Supporters of gun control are searching for some consolation after last week’s election, and one slender hope for them are the stocks of gun manufacturers. Shares declined immediately after Trump was declared the winner and have remained down ever since.
The conditioned response of people who oppose gun rights has been to claim that because fears of sweeping new laws are diminished, gun sales will also be fewer than what was expected for a Clinton presidency.
As readers here will be aware, the standard model for understanding gun owners is to interpret our actions as being out of paranoia. An example of this is to be found in The Trace, cooperating with The Guardian on the study to be published next year about the number of gun owners and their reasons for owning firearms. Their reading is that we buy guns because we’re afraid of other people, even though being prepared for a violent attack sounds rational to me, especially since the preparation is to stop an attack, not start one.
It is true, however, to say that when a shooting grabs the national headlines or a politician makes noise about pushing new laws, gun sales increase. This also sounds rational. If there’s a demand for a product, and the supply is threatened, anyone with even a basic understanding of economic theory will recognize that buyers will be more motivated.
At the same time, when gun laws are loosened, either by court rulings or a sudden outbreak of wisdom in the legislatures, gun sales also have risen. And the truth here is that Americans are gun owners. And we intend to remain so. There may be fluctuations in the demand from day to day, and gun control advocates love to see trends in fluctuations, but as their claims about the murder rate in Missouri illustrate, shifts are not a pattern. The steady demand is not something going away.
But if we’re being asked to feel sorry for gun makers, there is history that we have to remember. Smith & Wesson sold out to the Clintons. The lock that comes on their guns, ruining the classic look, was a part of that deal. So were promises to limit magazine capacity and to research “smart” guns. There’s debate about Bill Ruger’s support for the same capacity restrictions, but the bottom line is that making guns is the way that some companies make money, and if the government presses hard enough, there isn’t much that can’t be had from the corporate types. A thriving American gun industry is an important piece for protecting our gun rights, but again, basic economics has a say here. Where there’s a demand, there will be a supply. Guns are made all over the world.
Contrary to the celebratory attitude expressed by gun control advocates about a brief decline in the stocks of gun makers, the long-term strength of the market is assured by the commitment of the country to the concept of freedom—freedom in the market and in the choices that we make about protecting ourselves.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.