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update: Guns vs. drugs

2014 was a record year for gun sales, at 8.57 million. Industry revenue isn't given, but revenue and sales for the two biggest makes is. Estimating $500/gun, guns sales would be under $4.5 billion. As pointed out in comments, total gun and ammo sales are $11.7 billion in 2012; $4.4 billion in exports is mentioned, unclear if that's part of the figure or in addition. Most of that is ammunition; you can easily shoot more than you spent on the gun, if you practice shooting.

This CDC page on tobacco also doesn't give industry revenue, but does say that the industry spent nearly $9 billion just on advertising and promotion. Okay, most of that is price discounts. We're also told 293 billion cigarettes were sold. At a pre-tax price of $5 per pack of 20 cigs, that's 25 cents per cig, or $73 billion, 16x larger than guns. Not counting cigars and other forms of tobacco.

US alcohol sales are $60 billion or $90 billion (wholesale vs. retail?) with $20 billion in liquor alone.

One estimate for illegal drugs is $60 billion; scaling up and converting a UK estimate gives $32-56 billion, and the US is richer than the UK.

And the NRA makes more than half its 2010 $228 million revenue from membership and educational fees.

There's a gun lobby, but it's not Big Gun like Big Tobacco or Big Oil. It's lots and lots of gun owners.

Also, dire predictions that banning guns would become a new Prohibition or War on Drugs seem kind of unfounded; the economic demand simply isn't there, plus no one is outright addicted to guns, and it's easy to cut back on ammo use.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/394274.html#comments


Damien Sullivan

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