SHOT Show an Example of a Politically Powerful Industry Desperate to Hide Its Decline

For Release: Thursday, January 13, 2011

Increasingly Militarized Civilian Gun Industry on Display January 18 to 21 in Las Vegas 

Vendors Include Glock, Maker of Handgun Used in Arizona and Virginia Tech Mass Shootings 

Increased Lethality, Shrinking Customer Base Defines Today’s Gun Industry 

WASHINGTON, DC — Next week, America’s gunmakers will assemble for the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) Show, the annual trade show for the firearms industry. As household gun ownership has dropped dramatically since the early 1970s and America’s youth turn away from guns, the SHOT Show is proof of the gun industry’s embrace of increased lethality to shore up its fading market and declining sales.

The SHOT Show will bring together hundreds of vendors – including Glock, a manufacturer of pistols used in multiple mass shootings, which markets its handguns as “pocket rockets” – and tens of thousands of attendees, as lawmakers in Congress are expected to introduce legislation to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines like those used in last week’s mass shooting in Arizona. The show comes at a time that most of the major gun manufacturers are experiencing a significant decline in demand and falling sales.

Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, states, “Most Americans would be shocked at what the gun industry has become. For those deeply concerned by the firepower unleashed in Arizona last week, the SHOT Show proves that America’s increasingly militarized gun industry has embraced heightened firepower and greater ammunition capacity in its marketing efforts to a shrinking customer base.” 

While closed to the general public, the SHOT Show is open to the news media. Below is information from the SHOT Show’s sponsor, the gun industry trade association the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

WHERE: Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV
WHEN: Tuesday, January 18 – Friday, January 21, 2011

Phone: 203-426-1320

The Violence Policy Center has released studies that demonstrate the gun industry’s reliance on increased lethality, militarization, and political lobbying in its failed efforts to stem the long-term decline in American household gun ownership.

In light of long-term decreases in household gun ownership in the United States and the industry’s ongoing concerns that it lacks ‘replacement shooters’ to take the place of an aging market, these marketing trends represent a concerted effort to re-sell current gun owners.

(See the VPC study “A Shrinking Minority: The Continuing Decline of Gun Ownership in America,”

Small, high-capacity “pocket rocket” (a term coined by handgun manufacturer Glock) pistols designed for concealed carry. Such manufacturers scheduled to be at the SHOT Show include: Smith & Wesson; Sturm,Ruger; Sig Sauer; Glock; and, Beretta.

(See the VPC study “Pocket Rockets: The Gun Industry’s Sale of Increased Firepower,”

The industry is attempting to rebrand military-style assault weapons as “modern sporting rifles,” primarily AK-47 and AR-15 rifle and pistol models. Numerous assault rifle models are purchased in quantity on the civilian market in the U.S. and then illegally trafficked into Mexico where they help feed ongoing drug wars. Such manufacturers scheduled as exhibitors at the SHOT Show include: DPMS; Bushmaster; Century International Arms; Rock River Arms, FN (Fabrique National); and, Colt’s Manufacturing Company.

(See the VPC study, “Indicted: Types of Firearms and Methods of Gun Trafficking from the United States to Mexico as Revealed in U.S. Court Documents,”

MARKETING ARMOR-PIERCING MILITARY WEAPONS FOR CIVILIAN USE The most stark example of the industry’s embrace of military technology is its manufacture and marketing of 50 caliber sniper rifles (like those used by U.S. troops overseas) that can penetrate armor-plating from a mile away and can down jetliners on take-off and landing. Such manufacturers scheduled to be at the SHOT Show include: Barrett; Armalite; and, Bushmaster.

(See the VPC study “Clear and Present Danger: National Security Experts Warn About the Danger of Unrestricted Sales of 50 Caliber Anti-Armor Sniper Rifles to Civilians,”





About the Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy Center is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

Media Contact:
Georgia Seltzer
(202) 822-8200 x104