“Papa Says It’s Safe”: 20 Astounding Gun Ads

The firearms industry sure knows how to tempt its audience.


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

 

Sig Sauer

 

How many people buying a Sig would be stoked to win a Smart Car?
 
 

Subtle. Remington
 

Remington
 

Daniel Defense
 

Yes, there is a gun-maker called Savage Arms, and this is its logo. Savage Arms
 

Buy NOW, or else. USA Ammo
 

POF-USA
 

EAA Corp.
 

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
 

Remington
 

Start him right. Winchester

…okay, start ’em REALLY young. “Papa says it won’t hurt us.” Iver Johnson
 

$500,000 MATCHING GIFT

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.