“Good, bad, I’m the guy with the gun.” -Army of Darkness
The People’s Army
In 1959, Gallup reported that 49% of Americans said they had a gun in their home. In 2000, that figure had dropped to 39% (41% reported gun possession on their ‘property,’ however defined). In 2011, Gallup’s number had jumped to 47%. Subsequent analysis indicated that while gun ownership distribution was at 47%, the figure was misleading in that many gun owners possessed more than one firearm (and in many cases, a lot more). The National Institute of Justice reports that in 2009, Americans collectively owned 310 million firearms. Globally, in 2007, Americans were ranked first in gun ownership per capita at 88.8%, followed by Serbia (58.2%, and Yemen (54.2%).
As of and excluding the big sales month of December, ABC reported that 2012 U.S. sales of guns beat last years record by 350,000, the FBI recording instant background checks of 16,808,538.
In 2010, the top U.S. firearms manufacturers were:
Ruger 903,968 Units
Smith and Wesson 681,834
The ATF Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report reported that 5,391,311 units were manufactured in 2010. Although impressive, these number were slightly down from 2009, driven by a buying frenzy that many attribute to President Obama’s taking office, his possible position on gun control, and perhaps- a reaction to the fear mongering primarily generated by the Tea Party, the fringe right, and Fox News.
The Geneva-based research group, Small Arms Survey estimated in August of 2011 that the U.S. dominated global market for ‘authorized international transfers’ of small and light weaponry, ammunition, parts, and accessories had ballooned from $4 billion in 2006 to 8.5 billion. The size of the U.S. gun industry vary, but IBIS world estimated in a 2012 Fiscal Times article that it generates approximately 12 billion in sales annually. The National Shooting Sports Association reports that in 2011, the American firearms industry employed 98,000+ people, up 31% from 2008.
At the ground level, ABC reports that as of August 1st 2012, there were 129,817 federally licensed firearms dealers in the U.S.; beating out grocery stores (36,569) and McDonald’s restaurants (14,098).
Of course if you’re presently shopping for ammunition, there are a plethora of online retailers that might meet your needs; however, don’t expect speedy delivery. With demand high, companies such as www.targetsportsusa.com advise on their site:
Due to a very high volume of incoming orders please know that it will take up to 20-22 days before we process your order and 2-3 weeks before you receive your order.
And if one truly believes that the horrific events of last year might have had negative effect on the industry, ugh… nope. At this point, it is a foregone conclusion that regarding income and investment, firearms will continue to be ‘the way to go’ - at least in the short term.
The 2013 projection of economic impact on the U.S. economy now stands at $31.8 billion, including suppliers, taxes, and related secondary industries.
An article from Wall St. Cheat Sheet reported in April 2012 that fourth-placed, U.S. firearms maker Sturm Ruger had surged 360% over the last three years; to the point that the company suspended acceptance of new orders. Meanwhile, Smith and Wesson had surged 80% year to date.
From a December 2012 New York Times Dealbook article by Andrew Sorkin:
It is often overlooked, but some of the biggest gun makers in the nation are owned by private equity funds run by Wall Street titans. The .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle that was used on Friday by Adam Lanza to massacre 20 schoolchildren was manufactured by the Freedom Group, a gun behemoth controlled by Cerberus Capital Management, named after the three-headed dog of Greek myth that guarded the gates of Hades. Its founder, Stephen A. Feinberg, hunts regularly on the weekends with a Remington Model 700.Bill de Blasio, New York City Public Advocate provides us with a list of the largest twelve corporate investors in the gun industry that, “… continue to sell military-grade weapons and ammunitions to civilians.” – Among this list that he refers to as the Dirty Dozen:
Besides Cerberus, Colt Defense, a spinoff from the manufacturer of the .44-40 Colt revolver made famous by John Wayne, is jointly owned by Sciens Capital Management, a fund advised by the Blackstone Group and another fund run by Credit Suisse.
Cerberus: $706-957 million
State Street Corp. 140.0
Renaissance Techn. 79.5
Allianz Asset 67.9
Courtesy of Joe Nocera at NYT:
Cerberus Institutional Partners Series IV is the fund that took over Chrysler in 2007. It bought General Motors’ financing arm, now called Ally Financial. It gobbled up hospitals, purchased bus companies, and even bought the raunchy magazine Maxim.Mr. Nocera also provided a partial list of institutional investors that have remained quiet regarding their investment in Cerberus’ Series IV fund:
It is also the fund that bought Bushmaster Firearms… It bought Remington Arms… a handful of other firearms companies, which it then merged into a new parent company, Freedom Group. At which point, Cerberus was the largest manufacturer of guns and ammunition in the country.
State of Wisconsin Investment Board $100 million
University of Texas Endowment 75 million
Regents, University of California 40 million
Pa. Public School Retirement System 400 million
TIAA-CREF, the financial services giant 147.8 million
Also listed was the University of Missouri endowment, the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension system, the Indiana Public Retirement System, and others.
And then there’s The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS:
… now demanding that Cerberus sell Freedom Group, but even if it’s successful, the pension fund likely will still be in the gun business. (Sacramento’s News Review)
According to his report, when Mr. Nocera queried many of the trust funds’ management, he was met with a number of excuses and rationalizations for continued investment in Freedom Group. Then there was Bruce Zimmerman, a spokesman for the University of Texas Investment Management Company:
We have no plans to divest. We invest strictly on economic considerations, and we do not take into account social and political consideration.
To be continued:
Part II: Blood Politics
D.C.-K. Firearms LTD