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Jan 21 2014

Gun Industry Sees Big 2016 From ‘Fear Buying’

There was a big gun industry show in Las Vegas last week and Richard Feldman, a former lawyer for the NRA and the head of the Independent Firearm Owners Association, filed a report that was reprinted in Business Week. It says that the gun industry is targeting women for their sales pitches and looking forward to the 2016 election fueling sales due to “fear buying.”

“The mood is upbeat, but the crazed buying frenzy of last year is over. Demand for ammunition is still unbelievably strong, but the gun makers know it’s time to market and sell product, not simply write orders that can’t possibly be filled. The next ramp-up in sales may not occur until the 2016 presidential campaign gets going in earnest. The more likely a Hillary Clinton victory looks, the more advance ‘fear buying’ will recur. While most may vote Republican, manufacturers and retailers secretly hope for a repeat of the ‘Obama surge’ that has boosted sales since 2009.

“Even with sales softening in 2014, industry executives expect a gentle landing from the historic domestic commercial sales in 2013. Sturm Ruger alone sold almost as many guns this year as the entire industry produced 20 years ago. First-time buyers are hot prospects for additional new sales in other calibers, and there has been a dramatic upsurge in firearm product for woman.

“On the expo floor, guns are everywhere at booths in pink, yellow and chartreuse. More woman buyers [for retail establishments] are also a distinct departure from past years, and that’s likely to be a permanent change.”

I’m not an anti-gun activist. I do believe that the 2nd Amendment confers an individual right to own guns (though that doesn’t mean there aren’t legitimate and appropriate limits on that right, just as there are on any right). But it should be very obvious by now that groups like the NRA and Gun Owners of America are really nothing more than the marketing wing for the gun industry. They help boost gun sales by selling this paranoid delusion that the government is forever on the verge of taking the guns away. The fact that it hasn’t happened despite decades of such dystopic predictions tells you a great deal about the mentality of the people this marketing works on.

30 comments

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  1. 1
    lordshipmayhem

    We also have a right to drive a car – but drive a car drunk down the highway and the courts will take that right away. Demonstrate that you are an incompetent driver, and again they’ll take that right away. After all, cars can kill.

    But if the right to drive had been written into the US Constitution, I have no doubt there would be an NRA-type National Automobile Association urging people to buy and drive cars NOW because Obama was going to take away your invisible-friend-given right to drive your car.

    Just as we put reasonable limits on the right to drive a car, we should impose reasonable limits on the right to own firearms.

  2. 2
    unbound

    But it should be very obvious by now that groups like the NRA and Gun Owners of America are really nothing more than the marketing wing for the gun industry.

    It is obvious…except to the oblivious…

  3. 3
    tsig

    “We’re not certain exactly what triggered the Event but the critical mass of ammo and weapons had been reached so it took the merest thing to set if off and someone opened fire that led to another and another in a chain reaction of shootings till the last two Americans shot each other.”

    World Book of Facts 2080.

  4. 4
    cottonnero

    And here I thought Obama was the one who was going to take away the guns.

  5. 5
    Larry

    And the fear and demagoguery over the previous 8 years about Obama comin ta take yer gunz! which never actually happened?

    Forgotten.

  6. 6
    unbound

    @4 (cottonnero) – Pfft, according to Guns & Ammo, the democrats have been on the verge of taking away the guns since at least the 70s. The gun fanatics are no different than the fundie christians that think the rapture is coming every 2 to 3 years or so. You’d think that after being lied to so very many times, each of the groups would eventually wake up…

  7. 7
    Matt G

    Are guns like guitars in that you can never have too many? If the only thing that stops guns is more guns, you have a nice positive feedback loop going. As the Church Lady would say: How convenient!”.

  8. 8
    Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    I do believe that the 2nd Amendment confers an individual right to own guns (though that doesn’t mean there aren’t legitimate and appropriate limits on that right, just as there are on any right).

    Ed, I’m surprised by your position for this reason. Please consider the two primary opinions presented in D.C. v. Heller. That would be J. Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion arguing for an individual right in the 2nd Amendment and J. John Paul Stevens’ dissent arguing there is no individual right numerated in the 2nd Amendment.

    J. Scalia’s argument is absurd, largely because it’s predominately a set of non-sequiturs. J. Stevens presents a convincing argument the 2nd Amendment’s original meaning and original intention was never to protect an individual right; especially when you consider prior language that was struck, the original meaning of the amendment, and the original intent of of the framers of the Amendment, the Congress, and those in the states ratifying the Bill of Rights. J. Stevens’ argument wasn’t merely compelling, it’s my conclusion it’s convincing.

    J. Scalia also makes an originalist argument, but that argument stood upon logical fallacies. Effectively his primary argument was that some people who were not legislators nor framers of the 2nd Amendment wanted a numerated right to bear arms, therefore that’s what the 2nd Amendment means. Stevens’ argument matched Scalia’s with some of the ratifiers thinking it didn’t, but again, Stevens has the meaning, framers, and the Congress on his side.

