Forbes: Most Guns are Bought as a Form of Political Virtue Signaling

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Forbes editor Elizabeth MacBride takes her astonished readers along on her journey of discovery into the mysterious world of America’s gun business, its customers, and their strange customs.

Of course, there are some guns that are still marketed as tools, used for hunting, or purely as collectibles, as items of beauty. Guns are an accessory to a day out at the gun range.

But the larger share — it’s hard to estimate how large it is, because there aren’t good numbers on exactly how many guns are sold in the United States — are bought as tokens of political belonging and as luxury brand items. A gun connotes a wild kind of fun, like a sports car, even if you never drive it. It’s a toy for a grown-up boys, and increasingly, grown-up girls.

These are the messages I’ve seen, over time, the emotional threads that companies and dealers use to reach their consumers: Guns will help you feel powerful. Guns will give you an identity as a protector. Owning guns, especially the right guns, will help you feel part of a group.

– Elizabeth MacBride in The Second Amendment Is A Marketing Slogan, And Other Lessons From The Gun Business Beat

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