For Release: Thursday, January 31, 2002
Report Exposes Gun Industry’s Most Dangerous Trends
WASHINGTON, DC – A new report from the Violence Policy Center (VPC), The State of the Gun Industry, released for the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade) Show opening this Saturday reveals five of the gun industry’s most deadly trends and dangerous marketing practices.
The 24th annual SHOT Show will be held February 2 to 5, 2002, in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is sponsored by the gun industry trade group the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), and is the largest annual gun trade show in America and the major showcase for handguns, rifles, shotguns, and ammunition for the civilian market.
“While the gun industry displays its firepower at this year’s SHOT show, all Americans will continue to suffer the consequences of an unregulated industry which kills nearly 30,000 people every year, and puts the security of our nation at risk,” states Marty Langley, VPC policy analyst.
The State of the Gun Industry details recent gun industry niche marketing efforts and trends including:
50 Caliber Sniper Rifles: 50 caliber sniper rifles can accurately hit long-range targets at 1,800 meters, yet are easier to buy than handguns. Voting From the Rooftops, a report by the Violence Policy Center, documents in detail the clear and present danger 50 caliber sniper rifles present to all Americans.
Unintended Consequences: While the gun industry works to exploit Americans’ fears in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, they have been working even harder to keep hidden from the American public a secret they readily share amongst themselves handguns are a poor choice as a tool for self-defense.
Pocket Rockets: In an effort to boost declining handgun sales, the gun industry has increased the lethality of its products by producing larger caliber, higher-capacity, and more readily concealable handguns known as “pocket rockets.” Virtually all handgun manufacturers now sell “pocket rockets,” including: Smith & Wesson; Colt’s Manufacturing Company; Glock; Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.; and Hi-Point Firearms.
Marketing to Kids: The gun industry has struggled with stagnant or declining sales for several years because of the saturation of its primary market of white males. In response, the NSSF, the National Rifle Association (NRA), and gun manufacturers openly acknowledge their desire to cultivate an expanded youth market and have acted on it.
Unregulated Shooting Ranges: Although outdoor firing ranges put more lead into the environment than nearly any other major industrial sector in the United States, they remain almost entirely unregulated. In just two years a typical outdoor firing range can have lead contamination equivalent to a five-acre Superfund site.
“As the gun industry gathers to celebrate their deadly trade, the SHOT Show offers a unique and disturbing opportunity to see firsthand the marketing strategies and increasingly lethal products of the gun industry,” the VPC’s Langley adds. “The clear picture that emerges from the SHOT Show is that what is good for the gun industry’s bottom line is dangerous for public health and safety.”