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Hullabaloo


Friday, June 24, 2016

 
The Gun Business Is Making A Killing by Making it Personal
 by Spocko

We know the stages of how the media cover mass shootings. One stage we are hitting now is "the business of guns." Where reporters duly note how much the gun stock prices rise after shootings. They talk to industry analysts, talk about projected earnings as if they were selling abstract widgets.

 Yesterday the New York Times did a piece about how the gun industry is growing via assault rifles and handguns.

Today I listened to Evan Osnos who wrote the piece Making,a Killing, The business and politics of selling guns. by Evan Osnos for the New Yorker.  Osnos was on Fresh Air with Terry Gross Fresh Air interview with Osnos.
 I really encourage people to listen to the entire interview or read the story. Osnos talks about a number of things that I have been writing about and that I've heard about from listening to Cliff Schecter and my friends at various non-profits who are working on this issue.

 What I and others have noted is how the gun industry grows. Osnos talks about the conceal carry "lifestyle" and how it uses fear to constantly sell guns as the answer. They tell men and women,
"The world is dangerous, look at this mass shooting! You must protect your family! What kind of man would you be if you were powerless to protect them! Now watch and read these carefully chosen examples that prove you are doing the right thing." 
 What the interview also shows is that any talk about smart guns that might stop toddlers from blowing their brains out will be stopped. It might get in the way of selling more guns.

He gives the example of when Smith & Wesson tried to do something in this area they were punished financially. Their stock price dropped by 95 %. But that really wasn't good enough. The CEO also got death threats.

A gun maker CEO who tried to make things safer, is punished in one of the only ways that really counts in the US, falling stock prices. They gave him death threats instead of a golden parachute.

This is what people who would like less gun violence in America are up against. This is an industry that would rather block actions that would save the lives of thousand of kids every single year than risk slowing market growth.

What I take away from the Osnos piece and the many, "business of guns" stories  is the industries' focus on making money at any cost is becoming a weakness Especially when someone like Donald Trump takes them at their word.
The last half of the interview covers that.

 If the gun industry sells more guns after every tragic shooting is there a time when they don't make money? What can activists do that gets in the way of their revenue stream? And if they do, how will the industry react?

Sam Seder pointed out the other day that the market caps on the gun companies are small. Maybe Bloomberg could buy one? But also, who else makes money by supporting the gun industry? Who loses money? If you can't cost the gun industry money, can you cost the buyers money?

There are ways, but as I found out when I started the process of defunding Right Wing radio that when you get in the way of a revenue stream people get pissed off. They may talk about how important their rights are, but it's not about the industries' great desire to help men defend their families or defend our freedoms, it's about making a buck.