Increased Prices Will Reduce Gun Crime

August 31, 2015 in Government, Home


With this simple economic policy, gun rights can be upheld and violent crimes reduced. Let’s analyze the effects of reducing the production of new guns.

The gun debate is one with intense emotions and fear. While the NRA is likely to oppose anything that limits their profits, this sort of economic policy won’t infringe upon people’s constitutional right to access guns.

Even though it’s clear the countries with fewer guns and stricter laws have fewer violent crimes and deaths, in America we must take a different approach to this issue because too many Americans have a fear of the apocalypse/tyranny/zombies.

Let’s focus instead on the economics of the gun industry and manufacturers. In the pursuit of profit, it is in the best interest of the gun companies to sell guns at low prices. Not just because of a lower price creating the optimal demand for optimal profits but because low gun prices lead to more gun crimes, which further drives up guns sales. When desperate people living in poverty can afford a gun, which some then use for violent crimes, then it can seem logical for middle class people to purchase a gun for protection. The more violence committed by low-income people and insane people, the more guns they sell. The more fear the industry can create, the more guns they sell.

In every industry, there are price points that produce the most profit, and the problem here is that the gun industry’s price points have an adverse effect on rates of violent crime and death. So, while the NRA wants everyone to carry a gun and buy several more just for fun, we would all be safer if guns were too expensive for some people to purchase. A mild price increase would change the atmosphere around the whole industry and perhaps even increase people’s value of life. With these price or production controls, people will still be free to buy guns but they will naturally cost more… as they should. The gun manufactures will have fewer sales but at much higher profit margins. They’ll still be very profitable and survive this sort of economic policy.

In the gun debate, there is one statistic that people overlook, only a small fraction of people who had possession of a gun when they were attacked with a gun were able to successfully defend themselves. Unfortunately, it is easier to attack than defend, and this is why we would be no safer if everyone owned a gun. Also, imagine the days of the Wild West when people would draw their weapon over the smallest dispute in fear that the other person may drawl first. It’s unclear who the aggressor “bad guy” is when everyone is armed and on edge. Stand your ground laws make it unclear if anyone should ever be convicted of murder in a Wild West sort of world.

Now, we liberals must admit that with higher gun carry rates these rare mass murderers might have a few less victims, but the vast majority of gun crimes are domestic or during theft. Creating a Wild West world would lead to more deaths than would be saved in these rare gun mass murders. Again, if guns were more expensive then many of the petty criminals wouldn’t be willing/able to afford a gun. Yet, the store owner or wealthier individuals would still be able to afford them to defend their property. This economic policy won’t solve every issue, but it will save lives and it is completely constitutional.

Even mental health background checks become almost redundant, if we assume that violent petty criminals and insane people are mostly low income individuals. With this policy only domestic gun manufactures will be constricted and upset. Low income gun enthusiasts may not like it either, but we hope they will agree that making guns more expensive will mean they are less likely to need to defend themselves in the first place. For low-income hunters with good intentions, we can offer a program to purchase cheaper shotguns… like in Germany and Australia.

Regardless of whether you agree that low-income individuals commit more crimes, we can all agree that the economics of the gun industry in an ugly science; low prices have lead to more profit and death.

This economic policy could be carried out by a tax on new sales or through price controls of new sales, like a minimum price. If the cheapest new gun coming from the manufacturers was $3,000, then used prices would be over $1,500 for the cheaper guns.

Some effects of production and price controls:

  • Collectors will be happy with the increased value of their used guns.
  • Collectors will buy up many used guns too, driving up prices even more.
  • A low income person will sell their gun for a great profit.
  • Less low income drunk people will accidentally kill themselves or someone else.
  • Many potential criminals will sell their gun for profit instead of using it to steal.
  • Less people will commit suicide, although many will find another way.
  • Gang violence will slightly reduce, but legalization of drugs would better deter gang violence.
  • There will be corporate profit loss; some of which will be absorbed by the high price of new guns.
  • Any jobs lost in manufacturing will be outweighed by jobs created by regulators.
  • Police lives will be saved and tensions reduced.
  • Militarization of police forces will be reduced.
  • A black market will form, but unlike the drug industry, guns are not as valuable per pound and more difficult to import for profit without getting caught. The number that gets through will be a tiny fraction of what we stop producing domestically.
  • Even black market guns will garner a price higher than petty criminals can afford.
  • Americans that import and buy weapons internationally could be considered treasonous. Would loyal Americans fund the Russian or Chinese military with their black market purchases?
  • Some crafty people will build their own guns; as long as they register the weapon and they don’t try to sell them they are breaking no laws.

Gun enthusiasts should not be worried. This is the mildest and simplest form of gun control. It is a moderate alternative to more liberal ideas. No one will be coming to take your gun away. There will have to be a continued ban on 3D printed plastic guns and other already established restrictions. The level of reduced production will have to be debated by a committee of economists and NRA advocates. The regulatory agents will also have to be carefully chosen. The gun lobby is notoriously good at corruption. Camera surveillance in factories with public viewing would be most effective at monitoring production and ensuring that manufacturers aren’t flooding the black market with guns.