The Impact of Suggested Gun Control Reform on the Hunting Industry and Crime Rates
U.S. President Barack Obama has officially proposed to the Congress to restrict the freedom to bear arms, in particular, to return to a ban on the sale of automatic weapons and stores of large capacity and to inspect individual buyers always. Americans are buying guns and arrange meetings. According to observers, the first attack of gun industry lobbyists was unsuccessful.
The rights of U.S. citizens to bear arms may be limited in the near future. President Barack Obama has asked the Congress to revise the law on carrying weapons in the direction of tightening. Obama and his supporters sparked violent clashes with a powerful clan of gun lobbyists who believe the proposed measures infringe on the constitutionally protected right to self-defense. Meanwhile, a state of New York adopted the law project that would tighten arms trafficking (Clark).
Many ordinary citizens have responded to the president’s proposal assaulting gun shops and buying guns, fearing that this is their last chance to get a serious weapon. Ads appeared on the shelves of gun shops in New York reporting that one customer can buy no more than 100 bullets of various calibers (Fox News). There have been meetings against Obama’s proposals in the state of Colorado. Residents came out with posters, protecting the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which grants the right to bear arms. Moreover, the major annual exhibition SHOT (shooting, hunting and outdoor trade) in Las Vegas is on the background of the initiative of the President. Fans of weapons gathered at this exhibition to appreciate the beauty and quality of the exhibits, including an assault (automatic) rifle, which is opposed by Obama. Observers are curiously watching the unfolding battle. They state that the lobbyists of rifles made their move and it was extremely unfortunate.
The National Rifle Association (NSA) gave response to Obama’s proposals, which is believed to control some conservatives. In the 35-second video posted on the NSA website, representatives of the Association called Obama an “elitist hypocrite”, pointing out that his two daughters are under armed guard. “Are the children of the president are more important than yours?” – the head of the NSA Wayne LaPierre refers to the audience (National Post). The White House did not fail restrained comment on this statement, calling it “disgusting and cowardly.” The editor of the American tab in the British newspaper The Telegraph, Peter Foster notes that lobbyists are just on the verge of hysteria. After all, bans on assault rifles do not affect the interests of hunters.
Business related to weapons in the U.S. is huge. So huge that despite the first place in the world for the production the United States consumes most of the weapons produced with quite a few imports. Over 2011 6.5 million barrels were produced and more 3.2 million were imported from abroad. Industry related to the production of weapons gives 220,000 jobs and generates about 31 billion dollars annually. It’s about twice as much as GM, which is considered one of the pillars of the economy. But unlike large corporations, gun companies do not have the monopolies and are smeared between the relatively small companies, rarely exceeding staff of 300 people.
Incidentally, this is the only industry that was not affected by the crisis and showed growth. Many states are trying to lure the production in their areas. For example, in Idaho Republicans say: “Gun control means the use of both hands when shooting for us. We are always happy with producers that are willing to move here”. (Hall)
In general weapons production was quite advanced and contributed to the prosperity of many of its closest associates. Now the politicians who are seeking to impose more restrictions have to swirl, trying to prohibit citizens to bear guns. They also try to avoid conflicting with the producers; otherwise they will move out the production, which will result in considerable losses. A recent example is the Magpul, an extremely eminent company, which plans to move a multimillion-dollar business out of Colorado after adopting the next populist prohibitions. Remington plans to close the factory in the state of New York (1,300 jobs) because of the laws which severely restrict the possibility of the production of weapons. Beretta threatens to close manufacturing facilities in Maryland because of the ban on the production of gun shops with a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Private equity fund Cerberus Capital Management announced its intention to sell the company Freedom Group, which is engaged in the production of weapons. Freedom Group owns Bushmaster, whose rifle last week was used in the shooting in an American elementary school in Connecticut. Freedom Group is one of the largest players in the market of weapons in the U.S. and owns companies such as Remington, Bushmaster, Marlin and H & R. Last week in the town of Newtown 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, shot 27 people, including 20 children under the age of six or seven years, six adults and their mother, using a semi-automatic rifle Bushmaster AR 15.
Cerberus Capital Management suggested that the main role of the fund is to make decisions on investments and the fund “has no desire to be involved in the national debate” over the issue of control of arms trafficking in the United States. Calls for tighter gun control in the United States have become increasingly loud after the massacre of children in Newtown. President Obama has already said he would work with the Congress to adopt stricter measures to control arms trafficking. In particular, the thing is about the limited capacity of the store, as well as measures to ban on arms sales to individuals by a dealer without a license and without thoroughly verifying the identity of a buyer.
Also, there is news that the network of Dick’s has withdrawn from sale a number of semi-automatic rifles in all of its 511 stores. Wal-Mart pulled the Bushmaster AR 15 rifle from its site. The news of Cerberus Capital Management plans affected other major arms manufacturers in the United States – Smith & Wesson and Sturm Rugger lost 10% and 8%, respectively. From the moment of the shooting at the school in Newtown, Smith & Wesson shares fell by 18%, Sturm Rugger – 15%. However, in general, from the beginning of the year quotes from both companies remain positive.
