Fear & Loading: Outflanking the Constitution Economically

posted on June 28, 2018

Draft legislation obtained by New Jersey Advance Media indicates New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) will be proposing rate hikes in the cost of gun permits and associated licenses significantly enough to add $1.4 million to the state’s budget. Briebart is reporting the plan includes an eightfold increase in the price of a concealed carry permit—from $50 to $400. With only slightly more than 1,000 issued in the gun-restrictive state, though, the bulk of the money will be milked from the added cost of firearm identification cards, which could go from $5 to $100, handgun permits ($2 to $100) and firearm dealer licenses ($50 to $500).

Gov. Murphy’s ability to usher constitutionally questionable measures through the legislative process was showcased June 13, when he signed six anti-gun bills into law. They included a ban on magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds that makes their possession illegal, with violators facing fines of up to $10,000 and 18 months in jail. Qualifications to secure a carry permit were made even more elusive for economically struggling single parents, or elderly on fixed income, whose incomes often make living in crime-riddled areas unavoidable. 

NRA-ILA is supporting a legal challenge to the magazine ban, but not every front on this attack of the Second Amendment can be stopped through the judicial process. The economics of the firearm industry is also under assault.

Gunsite recently had its credit card processing halted by Intuit, although the situation was remedied with the two firms parting ways after the financial giant agreed to cover the manpower hours required to contact customers and reconstruct refunded payments. Honor Defense ran into a similar situation with Stripe and Intuit. With, 364 million open credit card accounts held by adults in the United States—according to an American Banking Association 2017 estimate—those slides, insertions and number entries are more critical to a firm’s financial health than ever before. Effective July 29, firearm and ammo purchases will no longer be covered by Citi’s once-famed purchase protection program. On March 22, the company also announced its retail clients could no longer sell guns to anyone younger than 21, or handle “high capacity” magazines or bump-style stocks. 

Publicly traded gun companies are vulnerable in a different way to activist shareholders. The first escalation on that front came at the stockholder’s meeting at Ruger, which was fast to respond in steadfast support of the Second Amendment. Smith & Wesson’s parent company—American Outdoor Brands—and Vista Outdoor are also listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

REI’s decision to cease sales of snowboarding/skiing safety items and cookware produced by two of the Vista Outdoor companies, because the latter owns Savage Arms, is yet another approach at undermining the industry’s financial stability. In addition, the number of retailers discontinuing or severely limiting their line of firearms also continues to grow. Dick’s Sporting Goods is one of the latest, joining the likes of Walmart and Internet goliath Amazon.

There’s no denying it’s critical to stay abreast of pending legislation by visiting the NRA/ILA website, and contacting your legislators whenever appropriate. Today, more than ever before, it’s also important to take a close look at what’s in your wallet.


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