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US firearms industry targets children in marketing efforts

US firearms industry targets children in marketing efforts

Posted January. 29, 2013 03:13,   


The Boy Scouts of America holds marksmanship training called “Junior Clinic” for members aged 8 to 17 in every autumn. Military shooting coaches provide personal attention from the proper posture to aiming.

The training is sponsored by firearms lobbying groups such as the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, as well as gun manufacturers including Smith & Wesson. The Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifle is used in the training. The semiautomatic weapon was used by Adam Lanza in his shooting spree to kill 26 people, including 20 children, in Newtown, Connecticut in December last year.

The Bushmaster can have up to 100 bullets loaded at one time. Despite criticism of its use in a camp for children, the firearms industry says the rifle should be considered as a tool for entertainment, like a baseball bat.

According to the New York Times on Sunday, the U.S. gun industry has begun marketing, which targets children by sponsoring marksmanship training, as they are developing video games with firearms and lobbying the government to lower the hunting age for children. This is part of a bid to attract children as customers while gun sales have been declining due to the spread of video games, growing momentum for stricter gun regulations, and a steep decline in demand for hunting guns stemming from urbanization.

A firearm magazine for children had a 15-year-old blonde girl holding a semiautomatic rifle on the front page. A discount coupon for the Bushmaster rifle is attached, saying, “Show this coupon to your parents!”

The National Rifle Association donated 21 million U.S. dollars to the Boy Scouts’ shooting program, which is double what it donated in 2005. Such efforts by firearms lobbying groups have helped to lower the hunting age from 12 to 10 in Wisconsin and the repeal of the age limit in Michigan.

The U.S. gun industry claimed that firearms nurture a sense of responsibility and ethics in children. But Jess P. Shatkin, a mental health professor at New York University, said young people are naturally impulsive and their brains are engineered to take risks, making them ill-suited for handling guns.

U.S. President Barack Obama told the New Republic in an interview, "So it`s trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months. And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes." This comment seems intended to tender and seek support from conservatives who want to retain gun rights.