In an eye-opening piece from Mother Jones this week, the magazine shows how NRA ads from the early 20th Century to the present demonstrate that the organization has “shifted from promoting gun ownership, shooting, and hunting as good, clean, constitutionally-protected fun” into a hardline group “closely allied with the gun industry and the conservative establishment,” marketing heavily an idea that the only solution to gun violence is more guns.
1920: “Rifle Shooting is a Mighty Fine Sport.” This ad which appeared in Boys Life shows how trusting and reverent the organization once was of the government, as opposed to now with its constant fear-mongering of government gun-grab conspiracies.
1951: “A 50-Cent Junior Membership.” This ad entices younger potential members with marksmanship awards.
1957: “More Fun With Your Guns!” The NRA touts itself as a “great sportsman’s organization.”
1970: “Hunters Beware!” This ad shows the NRA’s beginning gradual descent into anti-government propaganda.
1973: “Only you can save hunting…” Solidifying the anti-government rhetoric, this ad directly asks hunters to take an oppositional stance to government forces.
1982: “I’m the NRA” Launched in 1982, this famous campaign was intended to demonstrate the organization’s diversity, including children, women, African Americans, even clergy.
1993: “What’s the first step to a police state?” This ad starts to reflect the modern day NRA, setting the tone for the rhetoric disseminated by Wayne LaPierre and the survivalist movement.
1995: “Bill Clinton, the Second Amendment is not about duck hunting.” The NRA began to distance itself from its longtime stance that hunting was central to gun rights.
2013: “Are the President’s kids more important that yours?” As Dave Gilson of Mother Jones writes, “All the anti-government paranoia, fear-mongering, and liberal-baiting of the past few decades culminated in this video, produced in the wake of the Newtown massacre.”