More Americans Are Buying Guns For Protection - An Investment Opportunity

Introduction

Remember the outrage a few weeks back about the Las Vegas shootings? Again, calls for stricter gun controls were heard. And once again, just as what happened after other tragic US shootings, people lost interest. And quite amazingly, bump stocks — the devices that make a rifle fire like a machine gun — are back on sale. And now the Texas massacre. There will probably be another call for more gun restrictions. And that too will. But there is one activity that continues to gain traction: an increasing number of Americans believe they should own guns for protection. Below, this question is explored with relevant data.

Guns in the US

There is no country in the world where guns are easier to obtain and cheaper than the US. Consequently, there are more guns per capita by far in the US than in any other country.

Table 1. – 20 Countries with Most Guns

Source: GunPolicy.org

Background checks are a reasonably good proxy for gun sales. And at the following figure indicates, background checks are growing rapidly. Gun sellers credit the rise to requests for concealed carry permits and concerns about terrorism.

Source: FBI

Table 2 provides data on both background checks (as a proxy for gun sales in 2016) and a survey of gun ownership by state. Overall, an estimated 29% of Americans own guns and 8% purchased guns in 2016. Not surprisingly, most of the states at the top of the list have relatively weak gun laws – see the State Firearm Law database.

Of course, many hunters have more than one gun. However, it is notable that if one accepts hunting licenses as a proxy for the number of hunters, only 16.5% of gun owners are hunters. Does this mean that already, the vast majority of US gun owners have them for protection?

Table 2. – Guns and Hunters by State

Sources: Injury Protection Journal, FBI, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Further evidence for Americans arming themselves for protection comes from the Pew Research Center:

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Disclosure: I wrote this piece on my own. I have no holdings in the companies mentioned.

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