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Gun Lobby Defends Not The Constitution But A Cynical Business Model

Memo Pad

Gun Lobby Defends Not The Constitution But A Cynical Business Model


There’s a little known fact about guns in America, and it’s one that the firearms industry and its political allies don’t like to dwell on: The rate of gun ownership in America is declining.

This has been the case for decades. Rates peaked way back in the 1970s, the era of disco balls and bell bottoms. In 1977, 54 percent of American households reported owning guns. In 2010, the last time the General Social Survey data was compiled, the percentage had shrunk to 32.

The Violence Policy Center follows such data, as analyzed by the National Opinion Research Center. The center’s last report was “A Shrinking Minority: The Continuing Decline of Gun Ownership in America.”

The trend is expected to continue. It seems counter-intuitive, given all the recent headlines about people lining up at gun stores and given the stranglehold the gun lobby has on American politics. It raises all sorts of questions. Who owns guns, who doesn’t, and why? For the nation to handle its problems with gun violence effectively, we need to grasp the nitty-gritty realities of gun ownership.

First of all, whatever upticks have been observed in the purchases of guns and ammunition seems to reflect stockpiling by those who were already gun owners. Gun manufacturing increased dramatically between 2007 and 2011, from 3.7 million weapons to 6.1 million being produced. You have to wonder if owning guns, for those who still do, is a bit like buying cell phones. Once you’re hooked, only the newest killer version will do, prompting more frequent purchases.

Meanwhile, the declining overall trend in ownership rates is largely explained by the changing demographic composition of America.

Older white men, many of whom grew up with hunting as a part of their lifestyle, are in decline relative to other demographic groups. Younger people are more likely to play soccer than sit in a duck blind or deer stand.

Mary Sanchez

Mary Sanchez has spent years covering immigration, schools, and other volatile beats for The Kansas City Star. She is now an editorial columnist for the Star, where she continues to offer insightful commentary on immigration, culture, and politics.

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  1. I Zheet M'Drawz February 26, 2013

    You really have to stop playing the gun lobbys’ game.

    They’ve managed to reduce the discussion to a 2nd Amendment challenge & I think most would agree after re-re-re-reading the 2nd Amendment people do have the divine right to own firearms but…

    This entire debacle was spawned by massacres commited by crazy, albeit criminal, people & the ‘problem’ that needs to be addressed is:

    HOW-TO Keep Firearms Out Of The Hands Of Crazies and Criminals.

    This entire 2nd Amendment discussion is just bait designed to get YOU to focus on the bait instead of crafting a solution to the problem above of HOW-TO.

    The NRA is a small group of people & if they did represent gun owners & their rights & considering how many guns there are in this nation shouldn’t their membership by considerably larger?

    They are not a problem unless you give them credence & respect. Ignore them & craft a solution to this problem & not a new bunch of worthless Laws of the same ilk as the 22 thousand on the books today (yes, 22 thousand guns Laws).

    More of the same is not going to ‘fix’ the problem. A radical new approach must be taken but most people aren’t ready for that yet.

    1. nobsartist February 26, 2013

      The government is heavily armed. There are MANY criminals and crazies in our government.

      Who are you afraid of?

      1. stcroixcarp February 26, 2013

        I’m afraid of the neighbor kid who tortures animals and is armed. I’m afraid of the controlling husband who kills his wife, kids and himself. I’m afraid of the guy who hears voices from God or the devil who has an ak47. I’m afraid of the neonazis and survivalists. I am afraid FOR the depressed teenage boy who has easy access to guns in his home.

        1. nobsartist February 26, 2013

          I am in fear of the child that tortures animals and then gets hired as a policeman or governor or congressman or senator.

        2. Stephen K. Trynosky February 26, 2013

          I fear those who stand by and do nothing while these things happen. I fear comedians who make light of spousal abuse on Oscar night. I fear those who keep it a secret until it’s too late. I fear politicians (of all races) who jump on the bandwagon after a Sandy Hook but ignore the weekly carnage in big cities like Chicago. .

        3. MARK February 26, 2013

          As screwed up as our government is today and the job to correct it is massive,the average American is less likely to see armed forces marching down thier street with intent to steal thier lives than to witness the kid down the street with a sub par education,and little to no adult supervision,who is wacked and brain addled from some chemical influence and a perverted notion of glory,open up with a gun in a public place. Unfortunately,when it comes to bad government,the gun lobby has a lot to point its finger at.Where its political constituents are concerned though is the fact that they were involved in creating many of the problems.

          1. DEFENDER88 February 26, 2013

            Another more likely scenario is a Katrina type situation – no power, no food in stores, the police are at home tending to/protecting their families, etc. Roving gangs with their AK47’s and your now crazed and starving neighbor come over and demand(at gun point) what little food you have to feed their kids.

