Advertisements for guns have long been used to stoke fear, offer a little testosterone boost, or give the potential owners—particularly the core target audience of young men—a taste of the good life as a cowboy, cop, soldier, or videogame combatant. Here are some samples through the years beginning with Bushmaster, manufacturer of the rifle allegedly used in the Newtown school shooting.
Bushmaster rifle ad in, where else, Maxim. Bushmaster
It's all about progress. Bushmaster
Start 'em young. Mattel
How many people buying a Sig would be stoked to win a Smart Car?
Yes, there is a gun-maker called Savage Arms, and this is its logo. Savage Arms
Buy NOW, or else. USA Ammo
You're welcome, ladies. Taurus
Your trusty revolver vs. the well-dressed criminal. Smith & Wesson
The "home protection" theme goes way back. Smith & Wesson
On the other hand, safety used to be more of a marketing pitch. Colt
The original Homer Simpson bowling ball gift. Colt
Start him right. Winchester
...okay, start 'em REALLY young. "Papa says it won't hurt us." Iver Johnson