Girls With Guns Are the Latest Instagram Influencers

And they're keeping the firearms industry alive

Lauren Young, one of the gun influencers taking over Instagram
Lauren Young, one of the gun influencers taking over Instagram

Faced with regulations that prohibit companies from advertising guns on social media, firearms retailers are turning to  Instagram influencers for a new twist on the oldest trick in the advertising book — using beautiful women to promote their products. 

While platforms like Facebook and Instagram subject business accounts to regulations that forbid retailers from running ads that promote the sale or use of firearms, personal accounts aren’t subject to the same rules, meaning influencers are becoming a particularly lucrative loophole for the industry. 

When Vox reporter Kaitlyn Tiffany went inside the patriotic, semi-nude world of Instagram’s gun influencers, she found a corner of the platform dominated by gun wielding women who otherwise resemble your typical influencer peddling fashion and beauty products. The only difference is the guns. 

Often sporting short shorts, lingerie or patriotic garb (which some are also paid to promote), these influencers get paid to hold weapons and smile for the camera, easily skirting Facebook’s regulations and promoting products that firearms retailers aren’t allowed to advertise on their own platforms.

In this way, as Tiffany noted, influencers are an even more valuable asset to gun retailers than they are to companies of other industries. “They may, in fact, be the only influencers who have proof of their reason to exist.”

So who are the gun girls of Instagram? While they tend to come from firearms-friendly backgrounds — some are veterans, hunters or professional sports shooters — many of the women Tiffany spoke with were gun enthusiasts who fell into the influencer market more or less accidentally. Meanwhile, as the mainstream influencer sphere becomes increasingly bloated, the gun industry may actually be a good place for influencers to find themselves.

“I think I fell into [the tactical] niche at the right time before it got oversaturated like it has with the fitness industry, or the Fashion Nova-type industry,” said influencer Lauren Young. “I was getting reached out to by companies whose guns I’d shot. I think organically it became a bigger part of my life — more than I expected, for sure.”

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