    Now just because I’m able to discern that the 2nd Amendment in no way numerates an individual right to own and bear arms, that doesn’t mean I argue we don’t own such a right. Instead I think we need to also understand whether we’ve delegated authority to the federal or state/local government to infringe upon that right. I see no such delegation of such authority so I conclude such a right not only exists, but in some cases the government must protect that right.

    However I also think the lack of numeration means gun owners have no advantage when considering the also un-enumerated rights of others when considering whose rights will be protected and whose will be infringed upon. In Heller I would have concurred with the majority that the federal government lacks the authority for an outright ban in D.C. However I would also be very open to protecting expansive D.C. gun restrictions if D.C. presented a compelling argument that the security rights of people in that district were both at risk and more worthy of protection than gun owners’ right to bear arms in certain venues. But an outright ban on ownership went beyond the government’s delegated authority.

  9. 9
    timgueguen

    I wonder if this won’t come back to bite them. At some point even the most paranoid are going to run out of money for guns and ammo, and there might be some folks who end up dumping their stuff on the used market when they realise they can make money off the hardware clogging their closets. I suspect a lot of the panic purchased weapons are in near new or even unused condition, making them very tempting for the patient buyer.

  10. 10
    Trebuchet

    Buying guns because of the 2016 election? Makes sense to me. Guess I’ll go out and get a couple in case a Republican gets elected.

  11. 11
    Michael Heath

    Richard Feldman writes:

    The more likely a Hillary Clinton victory looks, the more advance ‘fear buying’ will recur.

    This makes no sense on its own, some elaboration is needed. Is Mr. Feldman suggesting Republicans conclude they can generate more fear if Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016 rather than a standard-issue Democratic candidate? The odds are low the Democrats will promote either a gun control advocate or someone to the right of Ms. Clinton. Like President Obama she’s also on the right wing of the Democrat party. So perhaps Mr. Feldman is referring to the confidence the GOP has it can demagogue Ms. Clinton worse than others. Given how much more mature and effective the right wing propaganda machine is now vs. the 1990s when they first began to lie about Ms. Clinton, I don’t see why the GOP concludes it doesn’t have the tools necessary to defame whoever runs for the Democrats in 2016.

    I realize pro-gun rights advocate Brian Schweitzer, the former governor of Montana, thinks he has a shot at the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but I doubt a climate change denier/confusionist from a mountain state who argues we should expand coal production will be able to collect the amount of campaign funds necessary to topple Ms. Clinton.

  12. 12
    dingojack

    Hmmm – and what did the framers think of the 2nd amendment?
    Alexander Hamilton
    James Madison
    Dingo

  13. 13
    Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    . . . it should be very obvious by now that groups like the NRA and Gun Owners of America are really nothing more than the marketing wing for the gun industry.

    True but this trivializes the fact there’s an entire sub-culture loyal to the NRA. In addition, if all these groups were simply lobbyists, then they wouldn’t have near the influence they enjoy.

    Rome can be and has been burning and these voters will claim they vote based only on which candidate will protect their gun rights; even if the difference between the candidates is either trivial or un-impactful to their gun rights, and even if their favored candidate is part of the reason Rome’s burning. In fact policy differences in gun rights aren’t really what drives people to vote for the NRA-favored candidate, but instead they vote for those candidates who demonstrate blind fealty and submissiveness to the gun rights tribe, led by the NRA who keeps scores on legislators. These gun rights voters are demonstrably nuttier than the anti-abortion rights voters who are also litmus test voters. (Yes, I realize these two voter groups largely overlap, especially with male voters.) That’s because gun rights advocates frequently can’t even articulate a threat to their rights or that of others in certain elections, yet still use a conjured threat as justification for whom they seek to elect.

  14. 14
    cry4turtles

    NRA= modern day broken record.

  15. 15
    colnago80

    Re Michael Heath @ #11

    Even if Schweitzer were not a climate change skeptic, he would have a hard time acquiring sufficient campaign funds to challenge Clinton. That probably applies to all the other potential candidates, excepting, possibly, Mark Warner who has a net worth in excess of 100 million and access to the high tech community via his previous entrepreneurial activities before going into politics. I am afraid that Cuomo, Gillibrand, O’Malley, Warren @ company are pedaling uphill against the wind. I don’t think that the experience of Obama in 2008 is meaningful here because Clinton beat herself then and has learned from her disastrous mistakes that she made

  16. 16
    Deen

    If a Clinton (near) victory is good for gun business, it makes you wonder if the gun industry is considering donating (anonymously, of course) to her campaign…

  17. 17
    Synfandel

    The fact that it hasn’t happened despite decades of such dystopic predictions tells you a great deal about the mentality of the people this marketing works on.

    I predict that innocent American men, women, and children will continue unabated to be butchered in appauling numbers as a direct result of the ocean of firearms in which US society swims. Now there’s a “dystopic prediction” that tells you a great deal about the mentality of people who defend the long-obsolete second amendment.

    There. I’ve said it. Let the outrage begin.

