Media Matters has put together an interesting report on how the right wing-driven gun bubble has burst. Basically, there was a feeding frenzy after Obama was elected, and paranoid white men around the country had to buy some bigger and louder phallic symbols to stave off anxieties caused by the scary new President. Now that they realize he was elected President and isn’t actually breaking into their houses, they’re chilling out and buying fewer guns. That, or they have finally hit saturation.
Just kidding. You can never have too many steel objects of phallic reassurance around. It’s either that or grabbing your crotch every two seconds to make sure it’s still there.
What was especially interesting in the post was how the gun manufacturers were completely upfront in their reports on diminished sales on what their main sales tactic is, which is to gin up irrational fears to sell guns. Take this quote from Smith and Wesson’s report:
The consumer environment with the fire arms industry appears to have returned to levels no longer driven by fear of increased gun control or political uncertainty. This is supported by our recent research which shows that consumer purchasing today is driven primarily by personal protection and shooting sports. Political concerns are now a distant fourth. This is reflected in our current sales in most firearms categories, which are lower than the record sales last year for both the industry and our company.
“Political concerns” might be the best euphemism of the day. But it’s good to know that paranoia as a sales technique may have built-in limits. What is interesting is that the gun industry is, like the fast food industry, basically working under the assumption that they have tapped out the potential customer base and now have to increase sales per customer. In other words, they aren’t getting new customers, so they have to get the existing ones to buy more. Simply staying at your current sales level instead of always growing is not acceptable in capitalism, which is always its fatal flaw. Once expansion isn’t possible by honest means, dishonest ones have to come in to play. That’s why bubbles are created, basically—that’s one major reason the housing bubble happened, because the “always growing” mandate put finance people in this situation where they had to start cutting corners. For fast food, it’s a matter of getting people to eat more and more. And with guns, it’s about stoking paranoia so their already existing customer base thinks that owning, say, two dozen guns is simply not enough but they must have more.