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Sig Sauer Ad Urges AR-15 Owners to Take Up Arms

Assault weapon maker Sig Sauer’s latest ad takes gun industry marketing to a new low

To introduce a new AR-15 during the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in late January, Sig Sauer published a video that dangerously equates American revolutionaries with modern AR-15 owners — and gun laws, including prohibitions on assault weapons, with tyranny. The ad is perhaps the most significant example in recent years of a large gun manufacturer embracing the radical insurrectionist theory, which posits that the Second Amendment protects the rights of individuals to overthrow the government by armed force.

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Sig Sauer’s ad juxtaposes colonial Minutemen with a modern homeowner holding an AR-15 and a voiceover that states, “Our freedoms…have been challenged before, yet they have stood the test of time. Today, our freedom is once again in question, and its future is not promised.” The comparison clearly evokes armed civil conflict: Americans believe that revolution against British tyranny was warranted, and the ad not only suggests that there exists a similar threat of tyranny today that requires an armed response, but offers a Sig Sauer AR-15 as the tool for that response to tyranny.

Many on the far right have long used the imagery and aesthetics of the American Revolution to justify their extremist beliefs, and the Sig Sauer ad also features images of the Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” and Gonzales “Come and Take It” flags, popular today with extremists.

Some viewers who replied to the ad see the video as a call to arms:

One comment for Sig Sauer's "Faces of Freedom" video on Twitter.
Another comment for Sig Sauer's "Faces of Freedom" video on Twitter.
Comments on the video from Sig Sauer’s Twitter account.

Ironically, Sig Sauer has won a number of contracts to supply weapons to the U.S. military in recent years, including pistols and rifles.

The new rifle unveiled in the ad is part of Sig Sauer’s “M400 Tread” series, which the company has marketed with the Gadsden flag in the past, but never in such an incendiary fashion. Sig Sauer states that the rifle represents “All of the freedom, all of the features, with none of the compromises.”

One gun media outlet called the ad “the best pro-2A spot we’ve seen in a long time” and the “kind of spot you wish would be in the Superbowl [sic] if the NFL was cool enough to run that kind of stuff.” In a statement, the company behind the ad, the Offensive Marketing Group (OMG), called it “groundbreaking” and “a testament to OMG’s commitment to producing world-class storytelling and unparalleled cinematic content” for the gun industry.

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