Ammo & Gear Reviews

Rolling Stone fires blanks at the gun industry

Barbara Baird Contributor
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By Barbra Baird, Women’s Outdoor News

When Rolling Stone magazine lectures gun owners on the evils of firearms in society, it’s laughable.

In an article titled “The Gun Industry’s Deadly Addiction,” published by the magazine in its March 14 issue, Tim Dickinson wields a dull machete through a field of misstatements about gun owners and how we yield, scrape and bow down to the gun industry’s marketing machine.

It’s rather lengthy. One fact stands alone – the reason for the growth in the firearms industry being attributed to the “Barack Boom.” And then, Dickinson starts spinning in his field of dreams.

He writes “You can learn a lot about an industry by looking at whom they target for profit.”

Dickinson lists the ways and thus, Rolling Stone fires blanks at the gun industry.

Dickinson equates youth hunting programs as “the seduction of kids,” and denigrates the Families Afield program, which supports states allowing children to hunt when their parents deem appropriate. He strikes out at “National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day.” He calls magazines like “Junior Shooters,” gun porn.

Seduce the Ladies 

First of all, Dickinson writes, “The hunting industry lives by the motto ‘If you teach a man to hunt, he goes hunting. If you teach a woman to hunt, the entire family goes hunting.’” He charges that women are seen as “lucrative customers.” Period.

The gun industry is correct in its assertion that women who take their children hunting will more than likely have influenced their children’s lifestyle choices later in life. Studies by the National Shooting Sports Foundation prove that more children hunt later in their lives when taken by mom afield than by dad.

Here’s where it gets personal. Dickinson writes that women who choose to arm themselves have been influenced by the fear factor created by the gun industry. Oh, and that also, the color pink mesmerizes us into a gun purchase. Then, he throws Nancy Lanza – mother of  Newtown schoolchildren murderer Adam Lanza – into the mix of female gun owners who should not have listened to the gun industry.

In Dickinson’s field, women are seen as laughable, impressionable creatures who do what the male-dominated gun industry dudes tell us we need to do.

First Shots, a program offered by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, has a tremendous success rate for follow-up visits to ranges after the program. Photo courtesy of First Shots.

In fact, he even calls out Athena Means and her business at, for selling pink gun items. He writes, “In a similar vein, sells a kit to trick out an assault weapon with a pink hand guard, pistol grip and butt stock – transforming an AR-15 into something that looks like it belongs at a Hello Kitty convention. (The same retailer also offers a wide array of conceal-carry couture, from purses with hidden gun compartments to the Flashbang ‘bra holster.’)”  And yes, Mr. Dickinson, concealed carry purses would have “hidden gun compartments.” And please notice, the choice of words “assault weapon” for an AR-15, which is getting worn thin. As we know, many tools have the potential to become assault weapons, like say, our cars?

Athena Means gets national attention when Rolling Stone calls out her products as seductive techniques to hook more women on guns. Photo courtesy of Athena Means.

And, there’s more

Dickinson lists other ways he believes the gun industry gains control of the minds of the masses. “Turning Shooting Ranges into Live-Action Video Games” is one topic, but obviously, he’s never been to a proper shooting range with strict safety regulations and range safety officers. I’ve never seen anything like video game antics on a range anywhere, Mr. Dickinson. Even Zombie shooters have to play by the rules of the range.

Continuing his rant, he proffers a section titled “Prep the Preppers.” To which I ask, is it the gun industry or gun control that drives people to gun stores to stock up before guns are gone? Look at states like Colorado and Illinois right now, and you’ll see struggles between law-abiding gun owners and their state governments that want to add more restrictions, more laws and eventually, reduce residents’ rights.

Finally, Dickinson claims that the gun industry’s “dirtiest secret” is that it profits from the sale of guns to Mexican cartels. Has anyone at Rolling Stone heard of Operation Fast and Furious?

Meanwhile, let’s turn our spotting scopes toward the music industry, shall we?

Where are the regulations set in place by Tipper Gore back in the day and who enforces them? You don’t have to look far – whether it’s the big city or a rural town – to see children undulating to rap music, performing lewd acts, constantly focusing on small screens in the palms of their hands, turned off from the world because they’re listening to lyrics that would make their parents and definitely, their grandparents, cringe.

Who are the icons in the music industry?

In fact, here’s my comparison between the gun industry and the music industry.

1. Drugs and alcohol are not allowed or encouraged with the use of firearms. The music industry is propelled by drug abuse.

2. We know that muzzle blasts and loud music can damage hearing. Gun ranges require hearing protection. Rock concerts and ear buds do not.

3. Parents control when and where their children learn about firearms. Very rarely does a child handle a firearm without supervision. What about that child when he sits on the bus, goes to a friend’s house, closes the door of his room? Is anyone supervising what’s playing in there?

4. Conservation groups and shooting organizations offer educational experiences so children may learn about the traditions of hunting or sport shooting. Does anyone even teach the history of music and how it has evolved throughout time? Oh yeah, music has been cut from many school programs these days. Does the music industry offer national programs that teach children how to create music? Last time I looked, no. It depends on the government and school systems to teach.

5. Finally, if you teach a child to hunt or shoot, you’ve taught him a life skill. Teach him to listen to music – which is the industry’s goal – and what have you done?

The whole idea that Rolling Stone points its finger at the gun industry and its consumers is an Alice in Wonderland effect. Maybe it’s time to take a sober look at the music industry.


Barbara Baird is the publisher of Women’s Outdoor News. Visit the WON by clicking here.