October 2, 2017: the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history that claimed the lives of over 50 people and injured more than 500. America is not unused to gun violence, with incidents including the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016 claiming the lives of 49 people, and the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting which claimed the lives of 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7, as well as six adults.
These tragedies lead to a strange phenomenon which drives up the stock prices of guns. Stocks are essentially a small part of a corporation — they are sold in order for the company to raise money to invest in other areas.
The reason these stock prices skyrocket in the aftermath of mass shootings is partly due to increased fear of crime, but also because people fear that laws will be passed in the aftermath of such tragedies that will make the purchases of guns more difficult.
As news of the Las Vegas attack spread, details began to emerge about the shooter, 64-year old Stephen Paddock who apparently killed himself before the police could arrest him. As the news was ongoing, gun stocks began to rise sharply, with Olin Corp (the owners of Winchester ammunition) experiencing a 6% increase in stock prices — an all-time high.
In other words, gun vendors and gun makers directly benefit from the deaths of others as they make huge financial profits. They themselves acknowledge this, with American Outdoor Brands publishing a report in 2017 that stated that the reason for the increase in their firearm stocks was “…driven primarily by the ongoing increased consumer interest in firearms… as well as the impact of news events and the political environment…”
It is also worth mentioning that politics also has an effect on gun stocks. Under President Trump, who has been notoriously outspoken in his defence of guns, people felt that their guns were safe, and consequently, sales of gun prices fell, which also decreased share prices. One possible reason for his strong defence of the Second Amendment is due to the fact that the NRA donated over $36 million to his presidential campaign.
Source: The Independent
The NRA also directly benefits in the aftermath of mass shootings, with more members joining in the fear that their guns will be taken away. This, in turn, leads to the organisation making millions of dollars, which they then use to encourage Republicans to vote against safer gun control laws. After Sandy Hook, the NRA donated a record $2.7 million to Republicans who were debating whether to pass laws that demanded tighter background checks on those who wished to purchase guns. Four months after the shooting, the US Senate voted against the bill.
This troubling trend must be stopped. It must finally be decided whether the defence of the Second Amendment is worth the blood of innocents. The organisations and businesses that profit from death must also be held to account for their role in these tragedies.