Retired Associate Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has suggested that it might be time to rethink whether Americans should still have a right to bear arms. Arguments on both sides of this might look at whether the Second Amendment impacts the economy.
There are costs on both sides of this particular issue — although Stevens’ op-ed in the New York Times suggests that overturning the Second Amendment would be “simple.”
The firearms industry’s lobbying power comes from its considerable wealth assets: The guns and ammo industry generated about $13.5 billion in total economic activity in 2015, according to IBIS World.
Indemnification from Lawsuits
However, the firearm and ammunition industry’s revenues goes unchecked in a sense: Pro-gun legislation indemnifies these companies from lawsuits that would otherwise seek damages for survivors of shootings.
A report released by Mother Jones found the annual cost of both fatal and non-fatal gun violence to cost the U.S. to be $229 billion (this figure includes opportunity costs in neighborhoods where shootings have taken place, ranging from declining real estate values to retailers’ unwillingness to open up shop in these areas).
Subtract from that figure the $13.5 billion in economic activity from firearms and ammo and you get a $215.5 billion annual deficit.
More recently, gun control proposals have led to boycotts of businesses on both sides of the issue — gun-control supporters are boycotting businesses that continue to support the National Rifle Association, while pro-gun types are boycotting the companies that have stopped offering NRA members discounts.
Despite everyone’s best intentions, neither side of the boycotts benefits the economy, and they have reportedly cost millions of dollars for businesses on both sides of the gun debate.
So Does the Second Amendment Help or Harm the Economy?
The fact that these shootings have weighed so much on the economy remains a sad irony considering how much money the gun lobby spends on donations to members of Congress who purport to be pro-economy.
While the gun control debate rages on, additional costs in the aftermath of major shooting events include stock analysts lowering their valuations of firearms and ammo companies, as Finance Monthly points out. Those downward revisions only add to motivation for the NRA lobbyists to step up their efforts.
The full cost of shootings spans both tangible and indirect spending — yet all are entirely preventable. And, the longer the debate over gun control drags on, the higher the expenses pile up and negatively impact the economy.
What’s your opinion about the Second Amendment, readers? Do you think overturning it would help or harm the economy?