The Invention Of Firearms Criminology Essay

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Firearms may be one of the most important inventions that mankind has ever invented.   Over the course of history mankind has depended on firearms to assist him in obtaining food and providing protection.   Gunpowder, a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate was invented in the 9th century and firearms in the 12th century in China.  These two inventions later spread to the Middle East, Europe and ultimately America with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492.  When studying the history of firearms there are three men who standout as having not only the most influences on the invention of firearms in America but world-wide.  These men are Sam Colt, Oliver Winchester and John Browning.

HISTORY

Sam Colt is known for the invention of the modern revolving pistol.  He founded Colt Firearms which is the primary contractor for the M-16 one of the most widely used service rifles in the world today.  Oliver Winchester developed the lever action rifle and founded the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.   As the name "Colt" is synonymous world-wide for handguns, the name "Winchester" is synonymous worldwide for long guns. (Hawks)  John Browning is perhaps the greatest designer in history and is the founder of Browning Arms.  These men and the companies they founded have had an influence on just about every kind of gun available except for the double-barreled shotgun and the bolt action rifle both of which were developed in Europe. 

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In the early nineteenth century due to the needs of the developing military which were being funded by the United States government the gun industry took off.  Out of this industry came a system of mass production and uniformly interchangeable parts known as the "armory practice." (Diaz)  As these processes were refined over the years by various gun manufacturers the armory practice became more broadly known as "the American system of manufacture." (Diaz)  This practice was adapted by other industries that manufactured sewing machines, farm machinery, bicycles and automobiles.  This system of manufacture eventually gave way to mass production and mass consumption.  For this reason the American gun industry is often thought of as the father of the system of mass production of consumer goods which had had a powerful influence on the economy of this country.  (Diaz)

During the nineteenth century the structure of gun industry was controlled by the government.  However, as technology increased the government was unable to keep up with private industry.  Patents for this technology remained in the private sector forcing the United States military to purchase it.    The threat of the Soviet Union forced the United States to spend large amounts of money on cutting edge technology which was in the hands of the private industries.  This caused a decline in government manufactured weaponry forcing the closure on government armories and shipyards.     

With the end of the Soviet threat in the eighties, the firearms industry again underwent a transformation.  With the government no longer spending huge dollars on defense companies without civilian contracts either merged or went out of business.  Competition became fierce and the globalization of the world market opened the door for foreign defense contractors.

Today the largest gun manufacturers are Remington and Sturm Ruger.  These two companies are included in about the 200 that generate revenue of $2 billion yearly in the United States.  The firearms industry produces about 3 million guns per year of which one-third are rifles.  Strum Ruger is the only company that sells revolvers, pistols, shotguns and rifles. 

COMPETETION

The United States firearms industry includes two hundred companies competing in a market worth an estimated two billion dollars in this country alone, not including international sales. In America, our largest gun manufacturer is Remington Firearms Company, which controls the largest share in the market and has been around for more than one hundred years. It is not one company alone that creates competition but the entire market that manufacturer's rifles and pistols, also everything in between. The five largest companies in this market are Remington, Mossberg, marlin, Smith & Wesson, and Winchester. Competition is fierce with in this market not only for private sales but also for the competition of government contracts that make millions in sales for these two hundred companies. 

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Domestic gun manufacturing is made up of different groups since not only one company can compete across the market producing every type of firearm. The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) government control board has classified these five groups into categories for how many companies are competing and how many products are produced by them.

Domestic Gun Manufacturing

TYPE

NUMBER OF MAKERS

NUMBER PRODUCED

RANGE OF NUMBER PRODUCED

Pistols

81

1,195,266

1-241,906

Revolvers

20

527,644

1-258,223

Rifles

97

1,331,780

1-407,785

Shotguns

28

1,173,645

1-426,442

Miscellaneous

65

8,607

1-3,110

( Diaz 250)

The highest level of competition is between ten giant companies at the top of the pyramid when it comes to all firearms distribution. These top ten companies are:

Remington

Heckler & Koch

Marlin

Mossberg

Smith & Wesson

Savage

Glock

Beretta

Winchester

Century Arms

In this cut throat industry the companies that are competing are not all the same, they differ due to their products. There are different companies who produce pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns which all hold various types of positions within the industry. These companies are:

Top Ten Domestic Pistol Manufacturers

COMPANY

NUMBER PRODUCED IN 1995

Smith & Wesson

241,906

Strum, Ruger & Co., Inc.

