The Washington Post is running a story alleging that surveys show gun ownership in the U.S,. is at a 40-year low. I won’t link to it.
This is at the same time gun sales are at record highs.
The WaPo’s explanation, is, basically, that all these guns are being bought by the same fourteen survivalists in Idaho.
Mine is that the number of gun owners with a justified fear that “surveys” are a data-gathering tool for confiscations is also at a record high, and therefore that the number lying to nosy strangers about having no guns is at a record high. videochat
I think there’s a way to discriminate between these cases on the evidence.
It’s not NICS records, because thoise get destroyed after a timeout. Thankfully…
In any consumer market, a reliable way to tell if it’s broadening or narrowing is whether manufacturers’ and retailers product ranges are expanding or contracting. SKUs are expensive; having more complicates everybodies’ supply chains and planning and accounting.
In a broadening market, the variety of consumer preferences is increasing. It makes sense to chase them with product variations. In a narrowing one the opposite is true, and you shed SKUs that no longer carry the overhead of their differentiation.
In early-stage technologies this effect can be masked by the normal culling of product types that happens as a technology stabilizes. There was much more variety in personal computers in 1980 than there is now! But firearms are not like this; they’re a mature technology.
So a productive question to ask is this: is the huge upswing in gun sales being accompanied by a broadening of product ranges? Google-fu did not provide a definite answer, but I can think of several indicators.
A big one is the explosion in sales of aftermarket parts for AR-15 customization. If that’s a sign of a contracting market, I’ll eat the grips on my Kimber. Another is the way new product classes keep coming out and being difficult to buy until gunmakers tool up to meet demand. The most recent case of this I know of was subcompact (3.5″-barrel) .45ACPs.
Open question for my blog regulars: can we find good public measures for SKU diversity in this space?