Regime Uncertainty and Firearm Purchases

In a post entitled “Regime Uncertainty on Display – Gun Version,” George Johns at Sleepless in Midland argues that the White House’s rhetoric on gun control has been good (so far) for the firearms industry:

Gun and ammo manufacturers and sellers are thriving like never before. And the reason is fear of Barack Obama’s ambitious drive to take guns away from honest citizens. As the president ramps up his rhetoric, fear envelops the country. And citizens are taking action to protect themselves by buying guns before they are outlawed.


And as long as there is an uncertainty about what rights citizens will have remaining after the president gets through with them then the gun market will thrive. If only I had bought Sturm Ruger stock back in the Spring of 2009. Sigh.

I doubt that most of the four-year run-up in the price of Strum Ruger shares was triggered by gun purchases motivated by the belief that gun restrictions would be tighten. (I would assume that the Supreme Court’s 2010 McDonald decision, finding that the Second Amendment applies to the states no less than to the federal government, would have reduced such speculation—at least until talk of tighter restrictions in the wake of last year’s mass shootings.) Still, a thorough study of how recent proposals for tighter gun restrictions have affected recent gun purchases would be illuminating.

By the way, the Independent Institute has put together a collection of its publications on firearms, violence, and the Second Amendment, available here.

Carl Close is Research Fellow and Senior Editor for The Independent Institute and Assistant Editor of The Independent Review and editor of The Lighthouse, The Independent Institute’s weekly e-mail newsletter.
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