We’re still more than a month away from Inauguration Day. The US economy and bailout money remain hot topics amongst the chattering classes. Who should Washington bailout next? Is there a single industry left that doesn’t merit a bailout when the buzzards are circling?
One American industry, however, is experiencing a pre-inauguration “Obama boom” – firearm manufacturing. Several news outlets have reported on a surge in firearm sales prior to and in particular following the election. Guns sales are up 39% in Illinois (maybe they know something…), Oregon retailers are sold out despite prices for desirable weapons tripling, and the FBI says firearm purchase background checks in the U.S. climbed 49 percent the week of the election, compared to the same week last year. http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2008/11/27/news/local/doc492a1d567fc11694570365.txt The only reason sales haven’t continued at such a frenzied pace is a lack of guns available for sale.
The weapon of choice among firearm hoarders is the Evil Black Rifle aka AR-15, followed closely by the AK-47, M-14, and various high-capacity pistols and/or shotguns. Most AR-15 manufacturers are backordered for weeks, and magazines are likewise unavailable. Americans scrambling to buy AR’s and AK’s are just paranoid gun nuts though, right? What possible use could anyone have for an “assault rifle” anyway?
How does one define “gun nut”? Is there a threshold number of guns a person must own before he’s considered a gun nut? Perhaps they can be defined by their literal interpretation of the Second Amendment? Does ownership of a certain class of firearm qualify a person?
Being a libertarian sort who would likely be considered a gun nut by many folks outside of the great state of Texas, I bristle at those questions. I spend a lot of time in the field during hunting season and have accumulated a few guns through the years. I buy ammunition in bulk, so there’s quite a bit of that in the safe as well. I believe the Constitution was written in plain, unambiguous language for a reason. And I’m sure the President Elect would be troubled by some of the weapons I own – despite being a law-abiding citizen who takes firearm safety quite seriously.
So maybe they are “gun nuts”. Is there reason to be paranoid?
Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson probably knows Obama’s record on gun rights as well as anyone, here’s what he had to say:
While a state senator, Obama voted for a bill that would ban nearly every hunting
rifle, shotgun and target rifle owned by Illinois citizens. That same bill
would authorize the state police to raid homes of gun owners to forcibly
confiscate banned guns. Obama supported a bill that would shut down
law-abiding firearm manufacturers including Springfield Armory, Armalite,
Rock River Arms and Les Baer. Obama also voted for a bill that would
prohibit law-abiding citizens from purchasing more than one gun per month.
While a state senator, Obama voted 4 times against legislation that would allow a homeowner to use a firearm in defense of home and family.
Obama’s record on the Second Amendment is what it is. With a Democrat-controlled Congress – always ready to stick a thumb in the eye of the NRA – it’s a pretty safe bet that some sort of legislation restricting firearm sales and ownership will be signed into law. Only a massive backlash ala the most recent immigration bill could forestall it. The likely target, as articulated on Obama’s transition website before being scrubbed, will be so-called assault rifles.
So what? Nobody really needs an AR-15. Unless they’re in New Orleans post-Katrina. Or in LA after the Rodney King verdict. Or besieged by zombies. How many times will the average American live through one of those scenarios?
Nobody really needs an SUV. Nobody really needs a Rolex. Nobody really needs a summer home in the Hamptons. Nobody really needs 50 inch 1080p flat screen television. Nobody really needs season tickets to watch a favorite sports team. There are a myriad of things a law-abiding citizen doesn’t need yet feels compelled to buy in the pursuit of happiness. Unlike the right to bear arms, the items above aren’t enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
A person unfamiliar with guns and with no desire to acquire any familiarity will never understand their appeal. Shooting is fun, challenging, and offers some utility – whether it be meat on the table or defense of one’s home and family. An “assault rifle” in the hands of a responsible, law-abiding citizen is no more dangerous than an automobile. Just like cruising around town in a souped-up ’65 Mustang fastback, “assault rifles” are a heck of a lot of fun.
Only a tiny fraction of the folks who own them hope they ever really need an “assault rifle”. Better to have and not need than need and not have. Ask the Mumbai police.
Any firearm, in the hands of responsible and law-abiding citizens, poses no threat. What is at issue and will be hyped are “dangerous” firearms in the hands of criminals. Beyond the obvious fact that laws in and of themselves won’t stop a determined criminal – murder is punishable by death in Texas yet criminals still kill in the course of committing torts – how often do criminals use “assault rifles”?
If you guessed less than 1% of all gun crimes you win the prize. Rifles are not used frequently by criminals for a simple reason – one quickly learned by the Mooj in Iraq and Afghanistan – they are difficult to conceal. Walking around carrying a rifle will draw undue attention. Not surprisingly eighty-six percent of gun crimes involve hand guns. If God himself could snap his fingers and make every “assault rifle” in the US disappear tomorrow it would have next to no affect on the rate of homicide.
Why then are “assault rifles” so vilified? To the uninitiated they look scary. They conjure up images of soldiers on the battlefield. They’ve been tagged with a misleading moniker: “assault rifle” (true assault rifles are selective fire – semi automatic or fully automatic and already tightly regulated by the ATF). What sensible person could object to keeping “military” rifles off the streets?
In short, a perfect camel’s nose under the tent for those who wish to restrict Second Amendment rights. Abetted by an enthusiastic media, they will feed the population distortions and outright lies to enact the first step towards their gun-free utopia.
While the automakers and Wall Street are calling on Washington hats-in-hands begging for bailout dollars, America’s gun makers are working furiously to respond to customer demand. Booming sales fill their coffers while many industries are hemorrhaging cash. Until our betters in Washington bring down the ban hammer and legislate them into criminals. They won’t be rewarded with bailout dollars like the other victims of unintended legislative consequences; they’ll be jeered and demonized. And nobody will sleep any safer at night.
What will you do when the zombie apocalypse comes?
By Baron Von Ottomatic