As the United States mourns the victims of the Texas school shooting, stocks in gun makers are gaining in value. It was no different in previous rampages. What's going on there?
After every shooting spree in the US, the pattern is the same: families mourn the victims, many Americans are calling for stricter gun laws, while supporters of the gun lobby reject this and promise to be with the relatives with "thoughts and prayers". At the same time, the share prices of the weapons manufacturers are rising on the stock exchange.
It's no different after the recent school shooting in Texas. There, an 18-year-old had murdered at least 18 children and two adults before being killed by officers. Smith's shares
It was similar just over a week ago when a man with an assault rifle opened fire in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing ten people and injuring three others.
Why is that? Investors speculate that many Americans fear gun laws could be tightened after a shooting spree. And before that happens, buy (more) weapons. Increasing demand means higher profits for manufacturers. During Barack Obama's tenure, gun sales soared on the assumption that a Democrat in the White House could actually enforce tougher laws. However, it did not come to that.
It is also currently very unlikely that there will actually be stricter gun laws in the USA. None of the numerous mass murders in recent years has led to this, as conservative politicians have prevented it. They fear that they will then lose the support of the majority of their voters and the large campaign donations from the gun lobby.
However, the threat of stricter laws is not the only reason that could ensure more sales for weapon manufacturers. Many Americans, under the impression of mass shootings, could also buy pistols and rifles to protect themselves from violence. This will bring even more weapons into circulation - a vicious circle.
According to the CDC, more than 45,000 people died in the United States in 2020 from the use of privately owned firearms. More than half of the cases (24,300) were suicides. Overall, that was a quarter more deaths than five years earlier. How many weapons are in circulation in the USA cannot be determined exactly. According to the "Small Arms Survey", based in Switzerland, 390 million firearms were in circulation there in 2018 - with a population of almost 327 million.