197,489

Beretta USA Corp.

158,858

Colt's Mfg. Corp.

118,462

Lorcin Engineering Co., Inc.

83,463

Bryco Arms

56,727

Arms Technology

51,531

Phoenix Arms

48,381

Davis Industries

45,171

Wayne E. Daniel

35,711

(Diaz 250)

Top Ten Domestic Revolver Manufacturers

COMPANY

NUMBER OF REVOLVERS PRODUCED IN 1995

Smith & Wesson

258,223

Strum, Ruger & Co., Inc.

148,349

Colt's Mfg. Co., Inc.

40,085

North American Arms, Inc.

34,265

Heritage mfg. Inc.

29,300

H&R 1871, Inc.

10,641

Wayne E. Daniel

3,488

Freedom Arms, Inc.

2,143

Mil, Inc.

893

Texas Longhorn, Inc.

103

(Diaz 250)

Top Ten Domestic Rifle Manufacturers

COMPANY

NUMBER OF RIFLES PRODUCED IN 1995

Strum, Ruger & Co., Inc.

407,758

The Marlin Firearms Co.

396,215

Remington Arms Co., Inc.

242,706

U.S. Repeating Arms Co.

158,026

Colt's Mfg. Co., Inc.

49,385

H&R 1871, Inc.

31,130

Weatherby, Inc.

12,587

Springfield, Inc.

9,068

Oregon Arms, Inc.

7,920

Survival Arms, Inc.

2,861

(Diaz 250)

Top Ten Domestic Shotgun Manufacturers

COMPANY

NUMBER OF SHOTGUNS PRODUCED IN 1995

Remington Arms. Co., Inc.

426,442

O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc.

339,881

H&R 1871, Inc.

165,813

U.S. Repeating Arms Co.

153,006

Maverick Arms, Inc.

53,291

The Marlin Firearms Co.

19,575

Strum, Ruger & Co., Inc.

7,133

Sporting Arms Mfg., Inc.

5,624

Wayne E. Daniel

2,239

(Diaz 250)

In such a mature industry competition characteristically takes place by stealing market share from your competitors. Most of these companies have been around for a very long time and this market leaves little room for any entry into the market, growth of existing companies, and expansion further into the market. The firearms industry is so mature in fact, that competition is very tough among these manufactures who want to increase revenues for their company. Small arm weapons are an almost obsolete technology because every company that creates them uses metal for materials to make the gun, universal ammunition to fire from the gun, and every gun is fired the same way as all the others. Due to this fact, slight changes to their products by innovation and technologies is the primary way that firearms manufacturers compete for a greater market share than they have now. For example, every rifle that these companies manufacturer may look different from one another but they each shoot the same ammunition. Every rifle uses gun powder for propellant, steel cartridges, primers, and a lead sabot encased in metal. Until there is a creation of new technology that changes the ammunition that is used, this industries competition will stay the same for years to come. Non-lethal ammunition for crowd control is the only new technology that is being developed to expand market share.

LEADING FIREARMS INDUSTRY FINANCES

Smith & Wesson Current Finances

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All of the other companies who hold the top ten spots are privately owned companies besides Smith & Wesson and Strum Ruger which stock prices and financial information is listed above.

