Demand for Guns Creates Own Supply

From the March 31, 1995, statement of Tulane University criminologist James Wright before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary:

My eighth observation, is a theoretical observation from my colleagues in the Department of Economics. Demand creates its own supply. This is sometimes called the First Law of Microeconomics, and it clearly holds whether the commodity in demand is legal or illegal. So long as a demand for some product exists, then there will be profit to be made in satisfying that demand, and therefore the demand for that product will be satisfied. That is only a fancy way of saying that as long as people wish to own guns, be they criminals or average Joes, then guns will be there for them to own.

I think it relevant that, for example, Brazil, manufactures small arms. Brazil makes actually pretty inexpensive, but relatively decent small arms. I think in fundamental respects the question whether we can disarm the American criminal population amounts to asking whether an organized criminal enterprise that successfully imports hundreds of tons of Colombian cocaine into the U.S. market every year would not find the means to illegally import hundreds of tons of handguns from Brazil, if there were some reason to do so, or some profit to be made in so doing. And, if you agree with me that this proposition is more or less self-evidently true, then you will conclude that we will never reduce the supply of firearms to the criminal population by enough to make an appreciable difference.