          2. MARK February 26, 2013

            You are victimized by your over active imagination and need to make sure that it does not override your common sense.Walking around under those circumstances with a firearm is akin to being a standard bearer in a Civil War battle. In other words A Perfect Target. Roving Gangs? Off duty cops during a disaster? Get off it!

          3. DEFENDER88 February 26, 2013

            Who said anything about walking around with a firearm?
            Truth/reality is stranger then fiction.
            I dont have to imagine a dam thing.
            You did not see what happened in Katrina?
            Many police, admirably, stayed on duty.
            But many, understandably, went home to tend to their families.
            Roving gangs with AK’s – the record/evidence speaks for itself. As with other disaster/riot areas like LA, Detroit – you may be too young to remember that one. Took tanks and APC’s to stop it. Civil war battle indeed but with MA Duce(50 cal).
            And the Battle of Athens TN took place 30mi from here. Look it up.
            And I have been shot at 4 times in Gun Free Fed Parks in the mountains so Idont have to “Imagine” a Fu–king thing.
            I am glad you are so safe and protected but many of us are not always so lucky. Its a big country and at times and places dangerous.
            You dont get out much do you?

          4. MARK February 26, 2013

            I’ve been out upon our country all my life which up to this point has been in excess of sixty years.. You have nothing to tell me about history and you need to keep your fear based arguments to your self. You will get no buyers here. As for who said anything about walking around with a firearm,you did.Reread your comment.Unless you meant to imply that those armed persons coming to my door to take my food would be flying. I know well enough from my own experience,which I will not go into,that it is not always possible to avoid trouble but I have always dealt with it when I had to. I go where I want to in this country,I don’t hide though I know there are those who would kill me if they had the chance.I’m smart enough to know that a person usually finds what they are looking for. I don’t look for trouble.I have been shot at also,so what? The people who did are dead. Someone may shoot at me again.So what? I refuse to live in fear.I have already been to hell.When it is time I will die.So will you.Guns or no guns.

          5. DEFENDER88 February 26, 2013

            Cant argue with that.
            Me too.

            I have died once already so all this is gravy time anyway.

            I dont live in fear either.
            But I dont plan to be an easy mark anymore either.

            So I do now look out for situations that may be dangerous to me.
            And try to avoid them if possible. If not, then prepared to defend myself.
            I definitely did not like being shot at and being totally unarmed and defensless.
            I have no desire what-so-ever to have to shoot anyone.
            But I would not mind scaring the piss out of some, so they will think twice about trying it again.
            Macho BS or just plain stupid whatever – There are a lot of young men especially out there who think it is cool(apparently) to shoot at people for no good reason at all. Too many video games and macho movies I guess or whatever.
            If they could get that feeling of a round whizzing over their head they might think twice next time.

            Shot at
            The 2nd time I was in a kayak floating a white water river(State Park). Long range rifle.2 shots.
            3rd time in camp ground around a camp fire with friends, at night. Shotgun, medium range.
            So I was not doing anything against anyone or looking for trouble at anytime.

            I think these kids would stop it if they got some return fire. Probably shit their pants.
            Coward bastards.

          6. MARK February 27, 2013

            My first experience with gun violence took place in my mid-twenties when I refused an offer of membership in the southern mob.They do not handle rejection well and thats all I can say about that.Most young fellows,at least for a time have what seems like a terminal case of ego. They are mostly bluff and bluster and are quick to change thier attitudes when they encounter someone who knows shit from shinola.I’m not suggesting that you or I underestimate a kid with a gun or some other weapon,or thier capacity for stupidity. I have found that often if you leave the other guy a way out he will take it.On the other hand,if you are face to face with someone who is hell bent on destruction.Strike first! Be accurate, hit fast and hard.Be merciless and show no remorse if you intend to live.Like yourself,I’m not looking for an opportunity to hurt someone but it pays to know how to handle yourself and know what your course of action will be in a bad situation. I don’t go for that Stand Your Ground Law.Too many guys will use it to try to get away with murder. Cowardly Bastards? You bet!

        4. DEFENDER88 February 26, 2013

          All the others I understand and agree but why do you fear survivalists? They have shown no overt agression what-so-ever that I am aware of.

          1. stcroixcarp February 26, 2013

            What about the guy who shot the bus driver and kidnapped a little boy? What about the unibomber? The survivalists I know are heavily armed and as racist as the KKK. These are not organic gardeners who can produce and store it in their basements!

          2. DEFENDER88 February 26, 2013

            Any demographic has outliers but those 2 were just nut jobs acting like survivalists to stay off the grid to do their murderous work.
            Pretty small data set you are working with.
            I know many survivalists and none are like that and none are racist. They are everyday average people – teachers, nurses, carpenters, etc. Many can however grow a garden if needed and store the produce. But None are violent people.

