The gun industry, whose political power once seemed unassailable, shows new signs of coming unraveled. A never-ending series of mass shootings around the country has thwarted the gun industry's best efforts to portray itself as a front-line defender of freedom and liberty. A nation continually horrified by images of bullet-riddled dead people, including first-graders and high school students, apparently no longer buys the firearms industry's myth that guns don't kill people.
United Sporting Companies, a major firearms distributor, announced this week it has gone bankrupt and plans to liquidate. The company, which speculated that a fear-mongering campaign based on a Democrat occupying the White House would boost gun sales, has seen sales plummet in the wake of President Donald Trump's election. The company had borrowed heavily in 2016 to dramatically boost its inventory of guns, assuming Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would win.
Adding to the company's woes was the decision by Dick's Sporting Goods to stop selling military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the aftermath of the 2018 mass shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Walmart also announced a ban on sales of guns to anyone under age 21.
Suddenly, United Sporting was left with a huge inventory of guns and not enough buyers. "The dumping of excess product into the marketplace pushed prices — and margins — even lower," a company statement said. It appears that America, with enough firearms in circulation to put a gun in the hands of every man, woman and child in the country, has finally reached the saturation point.
Adding to the industry's woes is a Supreme Court decision this week to sustain a lower court's ruling that silencers are not protected under the Second Amendment. The court's decision not to hear a case brought by two Kansas men accused of violating a federal law regulating silencers meant that a lower court's ruling against them would remain.
Kansas and seven other conservative-led states had urged the Supreme Court to hear the case, arguing that silencers and other firearms accessories are constitutionally protected. The court's decision calls into question the entire bogus notion that the sale of items such as silencers, bump stocks and high-capacity magazines cannot be regulated. They can, and they must.
The silencer question played in the most recent mass shooting on May 31 in Virginia Beach, Va. Authorities say the gunman was armed with two semi-automatic handguns, a silencer and extended ammunition magazines. The silencer is believed to have made it harder for others to hear gunshots and react to the looming danger.
The court decision and downfall of United Sporting, combined with reported infighting and financial woes suffered by the National Rifle Association, suggest that the time is right for Congress to stand up to the gun lobby and break its stranglehold on sensible gun control bills.
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