“Start Them Young”

How the Firearms Industry and Gun Lobby Are Targeting Your Children

Lanza Report Photo

Click below to view the companion video for “Start Them Young.”

Table of Contents

Select Firearms Industry and Gun Lobby Quotes on Marketing Guns to Children From the Study


Following the Tobacco Industry’s Path: The Search for Replacement Shooters

Davey Crickett, Little Jake, and the Marlin Man

“Tactical Rifles” for Kids

Guns in a Rainbow of Colors

The “Fiscal and Political” Benefits of Marketing Guns to Children

Junior Shooters: “For Kids By Kids”

NRA “Junior Members”

National Shooting Sports Foundation: The Gun Industry’s Tobacco Institute

The Industry Finds Its “‘Reality’ Video Game” in 3-Gun Competition

The Reality of Children and Guns

Conclusion and Recommendations



Copyright and Acknowledgments

Copyright © February 2016 Violence Policy Center

The Violence Policy Center (VPC) is a national nonprofit educational organization that conducts research and public education on violence in America and provides information and analysis to policymakers, journalists, advocates, and the general public.

This publication was funded with the support of the Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund.

Primary author for this study was Josh Sugarmann. Additional research and writing was provided by Marty Langley, Avery Palmer, Kristen Rand, and Jane Wiesenberg.

The VPC would like to express its sincere appreciation to Sue Roman for the photographs and companion video she contributed to the study. (See https://youtu.be/rjKXGN7hYcg for video).

For a complete list of VPC publications with document links, please visit http://vpc.org/publications/.

To help support the work of the Violence Policy Center by making a tax-deductible contribution, please visit www.vpc.org/contribute.htm.


The Title – “Start Them Young” is a section head of the 2012 National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) publication Understanding Activities that Compete with Hunting and Target Shooting, 2011 Comprehensive Consumer Study, Executive Summary. NSSF is the official trade association for the firearms industry.

The Photo – “A chilling photograph of a small boy, gnawing on a pistol clutched in his tiny hands, dressed in camouflage and with a grenade and ammunition belt in his lap, was recovered from the weapon-filled home of Sandy Hook school gunman Adam Lanza….A family friend said that Lanza and his older brother were taught to shoot almost as soon as they could hold a weapon by their mother Nancy, a gun fanatic. But a spokesman for Mrs. Lanza’s ex-husband, Peter, last night denied that the child in the uncaptioned photograph was either son.” – “Sandy Hook report reveals Lanza children’s early exposure to guns,” The Telegraph, December 28, 2013