Friday, June 14, 2013

As Gun-Control Debate Rages, the Nation's Gun Industry Thrives

The article "As Gun-Control Debate Rages, the Nation's Gun Industry Thrives" written by David Francis, talks about the issues that will possibly arise for gun-dealers should gun control laws go into effect. Currently, the gun industry has made "$992 million dollars in profit last year" and is "[expected] to grow 3.7 percent annually until 2017" (David Francis). The reason behind this that due to the threat of stricter gun laws, people have been buying guns before these laws come into effect. 

The government states that the reason for these gun laws is to prevent tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting. There are three different gun control laws that the article discusses that may go into effect; required background checks for buyers at gun shows, a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and the ban of semi-automatic rifles.

From an economic stand-point, the government might be looking at this in terms of a market failure. If there is market failure, it would most likely be a negative externality in which a transaction is made between two parties and a third is made worse off. There are now three things we must look at to see if this is true. It must be an unintentional nonmarket interdependence. We would have to see if the transaction itself is what is harming the third party, which in this it's not. People are not dying because people choose to buy guns. Even if this were the case, it would be intentional on the buyers end. 

We could compare this to the ban on the buying, selling and use of heroine. Do people die from the buying and selling of heroine. The answer is no. Do people die from the use of heroine? Yes. But the ban on heroine does not stop people from buying, selling and using it. It may lower the number of exchanges, however a ban creates other problems. Heroine users must now steal and perform other illegal acts in order to obtain the money to purchase the drug. A similar thing would happen if there were a ban on guns. Would murder and other criminal activity with the use of guns still occur? Yes. A black market for assault rifles  and other banned weapons would appear, making it more difficult for authorities to keep track. 

If the government were to treat guns and ammunition like a negative externality and simply increased the tax to decrease the number of weapons and ammunition sold, there would be fewer weapons being made, sold, and bought in the market. From a liberty perspective, law abiding citizens may not be happy about the increase in prices for such goods, but at least the people have the freedom of purchasing weapons. This would also prevent otherwise law abiding citizens from obtaining guns through illegal means for reasons of protecting their 2nd Amendment rights or simply protecting their lives from non-law abiding citizens. 

In conclusion, government would not be protecting the peoples liberty and would cause potential other related criminal activity by putting a ban into effect.

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