Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Guns or Gold?

To the left and the popular media gun owners are a blood lustful and irrational lot, thuggish, and low brow. Could it be that they are the most astute among us? Recently a man I know only slightly mentioned that he owned 12 handguns and thought he had purchased number 13 but the sale was still pending as the seller had yet to make the final commitment. That's crazy you say. No one needs 13 handguns for self defense. That is especially true in this man's case as he lives in a tiny rural community-just a half of dozen or so homes clustered around a century old Catholic church. As for being thuggish or low brow he is neither. Were he a younger man we would call him an altar boy. This good fellow is a member of an honor guard organized by, I believe, the American Legion that causes him to attend 4 or 5 funeral every week. His group of volunteers provides the military ceremony due every veteran whose family requests it. A salute is fired and the flag that draped the coffin is folded and presented to the widow. In other words he in no way resembles the crude caricature of a gun owner but rather a kind and gentlemanly grandfather who weekly spends 10 to 12 hours fulfilling the Seventh Corporeal Work of Mercy namely to bury the dead.
I don't own a lot of weaponry. I still have the .22 single shot that I bought at Sears when I was 15, no questions asked, and I have still have a shotgun and a semi-automatic .22 caliber squirrel rifle collecting dust but guns are not high on my preference list. Why would any sane person purchase 13 handguns? Because they are a damn good investment. What other consumer durable actually appreciates with age? A quick online check for a model 1913 .45 automatic showed this auction were the reserve had not been met even though $1,000 had been bid. It can be purchased for $2,000. This was the standard military sidearm until it was replaced by the 9 mm in the 1970's There must have been a million of them manufactured but obsolescence is a minor factor with firearms. So how much will an Ipad or an Android Razor be worth 100 years from now? An I Phone 1 that was released in 2007 can be had on Ebay for the princely sum of $41, down a bit from the original price of $599.
So if there a 100 million firearms in the hands of the American public who is to blame? Many on the right credit Eric Holder and Barack Obama for the escalation in gun ownership but I'm inclined to give the credit to Ben Bernanke whose idiotic monetary policy coincides with Holder's and Obama's ascent to power and affinity for scaring the average citizen. The average gun owner may not think in terms of investing but those who pay attention to gun prices have the good sense to know that their spare cash will not earn them bus fare in a money market account or a bank cd while there is a good chance of beating inflation with an AR-15. There is an urge to buy before prices go up. An automobile that loses a third of its value in the first 2 years and appliances that have a projected life of 7 years don't fulfill the role as a store of value as do firearms. Some may argue that gold bars in a safety deposit box beats inflation and in the short run they maybe right but  it's hard to sell gold on the spur of the moment and there are transaction costs and while I would rather see Glen Beck running the Federal Reserve than Ben Bernanke, I like the gun owners, remain skeptical of gold.
In my final analysis the only consumer durable that would serve as a store of value is a good rifle, shotgun, or handgun.

No comments: