Reuters blog archive
By Robert Cyran
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
Fading reform hopes should take the shares of gunmakers with them.
Such a turn of events would reverse an extraordinary run for the industry. The U.S. government collected $6 billion of excise taxes on gun and ammunition purchases in 2012, more than twice the typical amount in the years to 2007. This year is on pace to generate the biggest sum ever. The number of federal background checks, a good indicator of future gun purchases, also should easily exceed 20 million in 2013, a record.
Last year’s massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut created a broad perception that tighter gun laws were coming. The week following the tragedy spurred close to 1 million background checks. Other factors have been brewing for longer.
Smith & Wesson’s order backlog increased more than 10-fold in the six months following Barack Obama’s 2008 election victory. Doomsayers also worried the financial crisis had set the stage for a societal collapse, sending sales of “tactical weapons” like the AR-15 used at Sandy Hook up even more sharply.
from The Great Debate:
Politicians know they incur a big political risk if they support gun-control legislation. Gun-control advocates have to demonstrate that there is also a political risk if they do not support sensible gun legislation.
The only way to do that is to defeat someone who voted against background checks. Their defeat will become a “teachable moment.”