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A Fistful of Dollars

February 22nd, 2013 - 9:38 pm

Herschel Smith sent a link to his post on the gun manufacturer boycott of states that are considering various bans on weapons. Smith describes the recommended strategy:

In Gun Companies Holding The States Accountable we discussed a two pronged approach to addressing the anti-gun legislation that is brewing in certain states, New York, Illinois and Colorado being three key locations. The first of the two prongs involves a refusal to sell to law enforcement when the weapons being sought are prohibited to non-law enforcement. At the time, LaRue Tactical, Olympic Arms, Templar Custom and Extreme Firepower had enacted policies against selling to law enforcement in New York.

The companies who’ve showed a willingness to join the boycott are mostly medium sized. Everyone is still waiting to see how the big manufacturers jump. If Smith and Wesson, Glock, Ruger, or Remington join the boycott it will have a dramatic effect. But by the same token if the government can convince the major companies openly declare against the rebels the hand of the gun-ban states will be strengthened.

Assuming you wanted the boycott to succeed how would one do it?

What is going for the boycotters and the boycott breakers is the relative substitutability of firearms. Superficially it seems easy to break the boycott, since if Company A refuses to sell to State X, then State X can buy from Company B, since firearms are to some extent substitutes for each other.

But the public can punish company B for breaking the embargo by transferring their purchases from Company B to Company A. Each side can employ dollars or the threat of witholding dollars to modify the behavior of the gun firms. The key question is whether the rewards to a company of selling to a gun control state is worth the relative loss in market share it may endure from public wrath.

It all depends on market power doesn’t it?

Ironically gun controllers have may have boosted the demand of the public relative to law enforcement by creating a panic buying surge. Forbes reports that after tighter gun control legislation was proposed the sales of firearms went through the roof.

Incredibly, last November the Federal Bureau of Investigation says there were about two million background checks called into The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This was the highest number of prospective gun buyers ever recorded in any single month. The number is up from about 1.5 million in November 2011. Now reports are that gun sales have been brisk since the Sandy Hook murder spree, after which December could be another record month.

Human psychology is a funny thing. You may not be interested in traveling overseas on a vacation, and may never in fact do so left to yourself. But if someone says that you can never travel abroad again, many people will dip into their savings to travel to some foreign destination just because it’s their last chance.

The fear that guns will be banned works the same way.

That increases the bargaining power of the gun buyers vis a vis the state. At high sales volumes, unless the states are planning massive gun buys then a manufacturer could lose much more by incurring the ire of the public than could be offset by any sale to law enforcement. Ironically the challenge to the boycott movement is to use the very fear created by the regulators against them.

But gun sales cannot keep climbing forever (or can they?) thus it becomes important for the boycotters to ‘close’ on their protest while sales to the public are strong. That’s another way of saying boycotts must succeed while they have momentum.

But what is success? Game theorists regard a boycott as successful when it has forced the withdrawal of the ‘egregious act’ which caused it in the first place. Successful boycotts will define their goals so that they are reasonably attainable. The idea would be to get New York State, for example, to back down, but not to the point of humiliation which they may resist. Crafting an acceptable surrender is often the best way to obtain it.

That brings up the point of how to get “Smith and Wesson, Glock, Ruger, or Remington” to join the boycott. One strategy would be to convince them to send a message to the states via a back channel. It is probably easier to convince a company to send a confidential letter to government saying “we are concerned that if we sell your police departments guns it will impact our sales to the public” than to get them to declare in the open that they’ll never sell New York state a gun again. Still the effect of even a confidential letter from one or several major gun companies would be almost the same as taking an ad out in the Washington Post announcing participation in a boycott.

The politicians would know that a major could join the protest. And politicians being who they are would have to weigh whether they could take the chance of screwing up big time by going forward.  Convincing a company to signal the possibility of joining a boycott lowers the cost of a major participating in it  (by making it deniable). It can even be cast as prudential. But at any rate it makes joining much more do-able and increases the likelihood the rebels can enlist the support of a major company.

And it just might work. The Obama administration has a lot of targets in its engagement queue. Gun control was the flavor of the month.  February’s almost over.

