Guns are as American as apple pie. But unlike pie, they kill hundreds of innocent American children every year. When it comes to a subject that carries such morbidity and seriousness, being informed is essential. So this Thursday, instead of spotlighting an industry, we’re using our financial fluency tools to spotlight what matters when it comes to guns: the facts.
- Most gun owners support common sense gun reform. Over 85 percent of gun owners support universal background checks, compared to 83 percent of non–gun owners.
- Gun ownership is falling, yet there are more guns being produced than ever before. Back in 1986, slightly less than 50 percent of American households had guns, and new gun production was approximately 3 million units annually. This figure stayed relatively steady until the mid-2000s, when it suddenly skyrocketed. Today, only about 40 percent of households own a gun, and since 2012 the number of new guns appearing each year has risen to over 12 million.
- Only in the US do we react to mass shootings by relaxing gun laws. After the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 elementary school children were killed, 93 laws were passed in 27 different states liberalizing gun laws. These laws permitted citizens to do everything from carry firearms in churches and schools to using guns in self defense while intoxicated. Perhaps consequentially, school gun deaths in the US more than doubled from 17 in the 18 months before Sandy Hook to 41 in the 18 months after.
- The US has ⅓ of the world’s mass shootings. And only 5 percent of the global population. That 5 percent (actually it’s significantly less when you factor in gun ownership rates) however, own more than 40 percent of privately owned guns in the world.
- Your likelihood of being murdered dramatically increases if you live in a state with lax gun laws. This is particularly true if you’re a law enforcement officer. Studies show that cops are far more likely to be killed on duty in pro-gun states.
- While gun homicides command the lion’s share of media attention, suicide is the number one type of gun-related death in the US. Comprising over 60 percent of gun deaths, suicides outnumber homicides, mass shootings, gang violence, and accidents by a long shot.
- Americans’ primary reason for owning a gun is protection. 48 percent cited protection while just 32 percent cited hunting. In 1999, however, 49 percent of Americans said hunting was the main reason they owned a gun, while just 26 percent said protection. Violent crime and murder rates are significantly lower today than they were in 1999.
- The NRA spends more money opposing its opponents than supporting its allies. Which explains why the NRA’s direct political contributions are suspiciously low relative to the amount of political power the group wields. According to UCLA law professor Adam Winkler, “Politicians don’t listen to the NRA simply because they spend money, they listen to the NRA because the NRA’s money is effectively spent swaying voters.”
We must continue to react to the day-to-day news if we are to understand the markets. By surrounding yourself with a greater understanding of the markets, you can continue to step closer to financial fluency.
Social Investing IdeasLockheed Martin – LMT
Lockheed Martin is one of the world’s largest companies of defense, security, and advanced technologies. It continuously tops the government’s list of top contractors, therefore serving as one of the safer options in terms of investments.
Although not directly a guns company, Boeing is the second largest government contractor and a consistent competitor to Lockheed Martin. Boeing’s recent success has been of the largest reasons for the Dow Jones’ surge in the past several years.