense use of firearms, despite the fact that guns are rarely used to stop crimes or kill criminals and are far more likely to be used in homicides, suicides, or fatal unintentional shootings. Recognizing that Blacks and Latinos are already disproportionately impacted by lethal gun violence, these efforts can only increase death and injury in these communities.

VPC Executive Director and study author Josh Sugarmann states, “Much like the tobacco industry’s search for replacement smokers, the gun industry is seeking replacement shooters. Along with the hope of increased gun sales, a corollary goal of this effort is to turn more Blacks and Latinos, who historically support gun violence prevention measures, into pro-gun advocates for future political battles.”

How the Firearms Industry and NRA Market Guns to Communities of Color traces the origin of this coordinated marketing effort to the 2015 NSSF “Industry Summit,” the theme of which was “diversity.” After the event, an NSSF press release lauded the “cohesive effort across the industry as a whole to address this subject and innovate change…[W]e’re about to experience a ground-swell shift in that attitude.” Or as the head of NSSF boasted, “What a difference this is from just a few years ago when the industry was lamenting that it was becoming stale, male and pale.”

How the Firearms Industry and NRA Market Guns to Communities of Color offers a detailed look at NSSF, firearms industry, and NRA marketing efforts, including:

Additional sections of the study include:

In its conclusion, the study states, “As with the alcohol and tobacco industries, the joint actions of the NRA and the firearms industry should be seen for what they are: a cynical marketing effort by a rogue industry that values its own perpetuation above all, including any lives lost or communities adversely impacted.”


The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on Twitter and Facebook.