Cultural Anthropologist Griffin Dix explores the proliferation of firearms and find that, in the immortal words of Yogurt, it was all “merchandising, my boy, merchandising.”
First — in response to declining sales of hunting rifles and shotguns — the gun industry initiated a four-decade marketing campaign to persuade Americans to buy handguns for home protection. In 1960 only 27 percent of the annual addition to the American gun stock consisted of handguns; by 1994 handguns’ share had doubled to 54 percent.
The industry’s marketing effort emphasized the need to have a handgun instantly available when — inevitably — your home is invaded. Gun marketers circulated criminologist Gary Kleck’s wildly inflated estimate that guns are used 2.4 million times per year for self-defense. Kleck’s research was riddled with errors soon exposed by Harvard’s David Hemenway. Subsequent studies showed that rather than providing protection, gun ownership greatly increased the risk of homicide and suicide in the home.
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