FOREIGN FIREARMS IMPORTING

Foreign gun companies have increasingly exploited the United States gun market since 1970, either by exporting guns to the US, or by setting up US subsidiaries. Foreign imports account for only about 4.6 percent of all guns brought onto the US market(Diaz 250). During the 1990s, between a third and a half of the guns sold in that market were imported from foreign companies abroad(Diaz 250). Guns that are imported into the United States are held to a slightly higher standard than the products of our domestic gun manufacturers, due to federal law allowing only our guns for sporting purposes(Diaz 250). The practical effect of the law has been only to block the import of some small, cheaply made versions of assault rifles (Diaz 250). Many foreign companies, especially China, have simply shifted production to United States subsidiaries to get around the heavy import restrictions. Many other foreign companies have modified their products just enough to squeak passed the import restrictions created by the US government(Diaz 250). In any event, a diverse array of gun types is imported into the United States in huge quantities creating extremely high profits for these companies. Our huge market attracts foreign manufacturers not only because of our practically nonexistent national gun laws but because of unprecedented and consistent demand for guns in the United States. American industry observers expect foreign importing of especially assault weapons to continue exploding until the fire arms ban or United States policy changes drastically (Diaz 250). Upon studying the market, we cannot fully understand it without having a sense of a degree to which foreign manufacturers and owners influence it. Foreign fire arms manufactures presently control one third of the fire arms distribution within the United States, that percentage is extremely high and is more than likely understated because we do not know actually how much they control (Diaz 250).

China has become aware of our American populaces want for assault rifles and has jumped into this market full force. The people's republic of China prohibits most of their citizens from owning any type of gun, especially any type of assault rifle, hand gun, or ammunition for that matter (Diaz 250). China dumping all of these cheaply made and low cost firearms has put millions of guns that are not used for hunting only killing into the hands of our people (Diaz 250). This influx of Chinese imports has caused one of the greatest single escalations' of civilian firearms lethality in the history of the United States. The Chinese paramilitary exports are being fueled by rivalry between two government owned companies, China North Industries Corp. (Norinco) and PolyTechnologies (Diaz 250). Both of these companies are in a fierce battle to gain hundreds of millions worth of market share that is waiting to be taken by one of these companies (Diaz 250). Even though these are privately owned companies are not funded by the Chinese government for military funding and research they act as though they are(Diaz 250). This is a table of the rifle imports from China from 1987-1994:

Rifle Imports from China to the United States

TOTAL RIFLES IMPORTED

CHINESE RIFLES IMPORTED

PERCENT CHINESE

1987

452,059

100,897

22%

1988

484,976

182,935

38%

1989

350,012

141,382

40%

1990

273,103

31,370

11%

1991

339,966

115,902

34%

1992

420,085

164,271

39%

1993

764,498

490,399

64%

1994

698,907

344,648

49%

TOTAL

3,783,605

1,571,804

42%

(Diaz 250)

Total Imports from Chinese

TOTAL GUNS IMPORTED

CHINESE RIFLES & HANDGUNSIMPORTED

PERCENT CHINESE

1987

1,138,806

106,618

9%

1988

1,240,581

203,643

10%

1989

1,100,789

149,520

14%

1990

1,025,476

39,520

4%

1991

1,084,891

126,880

12%

1992

1,541,706

186,272

11%

1993

2,081,266

560,385

27%

1994

2,239,460

387,248

17%

TOTAL

11,452,975

1,764,650

15%

(Diaz 250)

It is not only the Chinese who are capitalizing on our American right to bear arms and the huge market there is to sell small arms to the American citizens, but those stuck behind the iron curtain of the Check Republic, Russia, and Hungary. In Post cold war era which we are in now (1970- Present) there is huge stock pile of weapons that are sitting in these countries. Given, all of them are mostly automatic weapons which cannot be sold to the average American citizens without an automatic weapons license, they can easily be converted to Semi-automatic. It only costs these countries fractions of cents to take out the automatic sears and convert them to "legal" rifles for import to America. Here is the statistics for the importation of these firearms to the United States:

Firearms Imports from the Former "Iron Curtain" Countries to United States

Year

Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic

USSR/Russia

Hungary

Total

1991

759

14

14,071

14,844

1992

21,177

16

72,253

93,446

1993

9,857

43,160

51,998

105,015

1994

21,973

215,585

49,368

286,926

1995

7,781

4,171

6,355

18,307

1996

23,311

0

22,019

45,330

Total

84,858

262,930

216,064

563,852

(Diaz 250)

As we can see it is a very prosperous idea for these countries who have broken economies and large amounts of weapons stockpiled that are just sitting around to be sold, which in turn can stimulate their economies for growth. The weapons can also grab some of the market share that China and many other countries try to get since the cold war era, it is not prosperous to not befriend America due to these weapons stockpiled.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), a trade association for the firearms industry has a membership in excess of 5000.  Members come from all parts of the industry including manufacturers, distributors, and firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen organization and publishers.  In a recent 2010 report the trade association emphasized that the growth of the industry has been aided by the unprecedented number of Americans choosing to evoke their constitutional right to bear arms.   Data in the report suggests that the employs in excess of 180,000 people.  The jobs in this industry pay average salary of $44,765 annually.  This particular industry does seem to be impacted by unemployment as the number of jobs increased in 2009.  The states which produced the highest number of direct jobs in the industry were California, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania.  Areas where jobs were available were in manufacturing, sales, government and distribution.  

