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NAT’L – RETAILERS – Gun Accessory Marketers Dwarfed the NRA in Post-Shooting Ad Spending

In the wake of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, gun control groups moved quickly to press Americans to support new restrictions on firearm ownership. Facebook was immediately awash with ads from activist groups for and against gun control—but also ads from sites marketing concealed carry permit packages looking to make a quick buck off a freshly horrified public. Organizations such as Sandy Hook Promise and Everytown for Gun Safety dropped hundreds of thousands of dollars on Facebook ads alone in the wake of the massacres, which together took 32 lives. If observers expected prominent gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association to mount equally vigorous advertising campaigns, they were surprised. The other side of the gun policy divide on the world’s largest social media platform was dominated not by Second Amendment advocacy groups, but by companies seeking to sell gun-themed merchandise and concealed carry certificates. A half-dozen of those Facebook advertisers offer semi-official “courses” that its customers can use for applications in some states to carry concealed weapons. Together, those six pages spent about $170,000 on Facebook ads from Aug. 4, the day after the El Paso shooting and the day of the shooting in Dayton. “SURGE!” declared one of those advertisers, dubbed Concealed Online, in a recent post on its public-facing page. “Concealed Carry is going through the roof in Washington State, especially in the wake of El Paso & Ohio!” The page’s ads direct to a sign-up website that urges visitors to get their concealed carry certificates “before new waiting period laws,” citing federal legislation to expand background checks for gun purchases.  [full article]

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