  18. 18
    caseloweraz

    NRA = No Reasoning Allowed

  19. 19
    d.c.wilson

    By predicting a big surge in gun purchases in 2016, aren’t they tacitly admitting that their whole “Obama is gonna take ur gunz!11!!!” prophecy is BS? After all, if Obama seizes all the guns in his second term, as Wayne LaPierre has predicted, then their won’t be any to sell in 2016.

  20. 20
    eric

    Michael Heath @11:

    [Feldman] The more likely a Hillary Clinton victory looks, the more advance ‘fear buying’ will recur.

    [Heath]This makes no sense on its own,

    I agree. Hilary won’t have anywhere near the bigoted-fear-inducing effect that Obama had. I see this very much like GOP pronouncements about skewed statistics ahead of the 2012 election – they appear to think that if they simply talk loudly and often enough about some highly unlikely event happening, people will flock to it and it will happen. ‘Message it, and it will come.’ Sorry, doesn’t really work. Its sort of pop psychology combined with a bit of magic thinking.

    (Liberals also have their version of ‘message it, and it will come.’ Only in their case it’s typically something like ‘stop using words like fat, ugly, stupid on student tests, and students will stop thinking in those terms.’ Which IMO is just as unrealistic as the GOP’s gun and statistics statements.)

  21. 21
    Crimson Clupeidae

    The NRA’s ‘dems are gonna take your guns’ argument sounds just like the xians ‘jeebus is coming any day’ argument.

    Unfortunately, the lack of support for either one hasn’t diminished the marketing effectivity by much.

  22. 22
    demonhauntedworld

    @1:

    Actually, driving a car is a privilege, not a right – since, as you note, it’s not enumerated in the Constitution.

  23. 23
    Moggie

    On the expo floor, guns are everywhere at booths in pink, yellow and chartreuse. More woman buyers [for retail establishments] are also a distinct departure from past years, and that’s likely to be a permanent change.

    Finally the industry has woken up to a lady’s need to accessorize properly while blowing somebody’s brains out! Ok, a black Glock does go with almost everything, but what if you were wearing brown, or navy blue? That would be horrible!

  24. 24
    Ichthyic

    aren’t they tacitly admitting that their whole “Obama is gonna take ur gunz!11!!!” prophecy is BS?

    I would normally make the obvious joke and say something like “Shhh! they’re not supposed to know that!”

    but frankly?

    you could literally spend hours showing all the evidence in support of the idea that the NRA already knows they are full of shit to a true gun believer….

    and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.

    the joke falls flat.

  25. 25
    Ichthyic

    Actually, driving a car is a privilege, not a right – since, as you note, it’s not enumerated in the Constitution.

    this is a really stupid argument.

    think for a minute about all the rights you have as an American that are not specifically detailed in the Constitution.

    that’s why we have legislators, and state and federal courts.

    If you prefer, you can look at driving as a natural extension of your right to work, since it’s a requirement for many jobs.

    or, if you prefer, you could take George Carlin’s position on the matter, and argue we never actually HAD any rights to begin with, only privileges, since they can easily be granted or taken away by the state at any time, and have been, regardless of whether they are explicitly written in the US constitution or not.

  26. 26
    Ichthyic

    I have no doubt there would be an NRA-type National Automobile Association urging people to buy and drive cars NOW because Obama was going to take away your invisible-friend-given right to drive your car.

    actually, you CAN find parallel advertising initiatives within the history of the American auto industry. Without even having to look very hard.

  27. 27
    demonhauntedworld

    Ichthyic, cite case law to support your argument, please.

    “While the ‘right of travel’ is a fundamental right, the privilege to operate a motor vehicle can be conditionally granted based upon being licensed and following certain rules,” Lykins said. “If rules are broken or laws are violated, the State reserves the right to restrict or revoke a person’s privilege.”

    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1054787.html

  28. 28
    shockna

    @d. c. wilson

    By predicting a big surge in gun purchases in 2016, aren’t they tacitly admitting that their whole “Obama is gonna take ur gunz!11!!!” prophecy is BS?

    You’re making the assumption that any gun nuts actually read these kind of statements. Your typical gun nut doesn’t bother actually following industry shows and such; only the NRA type releases that occur after the next inevitable tragedy.

  29. 29
    dingojack

    Demonhauntedworld posted (#22): “Actually, driving a car is a privilege, not a right – since, as you note, it’s not enumerated in the Constitution.”

    *ahem*

    “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”.- 9th amendment to the Constitution of the Untied States of America.

    Any other questions?

    Dingo

  30. 30
    democommie

    “@1:

    Actually, driving a car is a privilege, not a right – since, as you note, it’s not enumerated in the Constitution.”

    I’m not sure if driving is a privilege or a right; there are arguments about that by some serious con law people, IIRC.

    In any event, if driving a car (or truck) or piloting an aircraft is a “privilege” v a “right” does it flow from someone driving a surrey or coach, or riding a horse also only being “privileged” to do so?

    The 2nd Amendment seems to be a very special amendment. Of the ten in the BoR it seems to be the only one with a meaningless

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