Donating to politicians to tie their product to freedom
Little need when such a right was explicitly codified in 1791.
The interpretation of the 2nd amendment is an entire different topic of discussion, that I do not want to get dragged into, but I think an honest person will admit that it is not entirely clear how to interpret it whether you come from the pro-gun or anti-gun side. On the anti-gun side someone could highlight the issue of what it means to be a "well regulated militia" and also that a strict reading of firearm means whatever a firearm was at the time. On the pro-gun side someone could argue that surface to air missiles should be legal. I don't mean to argue either of these points, just that enough ambiguity exists that there is an incentive for those who profit from guns to spend capital on keeping their product legal. I seem to remember the tobacco industry making constitutional arguments for use of their product as well and I've met more than one smoker that asserts that their right to make others suck down their carcinogens is part of living in a free country. And I generally agree with them that if you were to present the issue to someone living in 1791 they would laugh at the idea of banning smoking in any context.
granted the new buying is happening, but again, I'm not convinced it is done because of any explicit efforts on the part of the gun makers
Ok, so you do believe that the gun industry is the one exception among all other businesses in that they are not making explicit efforts for people to buy their product. I don't know how to respond to that, so we will have to disagree. Regarding the origins of gun lust/interest/fascination I don't dismiss the possibility that guns are intrinsically interesting devices. I play FPS games and I think everyone likes the basic idea of projecting force. But just like when I find the remote out of reach and I momentarily try to use the force to summon it to my hand Skywalker style, I suspect that media might have something to do with my son running around making shooting sounds as he points at things. Now, do I think the gun industry pays everyone who promotes guns, no, not anymore than I think the tobacco industry pays everyone to smoke a cigarette in a film. But where we disagree, apparently, is that I believe that the gun industry, like the tobacco industry, works to influence the culture so that their product is still desired even though, statistically, it's not good for you.