Saturday, March 2, 2013

America's dying gun culture

Consider these firearms stats, courtesy of Mary Sanchez:

In 1977, 54 percent of American households reported owning guns. In 2010, the last time the General Social Survey data was compiled, the percentage had shrunk to 32.

Gun manufacturing increased dramatically between 2007 and 2011, from 3.7 million weapons to 6.1 million being produced.

And here is Sanchez's (nearly) correct conclusion from these stats:

A declining proportion of the American public is getting involved in gun culture — that is, the gun industry’s customer base is not growing — and yet business is booming. This should lead us to an alarming conclusion. The marketing of more lethal forms of weaponry and ammunition is how the gun industry has decided to shore up profits. The fierce resistance to bans on assault weapons and large ammo clips, as well as to background checks and any other hurdle put in the way of those who want to arm themselves, is not about defending the Second Amendment. It is about defending a business model — a sick, cynical business model.

I admit it, I didn't catch on right away. For many years I thought that the NRA was run by a bunch of loons. But the NRA is crazy like a fox: it knows threats of government gun bans, gun registries, and gun confiscation are the best stimulus for selling more guns. And most of the NRA's financial contributions come directly from gun & ammo manufacturers, not from the NRA's 3.1 million members

So, with fewer gun owners, the only way to increase sales is through fear and hysteria. That's what the gun industry needs, so that's what the NRA provides.

UPDATE (03.24.2013): McClatchy came out with more commentary on America's shrinking gun culture based on statistics from the same General Social Survey conducted every two years by the University of Chicago: "Surprising results from gun survey."

By Mary Sanchez
March 1, 2013 | Kansas City Star

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