Here we go again. Four years after then-Vice President Joe Biden said, “Our enemy is the gun manufacturers,” gun control advocates are still trying to convince Americans that violent crime results from law-abiding businesses providing a constitutionally-protected product under exacting government scrutiny. Amidst the gun prohibition lobby’s never-ending – and usually illegal – campaign of harassing lawsuits, Everytown has now upped the ante with its new “research” effort, “Inside the Gun Shop.” The point is not to shed understanding on America’s regulated firearm industry, however, but to impugn and dox the businesses that make the Second Amendment possible.
Everytown uses the report to insinuate that the real problem behind firearm-related violence in America is that greedy, profit-motivated businesses manufacture and sell guns without scruples or effective oversight. The demonization of guns and businesses is no doubt a double sop to the organization’s left-leaning audience, which is often as eager to blame Capitalism as guns for the nation’s woes. It’s also ironic, given that Everytown is funded almost entirely by billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg, who made his fortune by providing technology and information services to Wall Street, the better to enable its supposedly rapacious financial exploitation. As CNN once wrote, “Wall Street as we know it today wouldn’t exist without [Bloomberg’s] innovations.”
Bloomberg would undoubtedly agree that economic theory and common experience establish that making something more expensive reduces demand for it. Thus, an ongoing strategy of the anti-gun movement is to advocate for piling as many regulations and requirements on top of the firearm industry as possible to drive up the prices of the industry’s products. This, eventually, would make firearms so expensive for the consumer as to price many people out of the market. “Inside the Gun Shop” accordingly advocates for “[d]oubling the cost of an FFL” and mandating security, inventory, and personnel practices that would make manufacturing and selling guns economically unfeasible for many, not to mention unaffordable for their customers.
But the report goes even further, publishing a searchable map of licensed gun sellers – including a filter that sorts “residential” from “commercial” licensees – so its gun-hating readers can know exactly where to direct their ire and who to complain about to local officialdom. Yet, as the report itself acknowledges, most of these businesses are run out of private residences and account for a very small volume of the overall gun sales in America (90% of dealers are responsible for only 16.5% of sales, according to Everytown’s figures).
The point of “outing” them in an easily searchable website is to make them a figurative and literal target. Yet this applies not just to bigoted gun control advocates but to thieves who might find a house with a stock of new guns an attractive target for burglary. This puts a lie to the report’s supposed concern for public safety. Indeed, it actually creates a public safety hazard.
But such is the unscrupulous, scorched-earth character of modern gun control advocacy. As ever with single-minded zealots, the ends justify the means.
There is, however, a simple response to the report’s claims. It’s the criminals, stupid.
Tackling gun crime from the lawful supply side misallocates blame and burdens the livelihood and liberties of honest people, while giving armed criminals (who ignore and operate outside of the law) an advantage. None of this is a surprise coming from Everytown, however, which also has a side hustle disparaging the police.
“Inside the Gun Shop” also takes the reader inside the disordered thinking of gun control advocates, and its premises and recommendations should be rejected.