“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
 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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