NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Threats Against Gun Ownership Boost Prices and Sales

July 2, 1999

Gun manufacturers are in the process of raising prices, blaming the costs of defending against a rash of lawsuits by municipalities. But knowledgeable observers say another significant factor is strong demand fueled by fears that gun- control laws will make it more difficult to purchase firearms in the future.

  • Most major gun makers historically have raised prices by 1 percent to 2 percent annually.
  • But that pattern ended in 1995, when gun sales entered a three-year slump.
  • This month, however, manufacturers are boosting prices by 3 percent to 7 percent.
  • While gun-makers haven't yet had to pay out huge amounts in legal bills to defend against the 23 municipal suits, the price hikes suggest the industry is preparing itself economically for when the bills come due.

The price increases affect not only private purchasers but government entities such as police departments as well.

Earlier this year, some manufacturers and wholesalers agreed to pool their resources, contributing 1 percent of sales to a general legal-defense account known as the "Heritage Fund."

Source: Vanessa O'Connell, "Blaming Suits, Gun Industry Boosts Prices," Wall Street Journal, July 2, 1999.


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