        5. tdm3624 February 26, 2013

          Then you should go out and buy a gun to defend yourself. 🙂

      2. highpckts February 26, 2013

        People like you!!

  2. nobsartist February 26, 2013

    The gun lobbyists do not have a very difficult job after seeing how our government operates.

    The Second Amendment has two purposes.
    1. To allow the formation of defenses for the United States from
    a. foreign invasion
    b. overbearing or subverted government

    The push for revised gun laws at this point is because the government is concerned that they have FUCKED MILLIONS of Americans and they are concerned about mass civil disobedience.

    1. highpckts February 26, 2013

      That is one man’s opinion who is smoking who knows what when he believes everyone is concerned with MASSIVE civil disobedience!! Go join Glen Becks compound and live happily ever after!!

      1. nobsartist February 26, 2013

        Thanks for the sheeple opinion.

        1. highpckts February 26, 2013

          An answer I’m not surprised at! Typical!!

        2. MARK February 26, 2013

          Sheeple? Is that all you got ? You pathetic little snot.You have no business here. You are not qualified to comment on any subject other than the stroking of your half pint little weenie. A smart person would go hang with thier friends even if they are lowlife fascists.Go on boy,get off these pages and go have your self a grand little circle jerk with your trailer trash commandos!

        3. Brian February 26, 2013

          Oh no! Did your teenie weenie get stuck in the barrel of your .22?

      2. MARK February 26, 2013

        I would suggest that he go off someplace by himself and jerk off to his gun violence fantasies.I can hear him quoting Frank Zappa now “My Love Is A Bullet”

      3. TheRightisohsoWrong February 27, 2013

        I happen to be a liberal leaning centrist who voted twice for Obama (although realistically my vote didn’t count since I live in the embarrassingly red state of Nebraska). However I own guns, in fact I own a lot of guns. I have handguns, shotguns, hunting rifles, and yes, about 10 so called “assault rifles.” I also have a large supply of ammo. Not because I want to overthrow the government, but because I am afraid of followers of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and other right-wingers trying to undo American values. I didn’t spend 8 years in the Marines, two of them in ‘Nam, so some right wing nut could take over my nation!!

        1. rustacus21 February 27, 2013

          Thanx for your noble service & no, that’s not what U defended U’r nation for. But it is time for us in these younger generations, to defend U & each other against these same psycho’s who, B4 the President had spent a single day in office, had conspired to bring him & his administration down. Sedition, by any other name. Living in a Democracy demands accountability and responsibility for its direction. It’s time we make it a point to do so – B4, during & after next years Mid Terms…

    2. I Zheet M'Drawz February 27, 2013

      This is the FBI. Do not move. We are here to collect your guns because your post proves you are not of mental capacity to have one.

      You’re afraid of a foreign invasion. We’ve had so many of those.

      You’re afraid the gub’mint is going to do what? Enslave you? Send you to the salt mines on planey Kessel? What are you saying?

  3. Randy Sabo February 26, 2013

    This report is bs, I keep buying guns and so do my friends, and since obama opened his mouth gun stores cant keep guns in stock. Check the facts. Mary Sanchez another talking head who doesnt check whats really going on.

    1. MARK February 26, 2013

      Well that is one way to spur the economy and fuck the republicans at the same time.

  4. tcburch February 26, 2013

    Perhaps, just perhaps the reason “Polls” show a decline is the general mistrust of the private citizen of their government’s intent and choose to remain silent on whether their household has a firearm or not.

  5. ObozoMustGo February 26, 2013

    Gun ownership is on the decline in America????? Yeah, right. And B. Hussein Obozo is really fiscally responsible…..







    Cut it out…. You’re killing me…..



    Have any of you walked into a gun store or the gun counter at a sporting goods lately? The shelves are empty and there are waiting lists for many different types of guns. The ammo shelves are empty. And gun ownerhip is on decline in America?????



    Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!! Good one!!!

    I will tell you what. Reading this type of stuff here on The Memo really makes one think how in the hell these people make a living in “journalism”. There is absolutely not a single shred of journalistic integrity in any of these useful idiots at The Memo. These guys give yellow journalism a good name. What a bunch of losers.

    Have a nice day!

    “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.” — Mark Twain

  6. fedupMan February 26, 2013

    A universal background check on the GOOD guys will do nothing except give the govt a LIST of who has what kind of firearm to confiscate in the future. The 1st thing tyrants do is take the guns/weapons from the masses, Hitler took guns and even the English made possession of table knives a death offense in Scotland a long time ago. This is FACT since the dawn of time.
    This will ONLY disarm the GOOD guys who only want to defend themselves and family and give the BAD guys the power to romp and stomp the GOOD guys into the ground. I was mugged once in Chicago and I never forget how helpless I felt.
    Look at Chicago. Draconian gun laws, used to be NO ONE could even HAVE a hand gun, even the good guys. Over 520 dead in 2012 and so far the problem is looking at least as bad this year. The IL pols answer is to take guns or restrict them in the ENTIRE state, they even tried to take shotguns from the entire state of 13 million with a huge population of LEGAL hunters down state.
    The only place with a big problem is Chicago. This is a drug, gang and Chicago problem. Chicago needs to get it house in order, like enforce laws already on the books and STOP playing the race, and political games by blaming the GOOD guys by passing feel good laws that only affect the GOOD guys which enables the BAD guys to romp and stomp. Hint bad guys NEVER pay attention to laws.
    As a law abiding citizen if they TAKE my guns away and something BAD happens to my family can I SUE the politicians that DISARMED me and prevented me from personal defense of my LIFE. Don’t forget that IL as NO death penalty and since dead people cannot testify in court the victim is collateral damage.
    In IL if someone uses a bazooka to break down your door you are required to retreat, hide or run away and take NO action unless there is absolutely NO OTHER possibility and you are trapped. Even then if the BAD guy has a record 5 MILES long his relatives can SUE you in CIVIL court where they only need 7 out of 12 jurors.
    Before you do gooders get excited remember this could happen to you and YOU could be the victim or the dead person.

  7. RobertCHastings February 26, 2013

    It is interesting, and very telling, considering the huge amounts of money the gun lobby is using to influence the election for a replacement for Jesse Jackson Jr., that they are so upset at Michael Bloomberg for doing exactly the same thing. Just hope Bloomberg can match them dollar for dollar and make it at least close to an fair race.

  8. mhutch0301 March 3, 2013

    I see a parallel with the tobacco industry. In the same way that smoking isn’t regarded the same way now as it was 30, 40, 50 years ago, once information about the risks and effects of gun ownership and unrestricted gun availability gets out to the public, they make up their minds about it, and overall use rates decline, because despite any beneficial aspects of gun ownership, the danger is too great overall, in ways that people see and understand. There’s simply too much that can go wrong; the risk is too great for many, if not most. Gun advocates like to say, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Well, in the same way, tobacco doesn’t kill people, people who choose to use tobacco choose the risk of illness and death that comes along with it. Yet, Americans have placed restrictions on the sale of tobacco, and forced tobacco companies to own up to their complicity in the health problems it causes. And there is now universal recognition of the greater costs of tobacco-related illness to America and business as a whole. This is precisely what we’re going through with guns right now. Like smoking, owning and carrying weapons is a personal badge of behavior. Increasingly, that behavior is frowned upon by an ever-greater majority of people, who recognize potential danger when they see it, and refuse to have anything to do with it.

  9. roggy65 March 11, 2013

    Interestingly the author used a known anti gun group’s ‘study’ to base her article on. Get back to us when you do a truly objective background check on your article.

  10. Ryan Holmes March 11, 2013

    Our constitutional rights should never, ever be up for discussion. This incredible American experiment in freedom exists because of our combined commitment to liberties and life. In so saying, any and all solutions to the challenges we face as a country must preserve both, so Freedom of speech must be preserved in the face of flag burners, Freedom of religion must be preserved in the face of Aryan-Christians as well as Radical Muslims, the Right to Peaceful Assembly, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, all are the same. There is no middle ground here.

    In the interest of solutions, let’s test an example; Imagine that you would like to reduce the likelihood of violent attacks at or near your school, home, church or place of business. Would you begin by searching and investigating every citizen in the area and cataloging their respective possessions and behaviors or would you focus your efforts on the those people who’ve proven to be violent?

  11. Gary Schaefer March 11, 2013

    Mary please post links to reputable sources IF you can, which I serious doubt.
    Your link between declining ownership of guns leading to more deadly weapons and ammunition is ludicrous. It’s your personal feeling not backed by any reputable study.
    So please take you half baked theories adn take a long walk off a short pier.
    You really need to get your terminology correct and stop using the politically created catch phrase of Assault weapon. They do not exist. Assault rifles do, but they’re been restricted since 1986.

  12. Mike Carter March 11, 2013

    There isn’t a shred of truth in this article – everything she claims is contradicted by the FBI Uniform Crime Report. Sad when a “journalist” substitutes personal opinion for fact and bases that opinion on nothing but her imagination.

  13. Communist47 March 12, 2013

    An old saying goes “If you know how many guns you have, you don’t have enough”. What we need is to start giving tax deductions for buying guns and ammo and make every Saturday a gun buying day.
    Start making mandatory high school firearm training and build more shooting ranges across the country. This is the only way to arm up the “good guys” and an effective deterence to criminals and terrors alike.
    We need to encourage businesses to give discounts to customers who are concealed carry permit holders.
    It is ok to acknowledge that we own guns. Many people lie in their survey and opinions polls that they don’t own any guns — well, the background checks in the millions for the 4 straight months proved gun ownership is on the rise – skyrocketed.


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