"Here's another attempt to demonize a weapon that a lot of Americans look to for self-defensive purposes," Erich Pratt said. Yet it was another man with an AR-15 who is "the one who's hailed for having stopped the guy."
The ads leap out from the pages of almost any gun magazine: Soldiers wearing greasepaint and camouflage wield military-style rifles depicted as essential to the American way of life. A promotional spot by the Mossberg brand boasts of weapons "engineered to the specs of freedom and independence."
The ad campaigns by major gun makers did not pause after mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a Texas church, and the slick messages are big drivers of sales ahead of Black Friday, by far the heaviest shopping day each year for firearms.
But the marketing tactics for the semi-automatic weapons known as AR rifles are under new scrutiny following the recent attacks. Gun-control activists say the ads risk inspiring the next shooter, while gun-rights advocates insist the weapons are being blamed for the works of deranged individuals....
To Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, gun-control advocates focus on vilifying the weapon and not the people behind the crimes. And, he notes, the gunman in Texas who killed more than two dozen churchgoers was pursued by a man nearby who shot at him with his own AR rifle.
"Here's another attempt to demonize a weapon that a lot of Americans look to for self-defensive purposes," Pratt said. Yet it was another man with an AR-15 who is "the one who's hailed for having stopped the guy."