Supply and Demand in the Gun Industry

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The article in question for this economic analysis is called “For the Gun Industry, Women are the Next Big Thing” (Smith, Aaron). There are three main points endorsed by the article. The first claim is that women are becoming a new and much larger demographic within the firearm industry than previously indicated and that sales of firearms are seeing an uptick because of this; specifically, sales of firearms marketed towards women for uses such as general self-defense or rape protection. The article warrants this claim with information regarding the firearm manufacturer Glock, who has begun manufacture and distribution of a line of sub-compact and slim-line handguns for women. Additionally, the article states that nearly 80% of firearm manufacturers and retailers have reported an increase in female customers since the first fiscal quarter of 2012. The second main point claimed by the article is that up until recently (and perhaps even still), women haven’t been taken seriously as a sales demographic, which relates to the dynamic balance of a population with regard to density and capacity for expansion (“Demographic”). This is mainly due to the long-held stereotype that women don’t like guns. Karen Butler, a full-time civilian employee of the United States Army and owner of a business called “Shoot like a Girl” (which introduces women to the world of firearms and shooting), is recorded as saying that many female buyers aren’t taken as seriously by the industry as men. The third main point the article claims is that, as a result of increased firearms sales to women, the gun industry is seeing a rise in demand for gun related items and paraphernalia marketed specifically for them. The article warrants this claim with the correlation between a 22% percent increase in concealed carry permits in Texas among women and the sevenfold sales increase in gun related paraphernalia; companies such as Pavona now manufacture purses that come with holsters for concealed pistols to meet the demand.

(Graph omitted for review. Available via download)

Demand within the consumer market place is represented by the X-Axis on the left, labeled “Level of Demand” and is measured in thousands of guns per month of the fiscal year. The Y-Axis is comprised of twelve months within the fiscal year 2012. The separate types of firearms included in the market analysis for the fiscal year 2012 are outlined in the legend, representing the consumer demand factor. Nearly all types of firearms shown on the graph produced an increase in sales numbers and overall demand for the fiscal year 2012, save for shotguns, which remained stagnant and bolt action rifles, which actually posted a loss in the fourth quarter of 2012 (Polk, Dylan). The loss in sales for bolt action rifles and the stagnancy of shotgun sales and demand can likely be explained away by the skyrocketing demand for firearms deemed “assault weapons,” which have been under much public scrutiny as of late due to a rash of mass shootings in which the weapons were present. Additionally, rifles of any kind are generally more expensive than handguns and .22 caliber weapons, meaning the fiscal hit of the demand for more assault weapons would logically result in a drop in demand for other types of long arms when factoring in such statistics as median incomes and wages of the different firearm purchasing demographics.

Due to the high demand for firearms in the fiscal year 2012 and the lack of increased supply to keep up with demand, prices skyrocketed. In fact, the issue had become so prominent that premier firearm manufacturers such as Glock and Smith &Wesson became the poster children for the shortage: Glock had nearly 10 months-worth of backorders (Murphy, Adam) and Smith &Wesson had received more than $330 million dollars in backlogged orders. The reason behind the reinvigorated buying power and fervor of gun owners has been the threat of new restrictions and background checks on different types of firearms and firearms accessories following several high-profile, national mass-shootings. Of note is the incredibly high demand for assault weapons of all types, especially the AR-15 and its variants, which have been the main focus of the attempted government gun sanctions over their alleged increased roles in shooting crimes across the nation. As a result of the increased demand, the market supply will likely continue to grow in response, resulting in increased profits for the entirety of the firearms industry.

Works Cited

"Demographic." Merriam-Webster. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/demographic>.

Krugman, Paul R., and Robin Wells. Economics. 3rd ed. New York: Worth Publishers, 2006. Print.

Murphy, Adam. "Gun control talk leads to backlog on Glock handgun orders - CBS Atlanta News." CBS. N.p., 28 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. <http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/20756141/gun-control-talk-leads-to-backlog-on-glock-hand-gun-orders>.

Polk, Dylan. "Industry Report: Rise in Gun Sales Prompts Industry Chaos."Guns & Ammo. N.p., 30 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. <http://www.gunsandammo.com/2013/01/30/industry-report-rise-in-gun-sales-prompting-industry-chaos/>.

Smith, Aaron. "For the gun industry, women are the next big thing."CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 7 Feb. 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. <http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/07/news/companies/guns-women/index.html>.