Guns by Mail: 1960s Ads
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Guns by Mail: 1960s Ads
It's been claimed that the gun industry has been offering "uniquely dangerous" firearms only in recent years and that marketing has become increasingly aggressive in an effort to push more guns to more people. One prohibitionist group publically claimed that "Before the 2000s, most gun makers did not market military-style assault weapons to civilians." Let's look at what kind of firearms have been available for the past century and how they were marketed.
Over a century ago, this was available.
The Winchester Model 1907 was first released in 1907. A semiautomatic rifle chambered in 351 WSL (351 Winchester Self-Loading) feeding from 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30-round detachable magazines, it was available for civilian sales in 1907 and saw limited use in World War 1.
The Colt Automatic Machine Rifle Model 1919 was patented in 1918 and sold as the Colt Monitor (R80). Both versions were available for civilian sale. The U.S. military used this as the M1918 BAR in World War 2 and Korea.
Hiram Percy Maxim worked for the Columbia Automobile Company and designed the Columbia Gasoline Carriage. One of its innovations was a Maxim-designed muffler. He would later use the idea of an automobile muffler to create a firearm muffler, patented in 1909 and marketed as a "silencer". Until restricted by the National Firearm Act, sound suppressors were advertised and could be bought by mail.
In many other countries, particularly in Europe, firearm suppressors were never restricted by law and are often required for hunting and shooting on some ranges.
Prior to 1968, guns were freely sold with little restriction. Gun dealers with brick-and-mortar shops did not require Federal licensing and firearms could be mailed directly to buyers. Many sellers sold by mail direct to consumers via ads.
These ads also included military rifles.
This was not limited to "regular" military rifles. How about an anti-tank rifle mailed to your door? Layaway plan available!
The AR-15 was available for civilian sales before being adopted by the U.S. military.
Miss America approved of the AR-15.
Colt sold the AR-15 to police as well.
Firearm ads for mail order were not limited to gun magazines. This is a page from a 1962 edition of the Sears catalog. In addition to the Mauser bolt action rifles on top, Sears customers could also order the M1 Carbine which would remain in active military service for another decade.
This wasn't limited to just the M1 Carbine.
Guns were also in school back then. During this era, public high schools were the largest owners and operators of indoor shooting ranges in the United States.