WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Dick’s Sporting Goods issued a profit warning Tuesday, and the biggest concern from management is over golf equipment. But that’s not the only reason the sporting-goods retailer is struggling.
The firm also warned over its hunting division, and on a conference call, management made it clear what’s going on.
Here’s what COO Joe Schmidt told investors: “We had anticipated this category to be below last year as did others in the space but we underestimated the decline. We all knew the significant increase in sales during the past couple of years was temporary and driven by concern for both legislative action that would broadly change our gun laws.”
Put another way: paranoia has its limits as a driver of gun sales. Background checks — a proxy for sales — jumped 19% in 2012 and rose another 8% in 2013, according to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal, Background Check System.
But there’s a different story in 2014. Background checks plummeted by a third in January — and even as some of that decline was weather related, there hasn’t been a catch-up since then. Background checks were up just 1% from February to April. Taken together, background checks are down 9% this year.
Gun homicides in the United States have fallen sharply since peaking in 1993, two studies have found.
The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics said firearms-related homicides had dropped to 11,101 in 2011 from 18,253 - a reduction of 39%.
Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center found gun homicides fell to 3.6 per 100,000 people in 2010 from 7 in 1993.
The figures were released three weeks after US senators rejected proposals to extend background checks on gun sales.
President Barack Obama has campaigned for tighter firearms laws after 26 people died in a school shooting in Connecticut in December.
Both reports found the rate of non-lethal crimes involving guns had also fallen significantly over that period.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics, an office of the justice department, found that non-fatal firearms crimes dropped by 69% from 1.5 million to 467,300 during the period under study.
However, the justice department study also suggested that the percentage of US homicides committed with a firearm had held steady at around 70% between 1993-2011.
To agree with ending this gun show-I’d have to see a correlation proving that ending a gun show where back ground checks and waiting periods are required can possibly reduce gun crime. Or the rate of guns in criminal hands. No one on the Glendale council has shown “good cause” to end the show. Of course it’s an option for the city to allow it or not. But the timing looks like a raw short term political play to me.
The show as a legal and profitable venue is a two way plus for the city and citizens at large. It is providing a safe and regulated environment for gun sales and transfers. There is no gun show loophole in California. We already have universal gun checks.
Dozens of protesters — some with clashing messages — flocked to the Glendale Gun Show on Saturday, both to protest and support what was likely the last, and as it turns out, largest, gun show at the Civic Auditorium.
“People seem to think disarming good people will disarm bad people,” said Temple City resident James Hake, holding a sign supporting the 2nd Amendment. “That’s a mistake.”
Representatives of Occupy Democracy - Pasadena, a local group with ties to the national Occupy movement, showed up for a different reason: to call for stricter gun laws and a ban on gun sales on public property.
But just a third of the booths at the gun show were selling firearms, said Chuck Michel, a legal consultant for the gun show. Vendors also stocked gun accessories, backpacks, Hello Kitty lunch boxes and beef jerky, he said.
Last year, Glendale pocketed roughly $54,000 in parking and rental revenue from three gun shows.
California’s newly proposed gun laws would:
- Ban the possession of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds
- Prevent the future sale, purchase, manufacture, importation, or transfer of any firearms that can accept detachable magazines
- Close the "bullet button" loophole by banning tools that allow the quick changing of gun magazines
- Regulate ammunition sales like the state regulates gun sales. Ammunition dealers would need to be licensed and anyone buying from them would need to obtain a permit and complete a background check.
- Create a 5-cent tax on each bullet purchased, for the purpose of funding crime prevention
- Prevent felons and other adults barred from gun ownership from living in a house that contains any guns
- Prohibit the loaning or sale of a firearm between people who know each other personally
- Take steps to phase out legal possession of assault weapons that were purchased before California outlawed their sale
- Require all firearms owners to take an hours-long gun safety course every year, similar to what the state now requires for obtaining a concealed weapon permit
- Require gun owners to purchase insurance to cover damage they may inflict
- Require CalPERS and CalSTRS, two of the nation's largest pension funds, to divest from companies that make, sell, or market firearms or ammunition
California has already enacted some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws, partly due to its experience with a Sandy-Hook-style massacre: In 1989, a mentally unstable ex-con opened fire with an AK-47-style assault rifle on an elementary school playground in Stockton, killing five schoolchildren and wounding 28 others. The shooting contributed to the passage that year of California’s assault weapons ban.
Mr. Obama renewed his call for Congress to pass a series of measures, including a ban on the manufacture and sale of new assault weapons, limits on high-capacity magazines and an expansion of the criminal background check system that currently covers only about 60 percent of gun sales.
But he openly demonstrated different expectations for the measures as Washington wages a bitterly divisive debate over the role of guns in society.
The president declared “universal background checks” to be supported by a “vast majority of Americans” and called for their quick passage in Congress. “There’s no reason why we can’t get that done,” he told the gathering of law enforcement officials.
But of the potential for a new assault weapons ban, the president said only that it “deserves a vote in Congress because weapons of war have no place on our streets.”
On Monday, White House aides again said the president was still pushing for the three measures, along with changes to the nation’s mental health system. But the president, top lawmakers in Congress and gun-control advocacy organizations appear nervous about the political chances of the assault weapons ban and eager to push for a better background check system.
Any attempt by Congress to enact new restrictions on gun purchases or ownership faces a reality — America is a country in which many people own guns, weapons which will not simply disappear with the wave of a legislative wand.
Aside from any discussion over the Second Amendment, the reality of firearms currently available in the country is stark and certain.
