Profits From Selling Guns & Drugs

An article in the Huffington Post in 2012 wrote about the profits the firearms industry in America makes from selling guns and ammunition:

Making and selling guns and ammunition is a lucrative business for U.S. firearms companies, which will earn nearly $1 billion in profit this year, according to the market research firm IBISWorld. -Huffington Post, Dec 12, 2012

This article was originally posted in 2013 after the Sandy Hook massacre by Adam Lanza. Everything here still applies today after Nikolas Cruz’s senseless killings in a Florida school. Early reports indicate that mental illness and possibly psychotropic drugs also played a role in this needless tragedy.

Later in the same article they revised the figures slightly downward:

Guns and ammunition manufacturers will make a projected $993 million in profits on sales of $11.7 billion this year, according to a report issued by the market-research company IBISWorld.

I guess they had to stretch just a tad in the lead of paragraph – “billion” sounds better than “millions.” Nowhere in this article does the author put those projected profits into any sort of reasonable perspective.

More and more young people are being prescribed psychotropic drugs today.
More and more young people are being prescribed drugs today.

Another concern voiced by some in regards to the recent senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary was the possibility that psychotropic drugs might, in a few cases, turn otherwise just seriously mentally ill young boys into remorseless killers playing out a fantasy in a drug induced hallucination.

According to a Huffington Post article:

The number of children and teens taking antipsychotic medications has skyrocketed in recent years, with psychiatrists prescribing the drugs in nearly one-in-three visits with youth, a new study found. -Huffington Post

The drug industry certainly makes a lot more profit than the gun industry as shown in this chart below:

Gun Industry vs. Drug Industry
The drug industry worldwide makes over a 100x more than the gun industry in the U.S.

According to Wikipedia in 2008 the top 19 pharmaceutical pharmaceutical companies  made over $100 billion, a 100 to 1 ratio compared to the gun industry. In fact each of those 19 pharmaceutical companies individually made more than the entire gun industry as a whole.

Drug company profits in 2008 in billion $.
Drug company profits in 2008 in billion $. Every single company listed here makes more in profits in a year than the entire combined firearms industry.

Just to be clear, we are comparing the firearms industry in the U.S. which includes importers of firearms made in other countries (e.g., Glock in Austria) to the worldwide pharmaceutical which all have lobbyists in Washington for their products. Now given the above, how powerful do you think the gun industry as a whole is in Washington compared to the pharmaceutical companies?

The most cited spokesman for the gun industry is undoubtedly the National Rifle Association (NRA). But its power does not primarily come from the gun industry. It comes from the millions and millions of gunowners who support it with annual dues and contributions. It is a true reflection of democracy, a true “voice of the people” in America. Not all of the people, obviously, but a large number of them.

National Rifle Association has power because it represents millions of its members, not because of the powerful firearms industry in Washington.
The National Rifle Association has power because it represents millions of its members who vote, not because of a powerful firearms industry in Washington.

Here is another chart taken from CNN Money for 2009 showing the most profitable industries:

Most profitable industries in 2009
Most profitable industries in 2009

You will not see “guns” or “firearms” or “ammunition” anywhere in the above top 30 most profitable industries. You will see pharmaceuticals as being very profitable, one of the highest in fact.

You have no doubt heard the saying, “Follow the money,” which means that the “Golden Rule” of Washington, D.C. is that, “He who has the gold rules.” If you should learn anything from this it is that gun control legislation in Washington is most likely not stymied by a huge, powerful, and enormously profitable gun industry. That is a myth.

Speaking again of drugs, here is a list of  Documented Side Effects of ADHD Drugs:

Blood pressure changes
Changes in vision or blurred vision
Dizziness or faintness
Heart attack
Increased irritability

Involuntary tics/twitching
Irregular heartbeat
Liver problems
Loss of appetite
Mental/mood changes
Muscle/joint tightness
Painful menstruation
Sexual dysfunction
Slow/difficult speech
Stomach pain
Stunted growth
Sudden death
Suicidal thoughts
Swelling of face or throat
Tourette’s Syndrome
Toxic psychosis
Unusual bleeding/bruising
Unusual sadness/crying
Violent behavior
Weight loss
“Zombie” demeanor

Do you suppose maybe we ought to be investigating the possibility that in some cases these drugs might have something to do with the creation of an Adam Lanza, the psychotic murderer at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut? Or do you suppose an industry with great power in Washington, D.C. may not want a serious investigation to take place?

In the 1950s when I was a child growing up a neighbor might have an M1 Garand battle rifle – firing a far more powerful cartridge than an AR-15 – loaded in his closet. Or he might have an M1 Carbine with a 20 round detachable magazine, also loaded in the closet.  Kids sometimes brought guns to school in those days. There were clubs in schools for rifle marksmanship. In the 1950s and early 1960s you could buy German battle rifles, collected off the WWII battlefields of Europe, by mail order from an ad in the back of a comic book.

Top - M1 Garand full size rifle used in WWII and Korea. Bottom - M1 Carbine replaced handguns for many officers. Note the "high capacity" magazine. Millions of these were sold to civilians since WWII. Why didn't school shootings start in the 1950s with these guns?
Top – M1 Garand full size rifle used in WWII and Korea. Bottom – M1 Carbine replaced handguns for many officers. Note the “high capacity” magazine. Millions of these were sold to civilians since WWII. Why didn’t school shootings start in the 1950s with these guns?

But one thing you did not have in the 1950s and 1960s was a lot of young boys on legally prescribed psychotropic drugs.  One other thing was different too. You didn’t have these mass shootings at schools and malls.

I have read reports that almost all of these killers that we have reliable information on were either on, or withdrawing from a legally prescribed psychotropic drug. We need to find out what possible role some of these drugs may have on a few vulnerable individuals.  We can’t let the powerful drug companies which are far richer and more powerful than the gun industry stop that from happening.

— Some Additional Resrouces —

Top Ten Legal Drugs Linked to Violence

Newtown Shootings: A Caution About Violence and SSRIs

Is it Drugs Not Guns that Cause Violence?

9 Of Top 10 Drugs Linked to Violence Are Among Psychiatry’s Favorites

Many Psychoactive Drugs are Strongly Associated with Violence

List of 66 School Violence involving SSRI drugs

SSRI Stories

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