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Gun Industry Holds a Gun to the Heads of Its Employees

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The gun industry’s response to the call for stricter gun laws after mass murder after mass murder (see today among others) is outrageous and awful.

Lawmakers are proposing, among other things, to limit firearm sales to one per person per month; to require background checks for anyone purchasing ammunition; and, most controversially, to require microstamping, a form of ballistics identification, for all semiautomatic pistols sold in New York State.

Microstamping has been an anathema to gunmakers. Colt has suggested that it might leave Connecticut if legislators there approved microstamping legislation, and, for years, Remington has strenuously opposed the measure in New York State.

A Remington executive, Stephen P. Jackson Jr., wrote to Mr. Cuomo earlier this year and said that the enactment of microstamping could force Remington “to reconsider its commitment to the New York market altogether, rather than spend the astronomical sums of money needed to completely reconfigure our manufacturing and assembly processes.”

Note that if New York passes a microstamping law, Remington is going to have to put this technology into its factories anyway or pull out of the New York market. And we know the latter’s not going to happen. Note as well that it might cost “millions” to put in microstamping technology. But corporations like Remington and Colt are more than happy to pay millions to its corporate executives and give millions to the NRA and other lobbying groups. But I guess it’s far better to destroy what’s the left of the Mohawk Valley economy and create unemployment for thousands instead of just incorporating an entirely reasonable technology that would save lives.

The right says guns don’t kill people. But the corporate executives of Remington and Colt are more than happy to kill indirectly, by opposing legislation that would make it harder for guns to be smuggled to Mexico, by opposing reasonable legislation to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people, by opposing microstamping, and by threatening to leave a community, an act which would create the kind of poverty that leads to drug use, domestic violence, suicide, and murder. At least the former employees of Remington would have easy access to guns in order to take out their rage on their families and neighbors.

…And lest anyone question the connection between unemployment and violence, see here:

2.The Effects of Layoffs. Employers decide whether or not to have layoffs, how many people to lay off, and who will get laid off. Researchers have found that layoffs are ‘contagious’, in the sense that they spread through similarly-situated and socially-connected firms, which appear to model others’ layoff behaviour. There is also consistent evidence that job loss is a significant predictor of reported symptoms of psychological disorders. For instance, being laid off increases the likelihood that an individual will engage in violent behavior by some 600 per cent. One study reported that job displacement increased the death rate of those laid off by about 17 per cent during the following 20 years, so that someone laid off at age 40 would be expected to live 1.5 fewer years than someone not laid off. Downsizing is also associated with negative changes in work behaviour, increased smoking, less spousal support, and twice the rate of absence from work because of sickness.

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  • Wait — it will cost a lot of money to retool the factory for microstamping, but moving to another state is free?

    • The logic burns!

    • Only if said state is regulation-free.

      • mattH

        Moving manufacturing equipment and relocating people is probably more expensive than any regulation for firearms manufacture that they might have to deal with.

  • Cody

    Easy solution – we can Federally implement this program. Good luck moving to Canada/Mexico to make guns.

    Although we know there is a large market for guns in Mexico…

    • Cody

      A different rant, I suppose. All this “You don’t know what it’s like unless you live here” crap really grinds my gears!

      If the plant in your town is threatening to move because of a regulation to save lives, since when is the COMPANY on the right side because they’re threatening to move?

      I don’t think when a terrorists straps a bomb to his chest and threatens to blow you up unless he gets a bunch of prisoners released is often viewed as the hero in the story…

    • Ignorant Texan

      Which is disgustingly under served by their insane and unreasonable restrictions in regards to gun ownership. I mean, look at our lax firearm restrictions and draconian drug laws for an example on how to handle these sorts of things. Which in no way has a causal connection to the current conditions in Mexico.

    • Anonymous

      Easy solution – we can Federally implement this program.

      That’s the easy ‘solution’ for all despots. People like you who myopically try to solve problems without respect to constitutional federalism are the main drivers of the call for a smaller and less oppressive federal government.

  • creature

    Of course, moving the plants would be cheaper- with all the tax-break incentives and state-guaranteed taxpayer-supported loans, of course it would be advantageous. Not to mention the lowered wage expense and the ability to reduce health care and pension packages. It just reaffirms the ‘job creator’ label for the industry.

  • The industry is taking a bold stand in favor of illegal gun trafficking, which it should be noted is not protected under any theory of the Second Amendment (yet).

    • I look forward to the day when using a gun to kill someone is no longer a crime because you are just defending your constitutional rights, etc.

