Monday, February 14, 2005

On Being a Gun Nut (Part VIII)

Costs of Shooting Today

One issue gun nuts face today is cost. Bill and I pay out a significant part of our disposable income for guns and gear. We buy guns, ammunition, safety equipment, ammunition, gun cases, ammunition, hunting gear, reloading equipment and components, ammunition, books and magazines, magazines that hold ammunition, and ammunition. You might be getting the idea now that ammunition is a major cost.

Arguably, it now costs more to shoot than it used to. One factor is the litigious society we live in. Firearm manufacturers have faced many frivolous suits from anti-gunners. Most of these cases have been dismissed or the courts have found gun makers blameless. Still, we pay costs for defense lawyers and related.

Gun-banners deliberately laid out a course to win in the courts what they couldn’t win through legislated regulations. On page 4 and in the Abstract of this anti-gun scholarly paper states that higher gun prices are a goal of gun litigation. In other words, they would happily price guns out of the reach of many Americans.

Up to now, the anti-gun forces have failed, but gun companies have collectively shelled out millions to fight the suits. These companies are not charities and they pass the costs to the buyer. I have no idea how much of the cost of a new gun is due to litigation (because I was not able to find anything on the Internet).

Since I am a blogger, I will make a seat of the pants estimate and say litigation from all sources (anti-gunners, labor suits, etc.) adds 5% to the price of a new gun (your estimates could be more or less). Let’s say you buy a $500.00 handgun. You are giving up $25.00 of your hard-earned cash mainly because some assclowns sued gun companies.

There is another cost to buy a handgun. The Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937 adds 10% to the cost of handguns and 11% to the cost of ammunition and archery equipment. Actually, the money goes to good causes; wildlife conservation and since 1970 hunter education and target ranges, but it is more cash out of your pocket. In our handgun example, you shelled out $50.00 for the invisible to you Pittman-Robertson tax

Already you’re out $75.00 and we haven’t even touched on sales taxes, profit, labor costs, etc.

Ammunition costs Bill and me an arm and a leg. For instance, we go through a lot of .22 ammunition in the winter for Bullseye shooting. A box of 100 Standard Velocity CCI cartridges costs $5.00 each and 55 cents of that cost is Pittman-Robertson. That’s for the cheap .22 gun fodder. Buying premium-grade hunting cartridges for center-fire rifles and you are paying at a whole lot more than 55 cents.

So, what other costs do Bill and I pay? We reload. It saves money, but only about 35 cents for a box of shotgun shells. It took us about a year to pay off the reloader’s cost and we still have to buy components—gunpowder is surprisingly expensive. Cleaning supplies are yet another cost and so are other accessories such as gun cases, safes, etc.

But, range fees deserve their own paragraph. A local indoor range charges us $14.00 apiece for one hour of shooting. The owner freely admits that a large part of his cost is liability insurance—of course, he passes that on to us too. I can’t blame him, he has to make a profit and feed his family.

We are also gun collectors—the cost for this addiction hobby could be a subject for a whole other post.

Shooting costs money, but so does knitting, hiking, golf, camping, bowling, model airplanes, and any other hobby or sport you could name. I am not happy that some costs are higher than they need to be because of litigation. I support the good that the Pittman-Robertson funds do, but don’t always like paying the extra tax.

It’s our choice to shoot, but I sure wish it were either cheaper or Bill and I were richer.

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