Friday, January 4, 2013

Obama "the best thing that ever happened to the firearms industry,"

Although the Christian Science Monitor story, A look at America's gun industry, foretells something of an in-depth look, it is merely a brief glimpse, if that, of the gun industry's facade. But, some interesting facts come from the article. [All quotes are from A look at America's gun industry except where noted otherwise.]

"According to an October analysis by AP, Ruger & Co. and Smith & Wesson, the two biggest gunmakers in the US, have seen their profits rise by 86 percent and 41 percent, respectively, since Obama took office."

But how much of that profit, if any, comes from global sales, thus, what companies are making the firearms TV viewers can see everyday in the world news?

"As of 2009, Americans owned an estimated 310 million firearms, according to the National Institute of Justice – roughly one for every person in the US. That represents a doubling of the number of guns owned per capita since 1968. America's domestic arsenal includes some 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles, and 82 million shotguns."

Take note that as of July 2011 the US population was 311,591,917. According to the US Census - nearly 1/4 of the population is 18 and younger.

New England Journal of Medicine, Preventing Gun Deaths in Children: "Injuries are the biggest threat to U.S. children over 1 year of age. In 2010, gun-related injuries accounted for 6570 deaths of children and young people (1 to 24 years of age). That amounts to 7 deaths per day. Gun injuries cause twice as many deaths as cancer, 5 times as many as heart disease, and 15 times as many as infections (see graph).

About 5.5 million firearms were manufactured in the US in 2010, a slight drop from 2009. But there was "a 29 percent rise in production in 2009 (mostly pistols . . .)."

"Of that 2010 production, some 242,000 firearms were exported, while an additional 3.25 million were imported from other countries." A net import of nearly 3 million firearms.

Despite the stats, the Monitor does a disservice. Not only does the reader find little information about the gun industry - even less is provided about why there is the perceived need for firearms. It isn't about any constitutional right to bear arms. It seems buried in the perceived need to defend against fellow citizens and residents.

Mass shootings incite record firearms sales. "After the Newtown tragedy, gun sales have been setting new records in several states." Oddly, there is no evidence to suggest that arming anybody would have prevented any of the mass shootings - yet there was a rush to buy guns. One wonders just how many of these new possessors know how to properly carry a firearm much less how to actually fire it?

The self defense argument seems enhanced by the record firearm sales when it has been perceived that Obama would take away guns rights. Just how silly is that. No president of this country has, or ever has had, that executive power. And as his record suggests, he has done much, maybe by inaction rather than action, to promote gun rights and gun sales.

Arguably the proliferation of firearms produces an ever up-ticking of firearm possession and firearm deaths. As more become armed, the more we feel the need to be armed.

As tragic as the shootings are, especially the Newtown killing of first graders, it ought to be obvious that arming of residents is not an answer. Firearms in the home or on the person has no deterrent effect on crime. Nor is any purchased firearm going to protect against any misperceived tyranny of government.

In today's world there are more enough guns between the police and criminals. As between the two - the preference is that the police be armed. While it might sound like a good idea (more comic book like) that good guy armed residents deter crime - the fact is that the good guy neighbor is too often the bad guy.

We desperately need a national dialog on firearms without the extremism of the "no guns" to the "guns for all" arguments. It ought to start though at the state and local levels. It doesn't have to be a constitutional discussion, that pushed too far might have serious repercussions. It is just as likely, I would say more so, that the Supreme Court would rule against the right of citizens and residents to carry guns. Guns then might become even more available, albeit illegally acquired.

If the deaths from firearms were deaths from a disease - the amount of money, time and effort to combat the disease would be enormous. There would be a vast number of charities and other entities raising money. Yet, in our civilized society we do our best to encourage more deaths. Incomprehensible.

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