Not only does the manufacture and sale of firearms and hunting supplies create good jobs but the industry also contributes to the economy as well.  In 2009, the firearms and ammunition industry was responsible for as much as $27.8 billion in total economic activity in the country.  As seen in the chart below about one-half of the new jobs were either from the sale of firearms or manufacture of ammunition or targets or decoys. (National Shooting Sports Foundation)   

 

Direct

Supplier

Induced

Total

JOBS

88,200

35,950

59,300

183,425

Wages

$3,274,440,000

$2,177,863,000

$2,759,578,000

$8,210,881,000

Economic Impact

$11,266,678,500

$7,384,202,800

$9,195,424,100

$27,846,304,300

In addition to the revenue generated by the industry the United States also benefited from the taxes paid by both the firearms industry and its employees which was in excess of $1.9 billion in 2009. 

GOODS & SERVICES

The smallest version of small arms is the handgun. There are three common types of handguns: single-shot pistols, revolvers, and semi-automatic pistols. Revolvers have a number of firing chambers in a cylinder that "revolves", each chamber in the cylinder is loaded with a single pre-made cartridge. Semiautomatic pistols have a single fixed firing chamber machined into the rear of the barrel and a magazine that can be used to fire more than one round at a time. Modern long guns are classified as a rifle or shotgun. A long smoothbore firearm is known as a musket. Rifles have a very small impact area but a long range and high accuracy. Shotguns have a large impact area with considerably less range and accuracy. Although, the larger impact area can compensate for reduced accuracy, since shot spreads during flight; consequently, in hunting, shotguns are used for flying game. Rifles and shotguns are commonly used for hunting and often to defend a home or place of business.  An automatic weapon is a firearm capable of firing multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger. Automatic weapons are largely restricted to military and paramilitary organizations, though many automatic designs are infamous for their use by organized crime. Automatic firearms have long been available to US civilians, under increasingly restrictive conditions. Importation of machine guns for civilian sale in the US was banned by the Gun Control Act of 1968. The Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act now prohibits US civilian ownership or transfer of automatic weapons unless they were registered before 1986.

A submachine gun is a magazine fed firearm, usually smaller than other automatic firearms which fire small caliber ammunition. For this reason submachine guns are also commonly called machine pistols, especially when referring to handgun-sized designs such as the Glock 18. Due to of their small size and limited projectile penetration compared to high-power rifle rounds, submachine guns are commonly favored by military and police forces for close-quarter combat inside buildings and in urban areas. The firearms industry produces a round about figure of close to three million guns per year which includes: six-hundred twenty thousand pistols; three-hundred and twenty thousand revolvers; one million three hundred thousand rifles; and seven hundred thousand shotguns. Sixty thousand machine guns are made, principally for the government.

Pricing Practices

The market for guns in the United States is complex enough that it can be thought of in terms of legal and illegal retail markets.  Until recently it was thought that theft was the main source of guns for the illegal market.  But new evidence suggests that it is actually the legal market that is the source of guns for the illegal market.  The legal market can be divided into primary and secondary markets.  The primary market consists of guns bought and sold by federally licensed retailers such as gun dealers.  The secondary market consists of informal purchases such as private parties, collectors and licensed vendors at gun shows.  The split between these markets is about 60/40.