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
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The companies have to be careful here. Smith & Wesson threw in with the Clintons during the AWB and it almost put the company out of business. Their sales dropped something like 40% almost immediately. Needless to say, that brain trust is no longer with the company.

I'll be surprised if any of the big three come out publicly, but agree they may be sending back channel signals.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Sparklesalt-- I've had connectivity problems too-- one more reason for keeping my return visits to a minimum.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Off Topic: Connectivity problems

Has anybody else experienced connectivity problems with The Belmont Club after the PJM "upgrade"? Very often I'm not able to connect with the Club directly. Connecting with the PJM main site isn't a problem, but getting the Club often is. I've experimented with combinations of operating systems and browsers: Win7, Win8, OSX, Fedora 18, w/ IE9, Safari, Firefox and Chrome.

No matter what happens, sometimes I connect, often I do not. Anybody else seeing this, or is something screwy on my end?

2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
As the inventor of the Venturi Tube used to fight the Hell Fires of Kuwait

I would note that the top kill for the BP Macondo 252 well was just a subsea version of using a "stinger" to kill the well, a process used repeatedly in Kuwait.

So why did it take so long to kill Macondo 252? Was it because Steven Chu didn't really want to succeed? He admitted to the New York Times that he aborted the operation before the final two steps were taken.

"His role gradually deepened as he assembled a team of scientists from the Department of Energy laboratories, universities and other government agencies. By late May, his confidence had grown and he was giving orders to BP officials, including his demand to stop the top kill effort even though some BP engineers believed it could still succeed.

“A lot of us said ‘don’t start it,’ and he was the one who said ‘stop,’ ” said a BP technician who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the company. “But having done all we had already done, I thought we should have completed the final two operations. He was not keen to listen. BP people said, ‘Let’s try these last two steps,’ but he said, ‘No, stop.’ ”



2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment

Tomorrow the BP Oil Spill trial isscheduled to begin. The high priced litigators are all lined up.

Anybody who watched the Joint Investigation Team hearings knows what a bunch of overpaid, technically illiterate bunch they are. The real heroes of the day were the engineers who stepped into the fray and followed the Presidential directive (stolen from First Daughter Malia, Obama just can't stop following behind the females in his life) to "plug the damn hole".

This being Lenten season, will we see any evidence of Enlightenmnet" among the parties in interest or the press.

Will Chris Matthews, who said he would puke if the heard one more time that Chu was a Nobel Prize W""inning Physicist, see the light?

Will James Carville, who was pleading "We're dying down here", give thanks that someone came to his rescue?

Will Bill Clinton, who was seriously discussing using a nuclear weapon to seal the well, admit that doing so was a really dumb idea, right from the start?

Or will everybody just talk abot the fashions at the Academy Awards red carpet on Sunday night.

The world
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
The world wonders.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
  Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
  Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
  All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
  Noble six hundred!

2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
The Last of the Light Brigade ~Rudyard Kipling
There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade; They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.
They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song. They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four!
They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey; Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."
They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song; And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.
They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toil-bowed back; They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.
The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an' we thought we'd call an' tell.
"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how? You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now." The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn." And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame, Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.
They sent a cheque to the felon that sprang from an Irish bog;
They healed the spavined cab-horse; they housed the homeless dog; And they sent (you may call me a liar), when felon and beast were paid, A cheque, for enough to live on, to the last of the Light Brigade.*
O thirty million English that babble of England's might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made - " And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!

2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
How would a gun manufacturer prohibit sales by gun shops or used gun owners to law enforcement? This creates another middleman and adds a layer of cost—and corruption. If I were the brother of a cop, I’d become a third-party arms dealer, buying from source that won’t sell to my brother, marking up the price, then selling to the government. Win-win.

That’s the way many woman- or minority-owned business work: buy from Office Depot (which doesn’t meet the affirmative cirteria), then sell at a markup to governments so the city council and voters can feel good about themselves. Good racket.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
I know of many shooters who express their loyalty to the manufacturers who support the second amendment; almost as many as those shooters who complain of price gouging. Most ammunition manufacturers are obliged by law to provide product to the military first, before any sales to others. I’m not knowledgeable as to the details, but I would not be surprised if the major arms manufacturers face similar constraints.

