Vintage gun ads recall the true America

By Dean Rieck

Red Rider Carbine Ad from the 1930sThere are people today who are shocked to discover that gun manufacturers advertise their products in magazines displayed on grocery store shelves.

Gun ads? In a grocery store? What if the children see those ads?

As shocking as it might be to some people, there was a time not so long ago when guns were not only advertised in dedicated "gun" magazines, they were routinely advertised in popular publications of all kinds.

Guns used to be a normal and acceptable part of American life. Guns were accepted as necessary tools and respectable recreational equipment ... even for children.

A boy learned to shoot before the training wheels came off his bike. He could even carry his rifle to school for shooting practice without causing a panic that resulted in a S.W.A.T. team locking down the school.

Sometime in the later half of the 20th century, that began to change. Slowly, the idea that people are responsible for their own actions faded away and was replaced by the notion that society's ills can be controlled by regulating objects such as guns.

People are no better or worse now than they were in days gone by. There have always been murders. There have always been bad people. What's missing now is common sense. And along the way, we've lost a big part of the American character.

The true America is a land populated with a diverse and unique mix of hardworking pioneers and entrepreneurs, people filled with optimism, energy, self-confidence, faith, and a devotion to real equality and individual liberty.

The true American is practical, willing to solve problems without endless government interference, able to see crime for what it is: bad things done by bad people.

It's a shame that our children are growing up in a society that brands them as "disturbed" or "dangerous" if they so much as draw a picture of a gun or wear an NRA t-shirt to school. It's nothing but prejudice fueled by fear, ignorance, and a fading sense of self-reliance, a trait that once defined Americans as American.

Just as the fight for civil rights was about more than where people can sit on a bus, the fight for gun rights is about more than owning or carrying guns. A gun has come to symbolize a set of values and traditions that set America apart from the dictatorships and "collectivist" societies around the world.

Guns are about self-determination, liberty, and having a government that trusts instead of fears its citizens.

That's an America worth fighting for. It's something we should take back for ourselves and pass on to our children, so that one day "gun control" really will mean "hitting your target."

Here are a few vintage gun ads from days gone by:

Colt Revolver Ad from 1910

Colt Revolver Ad from 1910

Daisy Air Rifle Ad from the 1930s

Daisy Air Rifle Ad from the 1930s

Winchester Ad from 1947

Winchester Ad from 1947

Hi Standard .22 Ad from 1957

Hi Standard .22 Ad from 1957

Look at more vintage gun ads.

Dean Rieck is BFA's Marketing and Communications Director and a direct marketing consultant for clients in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

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