It is believed that the lack of regulation and oversight of the primary market may have contributed to the availability of guns for criminal use.  Practices such as straw purchasers, persons who buy guns for persons who cannot own guns due to reasons of age or past criminal activity, make it easy for gun traffickers to buy and sell guns on the secondary markets, where sales are not subjected to background checks. (National Shooting Sports Foundation)  Bulk retail transactions are another important source of crime guns.  Youth often utilize this type of purchase to access guns.  In fact in a survey done in 1993 "32% of student-age inmates and 18% of inner-city high school students" had asked someone to purchase a gun for them." (Wintemute)

One of the discrepancies that exist between the primary and secondary purchasing markets is the lack of regulation applied to the secondary market.  Unlicensed gun vendors do not have the same federal laws applied to them as licensed gun retailers because they technically are pursuing a hobby.  Licensed gun dealers may not sell a gun without a background check.  There are required waiting periods and they must keep clean and accurate records of sale.

In comparison, there are more than 4,000 gun shows each year in the United States, many held here in Pennsylvania.  Many of these shows can be attended by up to 5,000 firearms enthusiasts each.  This is a source of frustration for the ATF because many of the guns that are sold have no way of being traced since no record keeping, background check or in some cases forms of identification are required to complete the sale.  Attachment 1 shows the way sales of firearms can enter the secondary market.

CONTRAVERSIAL ISSUES

Controversial issues in 2010 revolved around social, political and environmental issues.  Included among those most hotly debated, like stem cell research and global warming were arguments both for and against gun control.  In 2009, about 39 percent of the population in America voted to ban gun and other firearms in the United States.  (Nair)  The reason was the perceived view that the lack of gun control causes firearms related deaths.  Many anti-gun activists believe that thousands of children die each year because of the lack of gun control.  Also many believe that tighter control could have stopped the tragedy at Columbine High School.  In my own hometown, a soccer mom gained national attention after she showed up to her 5 year old soccer game with a loaded handgun in plain view and  holstered on her hip, upsetting the other parents at the game.  The county sheriff revoked her gun-carrying permit several days later.  The soccer mom sued the sheriff in federal court, saying that he violated her constitutional rights and charged her wrongly when he took her permit to carry away.  An attorney for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence defended the sheriff for free because he could not understand why she would need a loaded weapon at a soccer game.  When the soccer mom was asked about the attention she was getting she said she felt like she was wearing a scarlet letter but in reality it was a Glock 26 (Farley).  The Judge in the case restored her permit but did believe that she had "scared the devil" out of the other parents at the game.  (Scolforo).  Sadly several weeks later her husband shot her and himself in a murder-suicide.

Those who do not believe gun control is necessary think the following to be myths:

Thousands of children do not die every year in gun accidents in fact more kids die each year in accidents involving bikes and drowning.

Guns are not responsible for firearms falling into the wrong hands because there are no "gun show loopholes."  All commercial dealers at gun shows must do background checks.

The tragedy at Columbine could probably not have been prevented by tighter control because one of the weapons used a gun that is definitely illegal and that is a TEC-9.

Longer waiting period do not lower crime because a study done on the murder and robbery rates both before and after the Brady bill was passed in 1993 show there was no real difference.  (Lampo)

Among those listed above the biggest reason that some people are against gun control is because the Second Amendment states that "a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed (National Rifle Association.) The Achohol, Tobacco, & Firearms Bureau compiled a list of the actual specific guns used in crimes across the country in past years, here is the list which is not current because the information for present time is still being compiled:

Top Ten Crime Guns Traced by the ATF

1995

1996

1997

Lorcin L380 Pistol

Lorcin L380 Pistol

Smith & Wesson .38 Revolver

Davis P380 Pistol

Davis P380 Pistol

Lorcin L380 Pistol

Raven MP25 Pistol

Raven MP25 Pistol

Raven MP25 Pistol

N. China Industries SKS Rifle

F.N. .32 Pistol

Ruger P89 9mm Pistol

Ruger P89 9mm Pistol

Smith & Wesson .38 Revolver

Smith & Wesson 9mm Pistol

Mossberg 12 Ga. Rifle

Mossberg 12 Ga. Rifle

Davis P380 Pistol

Lorcin L25 Pistol

Ruger P89 9mm Pistol

Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum Revolver

Bryco 9mm Pistol

N. China Industries SKS Rifle

N. China Industries SKS Rifle

Smith & Wesson .38 Revolver

Lorcin L25 Pistol

Colt .38 Revolver

Pheonix .25 Pistol

Bryco 9mm Pistol

Mossberg 12 Ga. Rifle

( Diaz 250)

