Sunday, February 03, 2013

the most wanted gun in america...,

NYTimes | It might seem remarkable, given the national conversation about gun control, but guns are a relatively small business in the United States. Sales of commercial guns and ammunition — as opposed to those sold to the military and police — amounted to about $5 billion in 2012. That’s less than half of the profits that Apple earned in the final 13 weeks of last year. But despite the headlines, and partly because of them, commercial gun sales are growing. Last year, they were up 16 percent industrywide, according to estimates from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade association. Semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15 are responsible for a significant share of that growth.

By now, many Americans probably recognize the AR-15, whether or not they recognize the term. Unlike its military counterpart, the M-16, the civilian AR-15 cannot spray a continuous stream of ammunition with one pull of the trigger. But, as a semiautomatic, it can fire individual bullets as fast as the trigger can be squeezed. By design, it looks and feels like something commandos might carry. That is part of its appeal, and of manufacturers’ pitch.

On one level, marketing military-style weapons to civilians is not so different from pitching professional sports equipment to high-school athletes. Garry James, the senior field editor at Guns & Ammo, says a military pedigree inspires consumer confidence in a gun’s reliability.

“Credibility of performance is what appeals to the firearms enthusiast,” Mr. James wrote in an e-mail.

Yet marketing combat-derived weapons to civilians is a risky business, particularly now. The industry itself has promoted the guns by using battle imagery and words like “assault” and “combat.” Bushmaster Firearms, a leading maker of AR-15-style guns, and whose rifles have been used in several mass shootings, features the Bushmaster ACR, short for adaptive combat rifle, on its Web site. “Forces of opposition, bow down,” part of the site says. All the same, gun makers say customers buy these weapons with peaceable intentions.