The US, is home to the world’s highest per capita gun numbers. Gun control has been a matter of constant debate with proponents and opponents putting forth valid arguments to support their positions. Recent incidences of mass shooting have invigorated and emboldened those rooting for a ban on guns especially the assault rifles. Hypocrisy and politics have influenced the whole discussion surrounding the issue of banning guns leaving a vague picture of the real issues that should inform such arguments. In all the deliberations, there are vital aspects that many tend not to acknowledge, are ignorant of or ignore without giving them much thought. One such aspect is the economic consequences of a ban on gun ownership by ordinary citizens. Banning guns has a significant impact on the economy. The firearms industry is a big contributor to the U.S. economy and banning guns would have severe economic consequences.
Banning guns will lead to massive job losses in the gun industry. The gun industry employs many people who would be rendered jobless in the case of a shut-down of the sector due to a ban on gun use by private individuals. The last two years alone recorded the creation of over 34000 new jobs most of which offer impressive salaries (Fraser, 2016). Currently, there are about 263223 jobs related to or in the firearms and other ammunition industry. Those working in the sector get to carry home an annual average remuneration package of $ 52220.The industries wages grew significantly from an initial $ 2.4 billion to roughly $ 6 billion in 2016. The economic figures for 2015 indicate that $ 42.96 billion of money pumped into the economy was from the firearms and ammunition industry with $ 5.79 billion of it going to the state federal governments a tax revenue. Given the figures, it is clear for one to see that the firearms and ammunition industry is one that has a huge potential for the economy contributing significantly to the country’s GDP (Gross domestic product).
Several other industries are dependent on the viability of guns as a market product for their survival. The companies dependent on guns include those that manufacture, sell or distribute sporting ammunition, firearms and ammunition are all vital to the economy’s well-being. All these industries contribute significantly to the amount of money that government receives in taxes (Fraser, 2016). Gun sports may become a thing of the past in the event of a ban on guns. Money received by event organizers of such sports will be lost. As such, the money pumped into the economy through the sport may be lost. Fees that the relevant states charge for the all gun sport related events will be no longer available. The effect may be a strain on county revenues forcing some of them negatively impacting their service delivery due to financial constraints.
The NSSF (National Shooting sports Foundation) noted that in 2011, expenditures on industry equipment were $ 5.3 billion. Firearms account for $ 2.4 billion of the total amount with the figure for ammunition used in rifles, shotguns and handguns standing at about $ 700 million. The remaining figure is filled up by other relevant accessories such as decoys, game calls, telescopes, hand-loading equipment, hunting dogs, components, other shooting and hunting equipment, and the costs associated with them. Sporting hunters spend an annual amount of $ 24 billion every year (Kay, 2010). Most the items that they need are found sports goods shops, pro shops and specialty stores that employ thousands and make a significant contribution to the gross domestic product.
The U.S. firearms market supports other economies especially in Europe. About eighty percent of all firearms manufactured for commercial purposes globally are in the hands of American citizens. Many countries are usually keen on attending major firearm industry show to understand the market better. Some of the European economies are quite fragile and rely heavily on America’s goodwill for their stability. Most of them are allies underscoring the need to ensure that the policies adopted in the use do not serve to sabotage their economy. The prosperity of such nations is more beneficial to the America’s strategic interests compared to their failure. Brazil, a South American country is the single largest exporter of firearms to the U.S. The country’s economy is gaining strength as it tries to position itself as one of the fast-rising economies. A ban on firearms in the U.S. will send shocks to the economy and slow down its growth prospects (DiMauro, 2013).
Criminal activities are bound to increase with a ban on gun ownership. The knowledge that individuals no longer keep guns with them will be a catalyst for increased criminal activities as many criminals hope to take advantage of people’s inability to defend themselves against an intrusion, burglary, mugging or attack (DiMauro, 2013). Cases of people losing their properties and hard-earned cash are bound to go up. Such losses may mean an inability by those affected to meet their financial obligations and contribute effectively to the nation’s GDP. Most proceeds of criminal activities tend to go unaccounted for as criminals try to avoid expenditures that may attract the attention of the taxman. The government as usual also stands to lose in such a scenario in the form of uncollected taxes.
With an upsurge in criminal activities due to a ban on guns, potential investors may be scared of investing in the economy and opt for safer and more viable destinations. A simple ban will have created a huge economic nightmare for the country and slowed down its economic growth prospects. Areas around the world where the economies have suffered due to the presence criminal gangs that terrorize people and interfere with the economic activities in the have experienced low investor confidence. Before even imagining of placing a ban on guns and other ammunition, there is a need to consider such issues to avoid creating another major problem that has severe economic consequences. Some countries have even seen an upsurge in rings of extortionist gangs that demand a share of the revenues of traders affecting their profitability and as such their viability forcing many of the businesspersons to close shop due to losses (DiMauro, 2013).
Gun ownership endears many people around the world to the U.S. as a country. The country is known for its unique culture that supports great freedom for the citizenry. The extent of freedom enjoyed by the citizenry is almost second to none. Gun ownership adds to the whole package that makes the country’s culture the most popular in the world (Kay, 2010). The experience has contributed to the success of many American industries not just from within but also outside the country. The movie industry has been one of the greatest beneficiaries. With knowledge of the freedom of gun ownership in the country, viewers of action movies that depict heroes using guns find the movies as being depictive of the reality on the ground. Actors in possession are not necessarily viewed as criminals like in many other countries. Rather, they are seen as being just like any other person able to defend themselves in the event that the need arises. Such depiction helps in managing people’s expectations as they appreciate scenes that appear realistic. The video games on the market such as ‘Need for Speed’ thrive due to the existing laws that allow for carrying of firearms.
Clearly, the firearms and ammunition industry is a major contributor to the U.S. economy and as such banning guns will be detrimental to the economy. The industry offers numerous and lucrative employment opportunities. Banning guns will lead to huge job losses in the firearms industry. Several other industries rely on the viability of guns as a market product for their existence. Expenditures on gun-related products offer a significant revenue stream for both business owners and the government in the form of taxes. The U.S. firearms market not only benefits the country but also other economies that rely on firearm exports to the U.S. for a considerable proportion of their exports. Banning guns may have the effect of increasing criminal activities, a factor that may cause among potential investors. Law investor confidence means less investment which will certainly slow down economic growth. One cannot underestimate the kind of enthusiasm that gun ownership creates among people from other countries towards the U.S. The interest in American affairs and culture helps promote the sales of the country’s products globally. There is a need for relevant stakeholders to reconsider any actions geared towards banning of guns for the sake of the country’s economy.
DiMauro, L. (2013). Gun control. [electronic resource] : restricting rights or protecting people?. Detroit, Mich. : Gale, 2013.
Fraser, M. (2016). Politics, Guns, and Money. New Labor Forum (Sage Publications Inc.), 25(2), 102-104. doi:10.1177/1095796016639269
Kay, L. (2010, November 28). Area economy benefits from hunting. Daily News, The (Jacksonville, NC).