Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Josh Horwitz on the Secret Market Segments of the Gun Manufacturers

Josh Horwitz continues to sound the alarm about the lies and deception of the NRA and NSSF. We talked about his last post in this series, in which he showed how NICS background checks do not equal gun sales, in spite of what we keep hearing.

Basically he's asking a question. If the gun lobby and gun manufacturers are going to such great lengths to conceal the exact numbers of sales, what are they up to? Why all the obfuscation?

The smoke and mirrors game the gun lobby plays with bogus "sales data" allows them to promote the infamous "More Guns, Less Crime" mantra of now-discredited "researcher" (and current Fox News commentator) John Lott while cloaking a far darker truth. Namely, that -- faced with a stagnant customer base that has declined precipitously over the past 35 years -- the gun industry has purposely and continuously manufactured firearms for one of its most important market segments: traffickers and prohibited purchasers (i.e., children, criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, domestic abusers, etc.). And all in the name of profit.
Now, I don't want to say I told you so, but I told you so. In meeting rooms from Smith and Wesson's in Massachusetts to Freedom Arms' in Wyoming you've got eager beaver sales managers calculating the number of guns that will end up in the hands of criminals and passing these requirements to the production teams.

That's how it's done in America, all in the name of freedom and profit.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. You've bought this because, of course, if Josh Horowitz says it, it must be true? Please, we told you what was wrong with his conclusion about gun sales numbers, and you ignored that. This is equally as bogus.

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  2. In Josh’s first piece, he writes:

    The gun lobby doesn't actually provide any gun sales data to the media. The NSSF (the trade association for the gun industry) and the NRA have this data--because gun manufacturers have to understand what their dealers are selling in order to produce the proper amount of product and maximize profits.

    He says the NRA/NSSF has this secret data that they only give to manufactures to tell them how many guns to build (i.e. manufacturing is intended to match sales data otherwise they won’t maximize profits). This was his position a month ago.
    Fast-forward to today, and he says manufacturing data has nothing to do with sales- that the entire industry is colluding to overproduce and stockpile over 12 million firearms over a five year period absorbing collective operating losses that would be over a billion dollars (presumably just to mess with gun control advocates). But to him it all makes sense because they can fool congress into not passing gun control laws which means that people will suddenly start buying those 12 million guns sitting on warehouse shelves. I would think that people who aren’t buying guns would continue to not buy guns as congress doesn’t do anything about guns, but that’s just me.

    Even his example of RV “sales” is actually a wholesale shipping report- not retail sales figures. How is that different than the ATF data? Of course when looking at long term trends these are effectively the same, which he acknowledges by calling it satisfactory sales information. This is because no capitalist enterprise would keep making products that they are not selling- and continue to double down in the face of declining sales. What happens when manufacturers over produce? They go bankrupt- like the link to the auto industry that Josh provided. So where are all the gun manufacturers filing for chapter 11 protection? Where are the bailouts to save jobs?

    Somehow he sticks to his guns that because there isn’t a free published report of the exact number of guns sold in a given year, that there is no proof that gun sales are up. He overlooks NICS trends, manufacturing totals, ACTUALL sales numbers from publicly traded manufacturers, FFL retailers surveys, all the antidotes of increased popularity, even TV shows- all pointing in the same direction. What does he have to show the opposite is true? A phone survey. Sorry Josh, but calling a few thousand people on the phone is not a door-to-door inventory of every firearm in the nation. He should hold himself to the same standard that he asks of the gun industry.

    It is unbelievable the lengths that some people will go to in order to avoid saying they were wrong- or even just shutting up about it.

  3. If Horwitz is correct, then how did the Gallup Poll come up with 47% of households in America that own guns in 2011?

    1. Greg, Did he dispute that 47%? What's that go to do with the issue of purposely manufacturing guns for the criminal market and going to great lengths to cover that up anyway.

    2. MikeB,

      What is the evidence that firearms manufacturers are manufacturing guns for criminals and prohibited purchasers?

    3. Horwitz claims that gun ownership is dropping, and thus, gun manufacturers need to find markets among criminals. The first part of his claim is in doubt, and what evidence is there for the second?

    4. Capn, What would you be doing if you were an executive in a gun manufacturing company trying to compete for market share against aggressive rivals? Would you ignore the fact that a certain percentage of the product ends up in criminal hands? Would you pretend that won't happen to your guns?

      That's my evidence. I thought about it. And you know what, some investigative eager beaver could probably prove it with the numbers, but among honest people arguing about things why would that be necessary? All you have to do is answer my three questions in the first paragraph.

    5. Once again, you make a claim on the basis of bias and assert that evidence is unnecessary. Dog Gone will let you get away with it, I'm sure.

      Now, I only count two questions, and they're in your second paragraph, and they're basically the same question, but here's my answer: A corporation is required to answer to regulatory bodies and to shareholders. It has no duty to tell you anything, especially since you and Horwitz are declared enemies of the industry under consideration.

    6. Mikeb,

      If I were an exec. at a firearm company, I would try to make the best product possible at the best price possible ... in other words deliver the best value possible. Then I would let the chips fall where they may. There is ample opportunity for improvement and the corresponding opportunity to improve market share without having to try and sell firearms to criminals. As for criminals acquiring firearms illegally, that is beyond the control of firearms manufacturers. If I were the exec. I would certainly not make any secret orders or deliveries to criminals. Like I said in a different post, I have firearms in case I have to defend myself from violent criminals ... and I wouldn't want to put more guns in the hands of violent criminals because that would undermine my own personal security strategy. It is along the same lines as an auto manufacturer. It is beyond the control of an auto manufacturer to do anything about the fact that drug dealers or prostitutes might commit criminal acts in cars or vans.

      Now if a firearms manufacturer was doing market research to determine what criminals like or even direct marketing designed to appeal to criminals, that would be immoral and unethical in my opinion. I would never do that if I were an exec. at a company.

  4. Mike, how is that being covered up? How would collective industry sales data show that gun manufactures are diverting product to the criminal market? Please explain. The only way to determine if this is happening is by looking at manufacturing data for individual companies, and you can even see what is bypassing retail and going directly to the criminal market. If you have been paying attention to the debate on this subject, this data is FREE information available to you, me, and Josh Horwitz. The data is even broken down by caliber. These two links have everything you and Josh need to mount a campaign against gun manufacturers. Use it. And if you don’t find anything, put it to rest.


    Oh, and it goes without saying that gun sales are up. But even you are not denying that, just Josh and Japete.

  5. You know there is another possibility. Homes that owned one firearm now own multiple firearms.

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  7. Please keep exposing the NRA for what it really is, "a front for big gun corporations", not a "club for freedom loving, patriotic, Gpd fearing Americans". The main purpose of the NRA is to increase profits, not to make the United States a better place to live. The NRA uses the same tactics as the Tobacco Companies and Big Pharma to increase sales, outright lies and deceptive advertising. A good book that describes how Drug Companies create a market for their drugs is, "Anatomy of an Epidemic" by Robert Whitaker.

  8. Thanks, Marlo, it sounds like we're on the same page.