Editor’s Note: As you know, Liberal Resistance is open to the expression of all points of view, so long as they are responsible and progressive. The following article was written Jay Chambers, who is a responsible gun owner who opposes what he calls “gun lunatics.” Here, he looks at how the tension with Iran may impact gun ownership in the United States.
Regardless of why you might be curious about this, the answer to the headline question depends on who will be affected.
Will the situation with Iran affect American consumer gun sales? Most likely not much.
Will the situation with Iran affect gun sales for American firearm manufacturers? Quite possibly.
So, let’s talk about these two questions for those who aren’t satisfied with short answers. We’ll start with the simplest explanation.
How will the situation with Iran affect gun sales for American consumers?
The experience of buying a gun won’t change. External laws and conflicts usually have very little effect on that. It’s the domestic laws and conflicts that we have to worry about.
However, there might be some effect on the availability and prices of firearms and ammunition, emphasis on “might.” Nothing is guaranteed anything here.
But U.S. manufacturers will probably stop selling guns and ammunition to anyone in Iran. And that stop in sales might extend to Iran’s allies.
That means more supply for U.S. consumers. Companies may reduce their prices to help keep their stock moving.
It’s important to reiterate that this is pure conjecture. It’s difficult to say how much market volume comes from sales to Iran, Iranian companies, and Iran’s allies. Much of that data is kept under tight wraps.
And, the relationship between the U.S. and Iran wasn’t the best before. So, it’s entirely possible—maybe probable—that there will be absolutely zero effect on prices or availability for American consumers.
But it can be fun to speculate about.
In terms of volume from consumer sales, there might be a small increase. There are enough people who want to be prepared for the World War III apocalypse that there may be a small uptick in gun sales, nationwide.
However, it’s unlikely to be a significant rise in sales. Most people—even among gun owners—aren’t preppers. Generally speaking, people have better things to do with their money than stock up for a conflict that most likely won’t spill into the continental United States.
Some may claim that they bought a new gun to prepare for a potential fight with Iran. But most of these people probably just wanted an excuse to buy another gun.
How will the situation with Iran affect gun sales for American firearm manufacturers?
The situation could have a much more significant effect on sales for manufacturers.
Firearm or ammunition contracts with entities in Iran or allied nations may be affected by sanctions or open conflict, if it occurs. Obviously, this would only be an issue for companies with international interests in Iran and the middle east.
However, if there is an actual conflict in Iran, the effect could be the opposite for some companies.
Any time there’s an actual war, it presents opportunities for companies to sell ammunition, firearms, and equipment to both government agencies and private enterprises that support military operations.
So, if fighting does occur—we don’t know if it will, but anything is possible with Trump at the helm—it could have a positive effect on gun sales for manufacturers. That’s just because there will be more demand for firearms and ammunition.
It happened when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started in 2003, a lot of companies picked up quite a bit of new business. The same thing would likely happen if a fresh fight started with Iran, though the increase in business probably wouldn’t be quite as sharp. Many of the supply contracts are already in place because the War on Terror has been going on for nearly two decades.
So, many of the current suppliers would likely get the lion’s share of the new business. But the demand for gear would still go up.
It’s hard to say how the change in demand might affect your favorite companies. But there’s potential for companies to benefit from a pitched conflict with Iran or even just an increase in readiness in the United States and allied nations.
Why does this matter?
All of this won’t really matter to gun buyers or anyone else, since the increase in gun sales will likely be negligible. And people will be able to get gear just as easily as before.
However, investors may be interested in the potential impact on companies. Whenever there’s an active or potential conflict involving the United States, usually some companies find ways to benefit.
And the effect on stock value for these companies can be greater than the rise in business would suggest. Government contracts can be extremely valuable. So, acquiring a new federal contract can cause share values to go up, even if the contract is small (in terms of government contracts).
Profiting from wars is bad. But companies do it all the time, whether we like it or not. And observant investors who are less concerned with the morality of their investments may be able to turn their own profit.
The rest of us probably won’t notice any effect on gun sales from the situation with Iran, if there is any significant effect. That may not be the most exciting conclusion. But it’s the most realistic conclusion. Carry on.