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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lazy Journalism on Gun Sales

You've probably seen the articles over the past week, most along the lines of this Bloomberg News article about how the sale of so-called "assault rifles" have plummeted.
Plummeting sales of assault-style weapons, also known as modern sporting rifles or “black rifles,” has led to an oversupply of unsold guns and is hitting the bottom lines of the big arms producers. Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (SWHC) shares yesterday fell the most in more than two years after the Springfield, Massachusetts-based gunmaker slashed its full-year sales and profit forecasts.
The tone of the report is that because of the lower sales, those manufactures who are publicly traded on the stock market saw their share prices lowered.  The problem is the media (and Wall Street for that matter) want to compare sales to the way-out-of-the-norm year of 2013. Sales numbers last year were driven in large part by Obama's gun control push.  What people in the industry do is look at trends.  NSSF looked at the last five years of sales without 2013 included, and found that 2014 sales are still higher than 2012, 2011, and 2010:
From January through July 2014, NSSF-adjusted NICS figures total 6.95 million background checks against 6.85 million for 2012 and 5.64 million in 2011. In 2013, the seven-month figure was 8.81 million and the annual total was a record 14.8 million. Multiple factors account for last year’s sales surge, including a fear of additional firearms-ownership restrictions, which came to pass in states such as New York, Connecticut and Maryland, as well as increasing interest in owning firearms by women and former servicemen and women.
Tom Gresham mentioned the Bloomberg article on his Sunday radio program and called it just plain lazy journalism.  He's right.  It would not have taken much for the Bloomberg reporter to do what The Huffington Post did for their article and contact NSSF.  You don't get the message that there are more gun owners and sales are still higher than previous years until the last line of the Bloomberg article.  By then, the "gloom and doom" meme had be put in place.

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