Bushmaster is (Still) the Worst Marketer in the History of Guns

I have written about this issue previously, but the recent court ruling in Connecticut allowing a lawsuit against Remington blaming their advertising for the Sandy Hook massacre to go forward forces me to revisit it.

As dumb as many people thought Bushmaster’s “man card” ad was, if it is supposed to be responsible for mass homicide then Remington needs to fire its ad agency because the campaign was a terrible failure.

bushmaster man card

Including the Sandy Hook massacre of 26 people, the total number of Americans who were murdered with all rifles (including but not limited to AR-15 platform rifles) in 2012 was 298 – 2.3% of the 12,888 murders that year. Both the number (332) and proportion (2.6%) of murders with rifles were higher in 2011 than in 2012, and the number (367) and proportion (2.8%) were higher in 2010 than in 2011. (According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.)

Murder Victims by Weapon 2013 Data

A more likely culprit than gun advertising in understanding mass homicides is the news media. Perhaps the Sandy Hook families should be suing ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN for so excessively publicizing mass murders that they foster copy-cats? Immediately after the Sandy Hook homicides, The Atlantic ran a story suggesting that “The Media Needs to Stop Inspiring Copycat Murders.” More recently there was a host of media coverage in the fall of 2015, such one in Mother Jones — like The Atlantic, no friend of guns — about “How the Media Inspires Mass Shooters.”

I have sympathy for the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre. I don’t know how I would react to the loss of one of my children or loved ones. I am sure I would lash out with anger and experience major depression, and then want to do something about it. But a lawsuit goes beyond an emotional outburst, and seems to me to be a waste of time, energy, and money that could be put to better use – perhaps in trying to “cure violence” in the places it is most prevalent.


  1. To me, the question isn’t one of how many murders with ARs. How many mass murders are one too many? A discussion of guns as serious business rather than as stupid man card check the box exercises is in order. But as you say, they are responsible for a tiny fraction of murders and even when banned as in Europe, terrorists get hold of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Agreed, they need to fire their advertiser. Though maybe they’re really marketing to pajama boy? In that case maybe a mancard is a thing. It’s still a stupid ad campaign. Slight change of subject…as much as I detest New Zealand’s reaction to the shooting there, I have to say at least they’re not splashing the shooter up across the media to give him the fame so many shooters ask for . They’re giving him everything else he wanted, but at least they’re not giving the notoriety.


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