These articles were first published in 2014 by The Financialist
With all the hype surrounding the Super Bowl this week, you might assume America spends more money on football than any other sport. Wrong. Target shooters and hunters spent a whopping $18.4 billion in 2011, more than double the National Football League’s revenue of $8.8 billion in the 2011-12 season.
Gun sales have been driven by fears of tougher gun control laws, as well as a shift towards younger and more female shooters, according to the Credit Suisse report “Inventory Building for Firearms, but not Ammo.”
Demand, for example, climbed sharply after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School renewed calls for greater gun control. Also, while background checks don’t directly correlate with sales, it’s notable that the FBI reported 95 percent more background checks on firearms in 2012 than six years prior.
And there’s clearly more interest: record attendance was reported at this month’s Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas, the world’s largest such trade show. Even so, this Sunday most shooters are likely to trade their weapons for a spot in front of the television.
Pope’s Holy Harley to be Auctioned by Bonhams
It's no wonder that Pope Francis has been scoring a lot of points for being cool. He's embraced the sick, driven himself around in a 20-year-old Renault 4, and posed for selfies with teenagers.
Now, his holiness is giving up his Harley Davidson for auction in Paris, and the proceeds will go to charity. He was given the 1,585cc Dyna Super Glide last June to mark the 110th anniversary of the motorcycle brand, and he signed the tank of the vehicle at a special Vatican ceremony.
Bonhams will auction off the bike, which has an estimated value of 12,000 to 15,000 euros, at the Grand Palais on February 6. The funds will go to the charity Caritas Roma, which will use them to renovate the Don Luigi di Liegro hostel and soup kitchen at Rome's Termini railway station.
Clearly, the Pope just moved up yet another notch on the hip meter.
JENS ERIK GOULD
Jens Erik Gould is a political, business and entertainment writer and editor who has reported from a dozen countries for media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio and Bloomberg News.