This article was written and submitted to Guns.com by Benjamin Cook. Aside from reading Guns.com, Mr. Cook also owns a gun store in South Carolina.
No one is a bigger capitalist than I am. I think a manufacturer should be able to sell an item for whatever they can get for it. And be able to form partnerships and alliances with whoever best benefits their bottom line. The motive is profit.
But I have a problem with the major gun manufacturers that continue to dump more and more market share in the hands of Bass Pro, Cabela’s, The Sportsman’s Warehouse, Academy Sports, Dicks, Wal-Mart, etc. The effect of having so much market share in so few hands is apparent by the summoning of these retailers by Joe Biden.
The more manufacturers allow large retailers to dictate price the smaller the margins will become and the harder it will be for the mom-n-pops to scratch a living and a profit. The internet has all but killed the margins on guns. The price for large retailers must be the same as for the small retailer. No exceptions. The guy who sells 10 Remington 870s a year has to have the same price as Wal-Mart.
The outcome if manufacturers don’t wake up is the ability of the government to control the firearms market by putting political and economic pressure on just a few businesses. There needs to be more pressure from the NRA, NSSF and other groups to try to convince manufactures to enforce price restrictions on a voluntary basis.
At this moment I can think of two local retailers with over 30 years experience in the gun business that are considering closing their doors. They move about the same inventory as 10 years ago, actually a bit more, but don’t have the margins to stay in business. Add to that the competition from large retailers that are selling guns in some cases cheaper to the public than the small guy can get from the distributor or manufacturer… and you see the problem.
And while I would like to think Cabela’s has everyone’s best interests in mind… I’m sure that same motivation for profit that has them cutting deals with a manufacturer also motivates them to cut the deal that benefits them the most with the government, leaving mom-n-pop with no seat at the table.