It seems to be the collective wisdom that police need Personal Defense Weapons (PDW), also known as ‘Assault Weapons”, but I find it curious that Homeland Security needs these weapons as well. What threat, exactly, does the law enforcement community face that the common citizen manages to avoid? Of course the police are always poking their noses into the affairs of others, so they might need the weapons more often but if they don’t have it the one time they need it, how does that differ from the needs of a citizen?

The last statistic I read claimed that the 70,000 or so allied combatants in Afghanistan consume around 5 million rounds of small arms ammunition per month. In the past year, Homeland Security has contracted to buy 1.6 billion rounds of mostly hand gun ammunition. It would take all our allies in Afghanistan roughly 25 years at their present rate of consumption to use up all the ammunition contracted for by the DHS. If those numbers don’t impress you, consider this: if the DHS had 1 million agents, each of those agents would have to shoot 1,600 rounds to consume the ammunition that has already been ordered.

To be fair, I loaded (made my own) and shot almost 2,000 rounds last summer myself. In two more summers, I’ll have to re-barrel my rifle, but then again, I shoot 50 to 70 rounds per trip to the range and I go to the range three or four times per week. Does the DHS require that its agents practice that much? If they do, why? What threat will the DHS have to respond to within 48 hours that a local citizen won’t have to respond to within a couple of minutes?
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
F---ing comments system.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Whereas I agree that a good deal of the push to buy guns is driven by anticipated scarcity, there is more to it. It isn’t just ‘assault rifles’ [sic] that are flying off the shelves, its EVERYTHING. The Left has been feeling it’s oats of late, and scarcely even pretend that they aren’t pushing the system into crisis and collapse. I get the impression that they are determined to provoke a fight they are certain they can win. What I see is a people preparing for war.

Alas, nobody is getting impeached so long as the Left owns the Senate.

Agree, Alinsky should be a sword that cuts both ways.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
IMPEACHMENT is under the exclusive control of John Boehner and the House Republicans. They can IMPEACH Eric Holder easily, just as they found him GUILTY of CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS.

CONVICTION in under the control of the Senate, led by Harry Reid. So how do we get Eric Holder CONVICTED?

The answer is the Democrat-Republican dictionary

As a preface, remind people why the need such a dictionary.

"It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is".

Conviction (D) - Having been found GUILTY in a court of law.

Bill Clinton has a CONVICTION for perjury.

Conviction (R) - Having a steadfast commitment to one's beliefs.

Rand Paul has the CONVICTION that the Congress has a spending addiction.

Ethos (D)

Ethos (R)

2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Re: impeach vs. conviction - you are correct, and I stand corrected.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
+1!! When you go into a shop and see no ammo available and nothing available in most of the arms with any reputation for quality, this is not a nation buying as consumers. This is a nation preparing for war. You talk to others in the shops and they all say the same things - molon labe. I even spoke at length to an active duty police officer. He is appalled by what is going on. I had never spoken with him before, so I did not feel comfortable asking the question I most wanted answered: "When you are asked to violate the Constitution to confiscate arms or illegally search a residence, what will you do?" Maybe I was afraid of his answer? I fear most that the left is conscientiously working to undermine the legitimacy of our established institutions so that they can grab power through force when chaos erupts. I have been accused of acute paranoia. But I talk to people who were born and raised in communist block countries and they are concerned that America may never have another election, that we are placing a moron as SecDef, a functional idiot as SecState, and a Whabbi convert as CIA Director. It's through the rabbit hole time.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Alas, nobody is gonna get impeached; the Left owns the Senate.

Alinskyite tactics will work, if you work them.

Whereas I agree that a good deal of the push to buy guns is driven by anticipated scarcity, there is more to it. It isn’t just ‘assault rifles’ [sic] that are flying off the shelves, its EVERYTHING. The Left has been feeling it’s oats of late, and scarcely even pretend that they aren’t pushing the system into crisis and collapse. I get the impression that they are determined to provoke a fight they are certain they can win. What I see is a people preparing for war.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
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