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Firearm corporations have a social responsibility to United States citizens and are an important topic to this research study. Outcries from the American populous to hold firearm companies accountable for deaths caused by their products have been a heavily debated topic over the past seventy years. This objection has not affected the arms industry, due to their protection under the second amendment right created by the founders of this nation. This industry over time has not met any corporate social responsibility requirements such as social responsibility and their abuse of political power. Small arms manufacturers insist as a whole should not be held responsible for illegal crimes their products help create because their products are too important to national defense of the United States.  It is the demand that they should and will be held responsible for the obvious foreseeable consequences that develop from use of their firearms. As stated by many democratic political groups, responsibility should include civil liability, war crime, and violations of human rights by those affected by gun violence. It is these groups desire to hold the firearms industry accountable by enforcing international human rights laws. A case out of California, which is a very good example of small loopholes in the system that cause people to be hurt or killed happened in 1993.  A young man named Jeff Randa went into a gun dealer and mentioned during his visit dealer many times that he wanted to buy a handgun and ammunition. The owner of the shop told the nineteen year-old that he could not buy a gun until he was of legal age twenty one years old. Jeff asked if his grandmother could purchase the weapon for him who was of legal age to buy handguns. The dealer told him that if she were a qualified buyer she could purchase the firearm, but the dealer could not sell her the weapon "just so she could give the gun to her grandson." Randa's grandmother came into the store with her grandson Jeff and purchased the handgun he had his heart set on. Twelve days later, Randa went to a party with the gun. Bryan Hoosier, a friend of Randa, told Randa to point the gun and shoot. Randa did just that, killing Hoosier, and was later convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the first degree. Hoosier's father sued the gun dealership for negligence, accusing the dealership of knowing that the gun would be given to a minor after being sold to an adult. This dealership had the argument that they could not be held liable and that the state laws imposed criminal penalties only on violators. In 1993, the California Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Hoosier family that the dealer was indeed liable for the death of their son (Hoosier v. Randa, 17 Cal. Rptr. 2d 518, 521 [Cal. Ct. App. 1993]). State gun law were passed not only to establish criminal penalties but also to protect the public from themselves. If a dealer violated the laws set forth by the government, he also did not uphold his responsibility to the public. Therefore, any person harmed by such a violation may sue the violator for these transgressions.

Government regulation

The firearms industry in the United States has had a big influence on the way products are mass produced however it is not a "big business."  Although sales exceed $2 billion annually there are single companies like Toys R US that are far larger than the entire gun industry. The industry credits about 60% of its sales to hunting and about 15% to home or self-protection. About 1/3 of the industry sales come from handguns, 1/3 from shotguns and the remaining 1/3 from ammunition.  

When the Founding Fathers drafted the Second Amendment no one gave a second thought to gun ownership because firearms were necessary to protecting personal liberty.    At that time in history Americans recognized the value of a gun and exercised their right to gun ownership.  This right went unchallenged until 1911 when the state of New York passed the Sullivan Act which required concealed firearms to be registered.  Shortly thereafter the first federal gun control was established when the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 were enacted.  While in office President Roosevelt's Attorney General, Homer Cummings tried to establish a national registry but World War II broke out and American's were reminded that it was good to have a gun as you might never know when it could be needed.

After the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. the need for gun control was on the minds of the federal government with the focus being targeted to gun owners in America. Up until Lyndon B. Johnson became President owning a gun was not in anyway directly controlled by the federal government.    Up until this time gun control was the responsibility of the states.  During the Johnson administration was when the federal authority relating to gun control began superseding the authority of the states.  Because the National Rifle Association was not prepared to react against anti-gun legislation the 1968 Gun Control Act became law.  This piece of legislation made "common gun-related commercial activities federal crimes."    From this point forward, firearm sales became heavily scrutinized and regulated. 

