Reply to another “online sales are evil” post on Bearing Arms

I posted this as a comment, but I’m putting it here as well for posterity. The below is in response to this article.

Hm…Every time I see one of these pleas for us to stop buying online it comes from someone who works in or owns a brick and mortar gun store.

Wonder why that would be?

Here’s a thought…how about opening your own website and selling ammo online yourself? Maybe then you can get your sales volume up enough to rate higher in the supply pecking order. Especially if you refrain from the “price gouging” that you decry and sell your ammo far cheaper than anyone else.

Of course if you do that, you’ll never have any stock on hand because it will sell out as soon as you get it in.

Here’s the bottom line: prices are a form of communication. High prices increase profits per unit sold. High profits per unit sold encourages new investments into the industry so others can get their piece of the pie…and encourages existing producers to increase production.

The prices are as high as they are because there are people willing to pay those prices. Enough people, in fact, that even with the ridiculous prices right now, most retailers shelves empty out as fast as they can fill them. That means that the prices aren’t too high because the demand is very high.

The only thing that will alleviate this situation is for either the demand to go down (which I don’t see happening any time soon) or the supply to go up. It will take time for the supply to go up. New production lines have to be created and brought online, new employees need to be hired and trained, in some case new factories have to be built from the ground up.

Guess what pays for all that increased production? Profits from high prices.

Price controls do not work. Ask Venezuela. The only thing they do is exacerbate and prolong the shortage. If the companies making the product can’t increase profits by increasing production, why would they?

Producing ammunition (or any other product) is not a community service and it’s not a charity, it’s a business. The people who run those businesses would be guilty of malfeasance if they didn’t do everything in their power to maximize the profits for their shareholders. That’s what businesses are for.

The brick and mortar gun shop owner complaining about online sales is like the buggy whip salesmen begging their customers not to buy one of those newfangled cars. Adapt or die. That’s the way the world works. If you don’t like free markets, I’m sure Venezuela would be happy to take you in as an immigrant. Heck, you’d be mind-blowingly wealthy there and could hire people to stand in the bread lines for you.


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