Guns and Trump

Trump is worse for the gun industry than Obama, or any democrat, could ever be.  Notice I said gun industry, not necessarily gun owners or the gun lobby, but the industry.  By extension, Trump will be better for society as a whole in terms of guns.  It isn’t difficult to imagine why.

The last eight years have been record ones for gun sales.  A big chunk of the country genuinely thought that Obama was going to take their guns.  Therefore it made sense to buy as many guns and bullets as possible.  After all, it’s a lot easier to limit gun sales then to take guns that were already sold.  Granted, owning a dozen guns isn’t that useful.  You can’t really use more than one at a time, and even that only rarely.  You don’t go hunting every day, and few people are going to bring their guns to work and the grocery store.  For the most part, guns are for collectors.  People who gather them, but don’t usually use them.  And in normal times, there just aren’t that many collectors to sustain a lot of growth in an industry.

So now there’s someone in charge who no one believes will take away guns.  Why make those gun purchases now?  There’s no harm in waiting.  Therefore, sales will fall.  This is a huge problem.  Most weapons manufacturers are public corporations.  Public corporations have exactly one job, to make money for their shareholders.  Not to improve the world, or uphold the constitution, or even to sell products.  Most of the time that’s fine, because the easiest way to make money for shareholders is to sell products and improve the world, or a least a tiny part of it.  So how will gun makers sell more guns now?  They need to show sales growth.  Well, they can accept that they will simply sell less, which they may do, or they can do some unexpected things to spur growth.  Things like push for more regulations.

This doesn’t make any sense.  Why would gun makers push for more rules on guns?  Well, people frequently assume that all regulations are always bad for business, but that’s not the case.  Some regulations guarantee more business.  For example, New Jersey is pushing for rules on electricity.  A certain percentage of power has to be generated by renewable resources or the electric companies will owe fines.  That has spurred a huge jump in the solar industry as electric companies push to try and meet their goals.  This means more people working in the new industry, and more people employed, and more money to be made.  So what if we finally developed guns that can only be fired by their owner, or gun lock boxes that require a fingerprint to open?  If one of those things is developed, and the gun lobby pushes for their requirement, suddenly millions of gun owners have to buy more stuff.

There aren’t a whole lot of ways to grow your sales when the market is saturated, particularly when the reason it is saturated has now gone away.  Extra regulations are the best way to guarantee sales growth.  Perversely, Trump may be the best chance to get some kind of regulations into gun sales.

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