Militarization dominates the public face of today’s gun industry, whether in magazine ads, manufacturer catalogs and websites, or the content of firearm magazines that cater to gun owners. In these outlets, three themes are consistently found:
Language and images that equate military-bred weaponry as the virtual embodiment of freedom. In this context, gun owners are often portrayed as brave men (and it is almost always men) standing alone, a front-line force against oppression, often from the government. Some companies harken back to the era of the Founding Fathers, encouraging these gun buyers to view themselves as modern-day patriots.
The use of terms and images drawn from military or law enforcement extolling the virtues of the potential gun buyer, including hero. These descriptions are supplemented by words such as “bravery,” “honor,” and similar terms to describe an undefined “mission.” The accompanying images most often feature users outfitted in military-style gear.
Language and images touting that the guns being sold are identical, or virtually identical, to the weapons carried and used by law enforcement or the military. Many manufacturers highlight the military and/or law enforcement pedigree of their firearms. Often, the only difference is that the weapons sold to civilians are semiautomatic, firing one bullet per trigger pull, as opposed to being able to fire in burst or fully automatic mode.