When speaking to my Austrian cousins and their friends I am frequently asked how it is possible for gun-fueled massacres to occur in the U.S. if the vast majority of Americans want gun control. I must then go through the tedious process of explaining how a rich and disciplined minority can defeat the wishes of a large fragmented majority. Despite my best efforts, they still shake their heads and mumble something about those crazy American cowboys.

You can imagine my chagrin when I recently learned that in 2016 foreign firms’ share of American firearms sales were about 33%. Of those sales, three-quarters of the 3.7 million imported handguns came from Europe. 

Of those, the Austrian manufacturer of pistols sold us 1.3 million Glocks. In 2016 this same manufacturer contributed over $100,000 to the NRA to lobby against gun regulation. 

Beretta of Italy relies on America for over half of its revenues. Over the years, Beretta has donated more than $1 million to NRA affiliates, and has earned from them the prestigious “ring of freedom” designation. 

In 2016, Sig Sauer, the German-Swiss firearms manufacturer accounted for 12.3% of all U.S. pistol sales. FN Herstal, a Belgium small arms manufacturer has moved to South Carolina and is shifting production from rifles to pistols. 

It seems that while Europeans bemoan the crazy American addiction to firearms, they don’t mind profiting from it.

Al Popowits

River Forest

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