It wasn't until NRA President Harlon Carter convinced gun owners that their voices needed to be heard to protect their Second Amendment right that the direction of the anti-gun movement began to change.  In 1975 Carter created the NRA Institute for Legislative Action also known as the ILA. With a small talented staff and the gun owners of America behind them the lobby to protect the Second Amendment began.  The ILA was successful in blocking anti-gun legislation until John Hinckley attempt to assassinate President Regan left a bullet permanently lodged in the head of his press secretary James Brady which resulted in a permanent handicap in 1981.  Although in 1986 the NRA was successful in passing the McClure-Volkmer Firearms Owners Protection Ace which eliminated the most onerous provisions of the 1968 Gun Control Act in 1987 the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was introduced into Congress.   In 1993, the Brady Bill was signed into law by President Clinton on November 30, 1993.  Some might say it has not been shown to have any real impact on keeping criminals from misusing guns it is still recognized by anti-gun activists as the first step toward controlling gun ownership by private citizens in America. 

Even thought anti-gun activists have made some in-road in controlling individual gun ownership the common catchphrase voiced by member of this group is that the firearms industry in America is not regulated. The truth is that the gun industry is regulated but not by the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) or the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Act gives the commission the authority to ban a product if there is no feasible standard and gives the commission the authority to pursue recalls for products that present a substantial product hazard.  What the commission does have authority over are "food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, tobacco products, firearms and ammunition boats and fixed site amusement rides."

In 1976, the Act as amended to read "The Consumer Product Safety Commission shall make no ruling that restricts the manufacture or sale of firearms, firearms ammunitions, or components or firearms ammunition including back powder or gunpowder for firearms."  The exemption was necessary because anti-gun advocates had petitioned the commission in 1974 to ban the sale of bullets for handguns.  The petition was denied because the commission did not believe that Congress provided the commission with the authority to ban handgun bullets.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ATF is the most well-known regulator of firearms.    Firearm manufacturers must include indelible serial numbers on all firearms.  Manufacturers must keep records of the serial number, date of manufacturer, type of firearm and to whom it was sent.  The ATF routinely traces firearms used in crime by contacting the manufacturer and recreating the chain of distribution.   Additionally, in order to sell firearms, persons must be licensed with the ATF and are required to keep detailed records of firearms purchased and sold. 

Many firearms and firearm-related products are banned under federal law.  For example, it is illegal to manufacture ad sell to the public sawed-off shotguns, silencers and machine guns.  With a few exceptions, firearms cannot be shipped across state line between federally licensed firearms dealers and individuals cannot but firearms through the mail.  An estimated 20,000 federal, state and local gun laws are on the books. 

STRATEGY FOR FUTURE OF SMALL ARMS INDUSTRY

Thomas Jefferson, one of our founding fathers said "and what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not arraigned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance.   Let them take arms."  (Nair)  He himself had been an advocate for arming oneself but that was centuries ago when controversy over guns did not exists and every home had a shot gun hanging above the front door.  At one end of the spectrum is the NRA that believes that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees individuals with the right to own and carry guns.  The NRA is worried that federal regulations will continue to increase until owning a handgun will be difficult to purchase and interfere with their constitutional rights.  They also argue also that is law-abiding citizens cannot have guns, they are not as safe from criminals and then the crime rate will go up.  On the other side is the Brady Center who argues that the second Amendment does not give the individuals the right to own and carry guns.  Therefore more guns lead to more deaths.

In the past the American Firearm industry has seen growth in employment.  Not only does growth in employment help keep this industry alive but monies from personal and business taxes and consumer spending help to keep the economy healthy.  If the firearm industry hopes to continue to see future trends like these then those against gun control will have to continue to support the efforts of the NRA.  In doing so, decisions like the one made on June 28, 2010 in which the Supreme Court upheld the right of an individual to bear arms for hunting and self-defense, which confirmed what, was written in the Second Amendment. 

        The American Firearm Industry literally remains a moving target.  In response to the shooting in Tucson Arizona on January 8, 2011 which left nineteen people show, six of them fatally, multiple gun control bills have been introduced into both state and federal legislatures.  Within day of the Tucson shooting Democratic Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York planned to introduce a bill that would limit the type of a firearm that was used by gunman Jared Loughner when he opened fire at a town hall meeting.  The representative believed that it is important to look at what legislation might e crafted in order to protect people and she was clear that she did not want to five the NRA the "ammunitions" to defeat her bill.  R0bert Brady of Pennsylvania referred to the shooting as not just a morning wakeup call but major "alarms" going off.  Below is a table of gun control legislation introduced since January 2011: 

Bill Number

Bill Name

Sponsor

Brief Explanation

H.R. 1093 introduced March 15, 2011.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform Act of 2011.

Representative Steve Ing.  Republican, Iowa.

To reform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, modernize firearms laws and regulations, protect the community from criminals, and for other purposes.

H.R. 591 introduced February 9, 2011.

Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2011.

Representative Carolyn McCarthy, Democrat, New York.

To require criminal background checks on all firearms transactions occurring at gun shows.

S. 436 introduced March 2, 2011.

Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011.

Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat, New York.

A bill to ensure all individuals who should be prohibited from a buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system.

S. 176

Common Sense Concealed Firearms Permit 2011

Senator Barbara Boxer, California

Establish minimum standard for states that allow the carrying of concealed firearms.

     

In addition to all of the controversy over gun control, President Obama has now joined the debate.  In a White House announcement on March 14, 2011 the administration indicated that it would try and work with leaders on both sides of the gun control issue to try and reach a compromise on some kind of legislation to reduce gun violence.  However, when NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre was invited to attend the talks he defiantly turned Obama down stating why should I or the NRA go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States?" ( Cox, LaPierre )

Supporters are growing on each side of this debate.  A recent Gallop Poll in November on gun control showed about 86% if Americans supporting some maintaining or strengthens of gun control laws.  (Pool)  Interestingly there were about one-third who would ban handguns from anyone except law enforcement and the military.  Less than one-fifth of those polled thought the gun laws should be weakened.  Meanwhile on the opposing side the membership of the NRA is over 4 million and growing strong.  It seems as if the growth of the industry is really dependent on the effectiveness of this political machine.  With their huge membership base the NRA can raise money quickly and direct it to any threat that might restrict the Second Amendment right to bear arms.  One thing for sure President Obama was right on target when he said that "I know that every time we try to talk about guns … People shout at one another, which makes it impossible to listen.  We mire ourselves in stalemate, which makes it impossible to get where we need to go as a country." (Bacon)

INNOVATION FOR THE FUTURE

The world of firearms manufacturing in the United States is changing on a daily basis. If companies want to survive they must innovate not only the products that make them money but also where their firearms are sold ( Diaz 250). Innovation is the key to sustainability; this means hopping on the bandwagon that mass merchants have created is one of the best ways to do this (Diaz 250). Mass merchants play an important role in the shooting sports because they sell a lot of firearms to first-time buyers who would not typically go into a gun store to purchase (Diaz 250). According to a quote from Making A Killing, "The loss of mass merchants removes a source of new gun owners who traditionally sigh away from shopping in specialized stores until they feel comfortable with a particular type of product"(Diaz 250). The gun industries most obvious problem of the past fifty years has been trying to figure out how to deal with a ridiculously saturated market (Diaz 250). Due to the fact that some many companies competing "more and more guns are being purchased by fewer and fewer consumers" (Diaz 250).

Every single one of these gun companies must rely on innovation and developing new types of firearms has influenced the way fire arms are sold in the United States. With such a large shift in consumer taste and spending it is our reliance on consumerism that is changing the market of firearms distribution we know today. In popular culture, especially movies, the consumer wants not to buy the stereo typical rifle that his father used to hunt in the past because that is not as exciting as the fire arms used in the movies. It is not innovation in the sense of reinventing the wheel but advertising to appeal to the new type of consumer which are citizens from the age of eighteen to thirty years of age who grew up watching Rambo. Consumers today do not want to buy an old rifle that holds just five rounds; according to them this is "boring". All of these firearms manufacture advertising in management teams go in the opposite direction by increasing the lethality of their products (Diaz 250). The new era of innovative fire arms are making guns that hold more rounds and increased the power of these rounds. In turn this has made guns unintentionally more suitable for use of criminals and the crimes they commit. Instead of having a rifle that shoots only five rounds they now have magazines and drums that hold from thirty to two hundred rounds at a time. Obviously, for what these firearms are designed for "hunting", there is no need for a rifle to hold more than thirty rounds at a time.

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