The sound of the high-powered semi-automatic firearm that a mass shooter used to kill nine people and injure 27 others on Sunday in downtown Dayton, Ohio, is being marketed as “an orchestra of metal and hellfire” in one gunmaker’s machismo-saturated ad.
On Sunday, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl released an image of the .223-caliber firearm that deceased 24-year-old gunman Connor Betts used in the massacre. The lower receiver of the weapon is engraved with the name of Anderson Manufacturing in Hebron, Kentucky.
An ad for the gun published on the company’s Facebook page about a month ago shows the weapon being assembled and fired as a deep-voiced narrator delivers his pitch.
“That sound freedom makes,” he says. “An orchestra of metal and hellfire crafted with gritted teeth, calloused hands, and passionate hearts. That sound freedom makes is incomparably, unmistakably American-made. Somebody cue the hellfire.”
At the ad’s closing, it reminds viewers the gun is “100% American-made.”
Carl Anderson, the business’ co-founder, told Cincinnati’s WKRC-TV that Anderson Manufacturing made only the lower receiver of Betts’ weapon and that the rest was assembled elsewhere.
Federal law defines the lower receiver ― which houses the trigger ― as the gun.
Dayton police said Betts legally ordered the weapon online from a Texas retailer, obtaining it at a local gun store. However, he may have modified the gun after purchase to avoid legal restrictions on short-barreled rifles. David Chipman, a retired agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told NBC News that now, “the question is did he do anything from the period of purchasing it to using it to make it illegal.”
Anderson’s bravado-filled ad is emblematic of U.S. gun culture and is reminiscent of an online marketing campaign from Bushmaster, which manufactured the AR-15-style weapon used to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.
The interactive ad, which ran the month of the Newtown massacre and was taken down afterward, prompted visitors on Bushmaster’s website to take a quiz testing their toughness to see if they’d be issued a “man card.”
The questions rewarded toxic masculinity and aggression, letting those who answered “correctly” know when they had “redeemed” their “man privileges.”
In the days after the massacre, Mother Jones published a collection of gun ads, one of which was from Remington and warned politicians that with millions of its Model 700 rifles sold, “the world’s largest army ain’t in China.”
Anderson Manufacturing did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.