The gun industry has long understood that it faces a slow-motion demographic collapse. As household gun ownership has steadily declined since the 1970s and the traditional gun market of white males continues to age, the firearms industry has set its sights on America’s children. 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 the creation of the next generation of pro-gun advocates for future political battles. Gun companies have teamed up with “corporate partners” like the National Rifle Association of America, the gun industry’s trade association the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and others in an industry-wide effort to market firearms to kids. The 2016 Violence Policy Center study “Start Them Young”– How the Firearms Industry and Gun Lobby Are Targeting Your Children offers a detailed analysis of this coordinated, industry-wide effort.
“Start Them Young”
How the Firearms Industry and Gun Lobby Are Targeting Your Children
Click below to view the companion video for “Start Them Young.”
Table of Contents
Copyright and Acknowledgments
Copyright © February 2016 Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center (VPC) is a national nonprofit educational organization that conducts research and public education on violence in America and provides information and analysis to policymakers, journalists, advocates, and the general public.
This publication was funded with the support of the Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund.
Primary author for this study was Josh Sugarmann. Additional research and writing was provided by Marty Langley, Avery Palmer, Kristen Rand, and Jane Wiesenberg.
The VPC would like to express its sincere appreciation to Sue Roman for the photographs and companion video she contributed to the study. (See https://youtu.be/rjKXGN7hYcg for video).
For a complete list of VPC publications with document links, please visit http://www.vpc.org/publications/.
To help support the work of the Violence Policy Center by making a tax-deductible contribution, please visit www.vpc.org/contribute.htm.
The Title – “Start Them Young” is a section head of the 2012 National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) publication Understanding Activities that Compete with Hunting and Target Shooting, 2011 Comprehensive Consumer Study, Executive Summary. NSSF is the official trade association for the firearms industry.
The Photo – “A chilling photograph of a small boy, gnawing on a pistol clutched in his tiny hands, dressed in camouflage and with a grenade and ammunition belt in his lap, was recovered from the weapon-filled home of Sandy Hook school gunman Adam Lanza….A family friend said that Lanza and his older brother were taught to shoot almost as soon as they could hold a weapon by their mother Nancy, a gun fanatic. But a spokesman for Mrs. Lanza’s ex-husband, Peter, last night denied that the child in the uncaptioned photograph was either son.” – “Sandy Hook report reveals Lanza children’s early exposure to guns,” The Telegraph, December 28, 2013