      • Holden Pattern

        Stand your ground! And then it’s OK.[*]

        [*] This offer of varying validity depending on race of shooter and shootee.

    • mark f

      The industry’s theory of the Second Amendment is that illegal gun trafficking is like a square circle.

  • tt

    This argument seems kind of backwards. Do you accuse advocates of much stricter gun control of trying to “destroy what’s the left of the Mohawk Valley economy and create unemployment for thousands”? We need to find ways of employing people which benefit rather than harm society. The death of the gun industry would be a good thing.

    • Yes, why don’t you go up to the Mohawk Valley and tell the people holding on the region’s last industrial jobs that their factories should close because they don’t provide a good product.

      Look, if this was the last gun factory on earth that’s one thing. But the factory is just going to move to South Carolina or Texas.

      • BigHank53

        Virginia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Alabama will be all too happy to prostitute themselves as well.

        • Bill Murray

          South Dakota has had the gun industry as one of its primary economic growth areas targeted by the state government for at least the last 5 years

          • mgmonklewis

            Really? I live in South Dakota, and I’ve never heard that. I’m not saying that you’re wrong or that I’d be surprised, just that I hadn’t heard about it. Is there a website I can check for more information?

            • Sherm

              From the link:

              “And Remington and its competitors are not lacking suitors: in recent years, a number of states, including Alabama, Montana and South Dakota, have sought to persuade gunmakers in the Northeast and Midwest to move their plants to parts of the country with less restrictive gun laws, and, in many cases, a culture that is friendlier toward guns.”

            • Bill Murray

              I too live in SD and my Department at the School of Mines has been very involved in Firearms research and development

              http://www.sdreadytowork.com/Key-Industries-Firearms.aspx

      • mattH

        Both the 2000 and 2007 recessions have seen consolidation within firearm manufacturing. Marlin purchased H&R/NEF in 2000, consolidating headquarters, and Marlin itself was purchased in 2007 by the same investment company that had also purchased Remington, which then closed the Gardner Conn H&R plant, and then in 2010 the Marlin plant in New Haven was closed. The same LLC that owns them bought at least 2 other military and law enforcement centered arms manufacturers at the same time. Kind of rambling here, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bunch more closings over the next few years.

      • Sherm

        Come on, Erik. The laid off workers can take student loans and train for their new economy jobs with courses at herkimer county community college. Industrial jobs are for third world children. Not Americans

    • djw

      Perhaps the death of the gun industry, were such a thing possible, would have benefits that would outweigh the jobs lost in gun manufacture. But I don’t see how that’s here nor there when evaluating the politics of the current situation. Whether gun manufacturers are are successful in manipulating state politics through the threat of job loss is an entirely different question.

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  • wengler

    I imagine the gun industry would be a liability mess if not for ‘sensible’ Republican legislatures shielding them from any and all lawsuits that come their way.

    From a consumer protection standpoint, firearms do as they are designed, and so far every dangerous toxin shipped with children’s toys or every design flaw in a vehicle that could be litigated in court, anything to protect people from the potential lethality of these deadly machines is null and void.

  • rea

    . . . mass murder (see today among others)

    Note: the killer fired 3 shots at a form er co-worker, killing him.

    The cops then opened fire, killing the shooter and wounding 9 bystanders.

    Which tells you something about the use of guns in self-defense . . .

  • DrDick

    But I thought that only government power was coercive? All we have to do is eliminate the government and we will be in an egalitarian paradise.

  • Barry Freed

    But I guess it’s far better to destroy what’s the left of the Mohawk Valley economy and create unemployment for thousands instead of just incorporating an entirely reasonable technology that would save lives.

    How is microstamping going to save lives? Maybe more crimes involving shootings will be solved but I don’t see how it’s going to save many lives.

    • Umm, so you don’t believe that solving and punishing crimes has a deterrent effect on other potential criminals? Some of whose crimes would result in death?

      • Barry Freed

        Umm, not really, no. I can’t see it deterring crimes of passion at all and most criminals are stupid so I don’t think it will deter many convenience store robbers and the like. Smarter ones will of course resort to using one of the 200 million or so guns without microstamps in order to commit their crimes. Or they’ll just steal the guns, microstamped or not.

        I see it as very much like the reasons given behind the use of now ubiquitous security cameras, they don’t really deter crime they just make it more or less easier to solve crimes after they’ve happened.

        It’s a technological solution in search of a problem.

  • Steve

    In a world where you can use a 3-D printer or milling machine to build an M-16, I don’t see how laws are going to encourage anything but a black market.

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