Overall, sales of small arms in the U.S. continue to rise. So, in November, the FBI has registered about 2 million identity checks of arms buyers. These checks are in the National System of immediate inspection of the United States (National Instant Criminal Background Check System, NICBCS) and are used to approximate the amount of purchased weapons. The November figure of 2,000,000 checks for 1 month was the highest in the history of statistics of the FBI (Enforcement Division). In November 2011, there were 1.5 million checks. Ten years ago, in November 2002 – 888 thousand. Gun sales in the U.S. in recent years continue to grow; the financial crisis of 2008 did not stop the Americans from purchasing new weapons. At the same time, in recent years, almost after each new case of mass murder in America, the pace of sales of firearms only grows.
Brownells Inc Company, which considers itself as one of the world’s largest suppliers of weapon and accessories to it, reported that over three days the sales volume of ammunition clips in the United States was as much as company normally sells within 3.5 years (Hsu).
According to the message on an Internet forum, issued on behalf of the company president Pete Brownell, the demand after the massacre of young school children in the state of Connecticut has reached “unprecedented” proportions.
According to the Los Angeles Time, the sales of weapons and ammunition have also increased due to a possible tightening of legislation on firearms. A number of other manufacturers and suppliers of weapons, by contrast, deliberately reduce the volume of sales on the background of tragedy with the shooting of peaceful Americans. For example, Cabelas retailer withdrew rifle Bushmaster AR-15 from the market in Connecticut, using which Lanza killed children. Dick`s Sporting Goods Company reported that it stopped selling all kinds of weapons in Newtown. And one of the largest U.S. retailers Wal-Mart also removed M4A3 rifle from sale.
A record demand for weapon led to shortages in stores in the U.S. The Americans, fearing the spread of restrictions on firearms, began to massively replenish their reserves. As a result, it became difficult to get hold of the most common items, such as ammunition of 22 calibers. In addition, the price of guns doubled in some stores last year. In some cases store owners set limits on the amount of goods that one buyer can purchase.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation an increased demand is related to growing popularity of sport shooting, hunting, and the use of weapons for self-defense. Service protection of fish and wildlife resources of the United States reported that the number of applications for a license to hunt has grown by nine percent since 2006.
Prior to that, the demand for licenses was constantly falling for 25 years. Michael Hampton, executive director of the National Skeet Shooting Association, said that the number of members of each organization is up to four million people and is growing at three to five percent annually.
Meanwhile, the stores claim that athletes do not provide record demand by gun owners who replenish their stocks, fearing ban or tax increase. Vendors say that sales have gone up the mountain shortly after re-election of President Barack Obama, whose administration is opposed to its proliferation, and there was a sharp jump on the background of active public debate about this issue.
According to the industry representatives, the American arms companies producing ammunitions are now working 24/7. There was no such a high demand for ammunition in the United States before. Rare calibers are only present in a few stores. The most popular and demanded of those are sold on request and on a first-come first-served basis only.
Hornady Company gets enormous profit; it is one of the leaders in the production of ammunition. The company had to hire additional workers and to explore new production powers. Black Hills Ammunition does not lag supplying the “scarce ammunition”. Remington reports the high demand for ammunition for rifles – all work units, which produce ammunition, are working overtime.
There is almost no ammunition for handguns today on the shelves of gun shops – in particular calibers of 9mm, .45 ACP, 40 S & W, and 223. Many consumers wait for hours for the importation of ammunition; everything is sold out almost instantly. The queues are observed at larger stores such as Wal-Mart and others.
The police of the United States have registered at least 500 incidents due to careless handling of firearms this year. Hunters, members of the law society, sellers of pistols and rifles, students, teenagers and even young children shot themselves and others. Numerous incidents, some of which resulted in death, made fans and foes of shooting talk about the need to tighten the rules for handling weapons. “I’m a big fan of sport shooting, an avid hunter and collector of revolvers in the fifth generation – said Ben Faravey, a member of the National Rifle Association – I will always defend the right of Americans to the second amendment of the Constitution. But I’m sorry that many gun owners do not even know how to put the fuse, or that a gun is fully discharged.”
Not reducing the trafficking of arms, but rather reducing the number of zones that are free from it, where to carry weapons is strictly forbidden is to prevent mass shootings that occur in the United States. Such zones are a refuge for the maniacs. These are mainly schools, movie theaters, restaurants. Not a single maniac, no matter how stupid one can be, do not go shooting people, for example, at a shooting range. So school teachers and the security should be provided with firearms. A prime example is Israel, where in schools a single shot was not done since 1974, because there were armed men protecting the population.
There are cases where the crime falls after the legalization of weapons and, on the contrary, grows after being banned. It is obvious that the ban on weapons has not saved Canada from executions. And why would it stop if people have nothing else to fight crime? The fact is that such restrictions can only disarm the law abiding citizens, not criminals who will bear the gun in any way. In addition, international experience shows that criminals rarely use legal weapon, only one percent of cases. Almost always, they are resorting to illegal weapons, which they have now as well.