In an October 19 op-ed, UCLA law professor Adam Winkler suggested the NRA’s demise is “inevitable” because Americans feel safer than they did in the 1970s and 80s.
Writing in The Washington Post, Winkler described how the NRA shifted from a hunting focus to a self-defense focus in the 1970s. The shift provided a boon for the NRA and “easily found an audience” during “the 1970s and 80s, when crime rates were skyrocketing.” But Winkler claims crime is diminishing now and, so too, the need for the NRA and its emphasis on self-defense.
His argument is hard to take seriously in light of two things: skyrocketing homicide rates in many parts of the country and a booming gun industry that is focused more and more on manufacturing light, compact handguns for self-defense.
Breitbart News previously reported that gun crime is skyrocketing in Chicago, and the Chicago Tribune reports there have been 2,439 shooting victims this year alone in that city. Now, if Chicago were an isolated example, that would be one thing, but it is not. Instead, such crime is also surging in Baltimore, Houston, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.
For example, in August USA Today showed the “number of murders in 2015″ was up by more than 30 percent over the previous year in Baltimore and up at least that much or more in New Orleans and St. Louis. And the Baltimore Sun highlighted that “a rising number of homicides have been recorded this year in [the] cities… [of] Chicago (up 18 percent from last year), Milwaukee (up 117 percent), Houston (up 36 percent)… and Philadelphia (up 7 percent).”
Seattle belongs to that list as well. Shootings in that city through July 20 were up “24 percent” over 2014 and a “40 percent” increase over 2013.
And consider what those who fight crime for a living are experiencing. The FBI shows that in 2014 alone there were 48,315 assaults on police officers in the line of duty. Nearly 30 percent of the officers who were assaulted sustained injury.
Taken together, these examples represent an unconscionable amount of violence and certainly do not make Americans feel safe. This is evident from the unprecedented growth in number of concealed carry permits obtained/maintained during the last eight years. In July the Crime Prevention Research Center reported a rise from “4.6 million” concealed permit holders in 2007 to over “12.8 million” now. Gun manufacturing stocks are skyrocketing as gun makers work to make their guns fit the needs of these permit holders.
KSL reports that “Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger stocks have given investors 300 percent gains in the past five years” alone. Not surprisingly, Smith & Wesson has one of the most popular lines of concealed carry handguns in the world with its M&P pistols and Ruger as well, with polymer revolvers that are perfect for concealed carry.
The bottom line–the surge in concealed carry permits and the massive financials of the gun industry stand as proof that a large portion of Americans are extremely focused on self-defense. It is fair to say that a great number of these Americans will be joining the NRA for the first time or paying their annual dues as always when that time rolls around.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.