While some of the nation’s largest hedge funds and money managers have paused in the wake of Sandy Hook to review their portfolios for exposure to gun stocks, and in some cases begin the process of selling off their gun assets, two hedge funds have done just the opposite. Jeffrey Altman, Founder and Portfolio Manager for Owl Creek Asset Management, and Robert Bishop, of Impala Asset Management, each seized an opportunity in the days following the Sandy Hook Shooting, to purchase millions of shares in gun stocks (1,616,300 shares [valued at $13,642,000] and 893,938 shares [valued at $27,787,000], respectively). Notice of Altman’s and Bishop’s purchases only became available when they disclosed their fund’s 4th Quarter 2012 holdings to the SEC, in February [HERE, and HERE]. Altman’s and Bishop’s intentions, as deduced by peers in asset management, are to turn the fears and murmurations of new gun regulations into profits, as a newly fabricated demand for firearms like the Bushmaster .223 Caliber Assault Rifle, the AR-15 and the Ruger Mini-14—each potentially at risk of regulations—outpaces their supply on shelves at retailers.In my view, to the extent there is a gun massacre conspiracy, it's about creating a vicious cycle where shootings create a political climate where there is some sense to limit gun access (they are never going to be banned in the US), which gets the fears of gun fetishists up that guns will be restricted, thus creating more demands for guns, benefiting the gun manufacturers and getting more guns into the public arena, making it easier for the next gun massacre, etc.
And THIS is just madness, IMO:
"Make Love Loudly. Make War Silently."
So reads an ad for the Advanced Armament Company, which produces silencers for assault weapons. These gadgets, long associated with snipers and Hollywood assassins, represent the latest push by a gun industry seeking new ways to boost sales in a country that is already home to some 310 million civilian firearms.
The silencer industry is "the highest-growth niche of the firearms industry right now," says Josh Waldron, founder and CEO of the Utah-based Silencerco. According to Waldron, the industry has seen 400 to 500 percent growth over the past five years. In 2008, he says, American silencer companies sold about 18,000 units in the United States. In fiscal 2012, "We're gonna do over 110,000."
Further growth, though, is somewhat hampered by the fact that silencers (also called "suppressors") are tightly regulated—even more so than the guns they attach to. Silencers are a Class III weapon regulated under the National Firearms Act, a Prohibition-era law that was designed to curtail or even prohibit the transfer of weapons deemed especially dangerous, like machine guns.
Because of this designation, buying a silencer requires a full FBI background check of the sort undergone by people applying for federal jobs, a process that can take up to eight months, Waldron says, and there's a one-time $200 tax imposed to cover it, which drives up the cost. (The tax was supposed to be a big deterrent to buying NFA weapons in 1934, when the act was implemented, but it hasn't gone up since Al Capone's heyday.) Illegally possessing a silencer can bring mandatory federal jail sentences of up to 10 years and fines up to $250,000. The devices are banned entirely in 11 states, including California and New York, and many states limit their use for hunting and on public lands.
I would think reasonable people can agree that gun silencers should be at least tightly regulated, and not easily available. But of course to read comments, is to learn that people have ALL kinds of strange and seemingly unreasonable views...