With hundreds of millions of firearms already in the possession of Americans, limiting access to guns or limiting gun sales would be a major enforcement challenge.
Here’s a look at some basic data on gun manufacture, imports, and ownership, as well as data on crime committed by people using guns.
How many guns do Americans own?
According to the Congressional Research Service, in 2009 there were an estimated 310 million firearms in the United States (not including weapons on military bases), of which 114 million were handguns, 110 million were rifles, and 86 million were shotguns. The current population of the United States, according to the Census, is around 314 million.
A separate calculation by the Government Accountability Office estimated that 118 million handguns were available for sale to, or were possessed by, civilians in the United States in 2010.
It’s impossible to know for certain how many guns are in private hands because there is no central firearms registry. The 1986 McClure-Volkmer Act forbids the federal government from establishing any “system of registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearms transactions or distribution.” And the 1993 Brady Act prohibits the establishment of any electronic registry of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions.
How many firearms are manufactured in the United States?
According to the annual statistical report from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in 2010 more than 5.4 million firearms were manufactured in the United States. In the 20 years from 1990 to 2010, an average of 4 million firearms were made in the United States every year.
Vesely says his sister, who was his best friend, is survived by him, another brother and their father.
“Smirnov illegally purchased the .40-caliber handgun he used to kill Jitka from a private seller whom he located through armslist.com, an online gun auction site owned by defendant Armslist, LLC,” the complaint states. “The website’s design facilitates illegal gun sales to unlawful gun buyers with no background checks and no questions asked. armslist.com’s design also encourages and enables users to evade laws that limit the sale of firearms by private gun owners to residents of their own state by enticing prospective buyers to search for and find gun sellers throughout all 50 states. Indeed, the private seller in this case, a resident of Seattle, Washington, noted at the sentencing hearing for his role in Jitka’s death, that: (a) he had easily sold other firearms on armslist.com before selling the gun to Smirnov; (b) Smirnov paid him extra cash for the .40-caliber handgun because he lived out of state and therefore could not purchase the gun legally; and that (c) users of armslist.com could easily evade gun laws with a simple ‘click of a mouse.’ Armslist’s conduct was a proximate cause of Jitka’s death, and it, like Smirnov and the gun seller, must now be held accountable.”
Vesely claims that “a recent undercover investigation by the City of New York of online firearm sellers found that 62 percent of private gun sellers agreed to sell a firearm to a buyer who said that he probably could not pass a background check.
“In the undercover sting, more than half of Armslist’s gun sellers agreed to sell a gun to someone who said he could not pass a background check, in violation of federal law.”
Armslist calls its site a local classifieds list for guns, but “Armslist clearly intended the website primarily for illegal interstate gun sales,” Vesely claims.
Background checks for people wanting to buy guns in Colorado jumped more than 41 percent after Friday morning’s shooting at an Aurora movie theater, and firearms instructors say they’re also seeing increased interest in the training required for a concealed-carry permit.
“It’s been insane,” Jake Meyers, an employee at Rocky Mountain Guns and Ammo in Parker, said Monday.
When he arrived at work Friday morning — just hours after a gunman killed 12 and injured 58 others at the Century Aurora 16 theater — there already were 15 to 20 people waiting outside the store, Meyers said.
He called Monday “probably the busiest Monday all year” and said the basic firearms classes that he and the store’s owner teach are booked solid for the next three weeks, something that hadn’t happened all year.
“A lot of it is people saying, ‘I didn’t think I needed a gun, but now I do,’ ” Meyers said. “When it happens in your backyard, people start reassessing — ‘Hey, I go to the movies.’ “
“Stand Your Ground” laws, which have come under fire as a possible factor in the Florida shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, may be having another impact, too — helping fuel a surge in gun sales.
Gun buyers swamped retailers nationwide last year, prompting a record 16.4 million instant criminal background checks of potential owners, up 14.2 percent from 2010, according to FBI figures. While some buyers may not have followed through with gun purchases or may have been denied, others bought more than one, so background checks are considered a good proxy for sales in the industry.
On Wednesday, gun maker Sturm, Ruger & Co. announced the company was forced to temporarily suspend its acceptance of any new firearms orders due to a barrage of wholesale orders — more than 1 million in 2012 alone. Last year the company shipped a total of 1.1 million firearms. This massive push “exceeds our capacity to rapidly fulfill these orders,” the Connecticut company said in a news release, adding that it expects to resume normal operations by the end of May.
While “no true stats” exist reflecting actual U.S. gun purchases, Ginger Coudens, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms pointed to a report the agency published last year citing a significant spike in gun manufacturing. According to the report, 5.5 million firearms were manufactured in 2009 (the most recent year for which such figures are available) — 1 million more than in 2008, and the highest number since at least 1986. A rise was seen in all four primary categories: pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns.
“There’s a reason: Because they’re selling. They aren’t just sitting on the shelf if they’re being manufactured,” Coudens said.
Relaxed gun laws are likely a factor behind the boom in sales, although not the only reason and perhaps not the primary one, industry experts say.
Many point to fears stoked by gun-rights advocates that President Barack Obama, if elected to a second term, will push legislation to rein in gun ownership.
Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the powerful National Rifle Association, told a meeting of conservatives last month that the president’s gun strategy is “crystal clear,” saying that Obama wants to “get re-elected and, with no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying our firearms’ freedom, erase the Second Amendment.”
Jim Barrett, an analyst at CL King & Associates, an independent investment research firm who tracks the gun industry, said both the Obama factor and gun laws are at play.
“You have conceal-carry laws being enacted by more and more states. That tends to spark an immediate jump in gun ownership in those states,” he said.