How Patents Tell the Tale of the Booming U.S. Gun Market

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Paul M. Barrett
December 02, 2013

Here’s my favorite gun-nerd dispatch in quite a while, courtesy of the eagle-eye intellectual-property mavens at Bloomberg News:

“Gunmakers such as Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (SWHC) and Sturm, Ruger & Co. (RGR) are boosting firearms sales by building weapons that are more accurate and easier to use, with gun-related U.S. patents at a 35-year high.

“Demand is growing as more states allow people to carry concealed weapons and lawmakers discuss limiting sales after mass shootings at public venues like schools and movie theaters. Ownership is rising among women and the elderly. Manufacturers are competing for sales with improvements such as magazines that increase a bullet’s accuracy or are lower in cost. Of 6,077 patents issued since 1977 in the firearms class, 19 percent were in the past four years, with a record 370 issued last year, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”

Gun-control advocates often marvel and/or cringe at what they see as the National Rifle Association’s ability to promote wider gun ownership even in the face of atrocities such as the 2012 Newtown (Conn.) elementary school massacre. Surely the NRA is a political powerhouse worthy of study. Equally important in understanding American gun culture, though, is the underlying, undying devotion to firearms felt by a significant minority of the population.

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This article was posted: Monday, December 2, 2013 at 10:57 am

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