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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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