“Start Them Young” – The “Fiscal and Political” Benefits of Marketing Guns to Children

As noted by Shooting Sports Retailer, the impetus for marketing to children is both “fiscal and political.”33 In addition to the hoped-for financial benefits of marketing guns to youth, a corollary goal is to ensure that such an effort will help maintain a pro-gun base for political action.

Writing in the NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom magazine, Editor Mark Chesnut warns that “the future of our freedom – and our shooting and hunting heritage – lies in our children and grandchildren. Let’s not get too busy or too focused on ourselves and our own activities to pass along to our kids the important things they need to know in order to be informed citizens and voters in the future.”34

In a Spring 2012 editorial, Junior Shooters Editor-In-Chief Andy Fink chided those gun industry members who, when urged to target youth, respond, “Oh, that isn’t my market?”35   Noting that it’s not just an issue of jobs, but of “gun rights,” he warns:

It is thrilling to see so many people supporting juniors around the country. People are volunteering their time. Companies and organizations also provide time, energy, products, and money to ensure the shooting sports continue. However, we are not doing enough. All the companies involved in the shooting industry need to realize our youth are the future of the shooting industry and thus each job within the industry is dependent upon juniors growing up with an appreciation for the sport we love. Each adult needs to help in some way by volunteering, or promoting youth shooting. This effort will also have a huge impact on retaining our gun rights, our hunting heritage, and wildlife conservation. We all need to do our part.36

Later that year, Fink revisited the issue:

Each person who is introduced to the shooting sports and has a positive experience is another vote in favor of keeping our American heritage and freedom alive. They may not be old enough to vote now, but they will be in the future. And think about how many lives they will come in contact with that they can impact! Each of us affects others, and it is up to us how we make an impact on the future.37

P 18 JS Preserving 2nd Amen Ad JS March 2011 SE
Junior Shooters, March 2011

Or, as a Junior Shooters promotional ad for itself in the magazine cheerfully explained under the headline “Junior Shooters: Making a Mark” — “This is not your everyday magazine. This is a magazine for kids and parents interested in preserving our 2nd Amendment rights. But not in a stuffy shirt, political way. We want to have fun. Join us.”38

And in an article on the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s 2015 gun industry summit, Shooting Sports Retailer stated:

And of course, the problem with failing to recruit and grow is that numbers equate to political power. In an era when the private ownership and use of firearms, the right to “keep and bear arms,” has come under increasing pressure, numbers and a young, vital membership are critical.39

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Next – Junior Shooters: “For Kids By Kids”