The Crickett is one of two lines of .22-caliber rifles for kids manufactured by the Pennsylvania-based Keystone Sporting Arms. The company acquired the maker of the similar Chipmunk rifle in 2007, a purchase that positioned the company as “the leading rifle supplier in the youth market,” according to the company’s website.
On the site’s “Kids Corner,” young target shooters and hunters pose with their guns, and videos on the company’s YouTube channel promote the gun as fun for the whole family.
Keystone Sporting Arms, which says on its website that it made 60,000 rifles in 2008, did not return requests for comment from NBC News.
Firearms made for minors represent a new market for gun makers, said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center. As the gun market has been saturated, Sugarmann said, gun makers have followed a “path trailblazed by a wide range of other industries, particularly the tobacco industry, and focused its efforts on women and children.”