By Cat Spencer and Kassi Hall
As guns become a more divisive issue and the frequency of news reports is on the rise, it becomes more important to analyze the rate of personal consumption of guns and ammunition. As more guns have entered the market, price has also been on the rise. The Personal Consumption Expenditures on durable goods like sporting equipment, supplies, guns and ammunition remained low until around 1970, when they began increasing steadily and then sharply beginning around 1990. Despite a dip in consumption during the Great Recession, the consumption of these durable goods has only continued to increase rapidly. In 2017, a record $74.814 billion increasing by almost $20 billion in only 10 years.
Analyzing the Producer Price Index in Small Arms Ammunition Manufacturing combined with the Personal Consumption Expenditure graph displays how, despite the fact that the prices for ammunition are continually rising, even when the consumption of these goods saw a downturn during the Great Recession, prices for ammunition increased. While the rate of increase was not as significant as during non-recessional times, they increased nonetheless. As demand has increased, so too has the price of these items, likely leading to a more lucrative market and more companies entering the field, clear with the emergence of gun shows and pop-up markets and the entrance of gun supply sections in national chains like WalMart.
With the political climate of the times and walkouts being held by students all around the country, it is interesting to see how gun rates have increased in recent years. Especially as mass shootings and school shootings have increased, so too has the consumption of guns, ammunition, and supplies. As time goes on, and gun reform policies come to the table for Congress, how these rates change will be extremely interesting. As the consumption of durable goods like guns and ammunition have increased, it is clear that the prices (shown by the PPI graph for small arms ammunition) have risen steadily to keep up with high demand. The easiest explanation for this increase in demand would be that proponents of the argument that we must arm ourselves in order to protect ourselves from these shootings are increasing the amount of guns that they’re purchasing. Though it is difficult to pinpoint what purchases are contributing to this increase in consumption, it is clear that the increase in mass shooting incidents is in no way decreasing the consumption of guns and ammunition.