There are, in fact, not many things for which the outlook is promising. Exceptions include Smith&Wesson.
In the first two months of this year, around 2.5 million Americans
bought guns, a 26 percent increase over the same period in 2008. It was
great news for gun makers and a sign of a dark mood in the country.
Gun sales shot up almost immediately after Barack Obama won the U.S.
presidential elections on November 4 and firearm enthusiasts rushed to
stores, fearing he would tighten gun controls despite campaign pledges
to the contrary.
After the November spike, gun dealers say, a second motive has
helped drive sales: fear of social unrest as the ailing economy pushes
the newly destitute deeper into misery. Many of the newly poor come
from the relentlessly rising ranks of the unemployed. In February
alone, an average of 23,000 people a day lost their jobs.
Tent cities for the homeless have expanded outside a string of
American cities, from Sacramento and Phoenix to Atlanta and Seattle,
for people who are living the American dream in reverse. First they
lose their jobs, then their health insurance, then their homes, then
their hopes. The encampments are reminiscent of Third World refugee
Often former members of the middle class, tent dwellers’ accounts of
their plight to television cameras have a common theme: “I never
thought this could happen to me.” Unlike the victims of Katrina, the
2005 hurricane that destroyed much of New Orleans, many of the
newly-poor are white.
The FBI says it carried out 1,213,885 criminal background checks on
prospective firearms buyers in January and 1,259,078 in February, jumps
of 28% and 23.3% respectively. Keen demand turned the stocks of
publicly-trade firearms companies like Smith & Wesson (up 80% since
November) and Sturm Ruger (up more than 100%) into shining stars on the
New York Stock Exchange.
There are no statistics on how many guns are bought by people who
think they need them to defend themselves against desperate fellow