Did your haul of Christmas presents this year include a brand spanking new AR-15? How about a .22 caliber rifle? A shotgun? Pistol?
If you tore the wrapping paper off a new firearm Christmas morning, you're part of a growing trend in the United States: giving and receiving guns as Christmas presents. In 2011, a record number of Americans bought guns for Christmas presents. More than 1.5 million background checks were performed in December of that year, with approximately 500,000 of those coming in the week leading up to Christmas.
This year featured new twists on the trend. There was Solid Concepts, the company selling 3D printed guns for around $12,000 this month – just in case you wanted to drop $12,000 on a "piece of history" for a Christmas present. And this holiday season saw a rise in gun sales for a particular demographic: women.
This is now such a substantial trend that gun sellers are specifically marketing products tailored to women. There are pistols with pink hand guards, and Taser devices that look like lipstick. The troubling adherence to gender stereotypes aside, gun retailers see women as a huge market. There are even "concealment purses" – so women can carry their guns in style.
And don't forget the pro-gun group that urged its members to donate toy guns to charities for needy children this Christmas. Because why should gun-toting adults get to have all the fun?
The surge in the guns-for-Christmas trend is part of a larger increase in gun sales overall. Sales in the U.S. are on pace to break records in 2013, with almost 12 million background checks coming in the first half of the year. Gun manufacturers like Smith & Wesson are seeing record sales and profits. A lot of that has to do with the perceived notion that President Barack Obama is going to start taking away Americans' guns. Whether that's true or not, guns were a popular Christmas gift this year. Now, I'm just waiting for the unmanned drones-for-Christmas trend to begin.