Surge in June background checks reveals gun rights best strategy

As expected, FBI director, James Comey, has decided that no charges will be filed against Hillary Clinton over her questionable judgement regarding e-mail.  He did provide the Republican Party a promising set of advertising during the general election cycle, saying that her behavior was “extremely careless.”  What Democrats will do with the new slogan, “At least she wasn’t a called a criminal by the FBI!” remains to be seen, but the last viable obstruction has been cleared to Clinton’s nomination later this month.

In the good news column, June 2016 posted record numbers of background checks, approaching 2.2 million, several hundred thousand checks above the usual figures for that month.  Background checks are not a perfect stand-in for gun purchases, but they’re a reasonable approximation, and June’s checks matched those typically seen only during the holidays in December.

As discussed by The New York Times article, “What Happens After Calls for New Gun Restrictions? Sales Go Up,” what happened with gun sales in June was predictable.  When a high-profile shooting occurs, Americans go out and buy guns.  When new gun control laws are proposed, Americans buy more guns.  When a candidate known for supporting gun control gets elected or looks likely to be elected, we buy even more guns.

To advocates of more onerous gun regulation, this reaction is called panic buying—when such people are pretending to be polite.  Is there any truth to that claim?

To be valid, the buying would have to be an irrational response to something that isn’t being discussed.  Do I have to remind everyone that yes, indeed, there are calls to ban guns?  Despite the knee-jerk assertions offered by so many advocates of new controls, bans on guns are being discussed by ordinary citizens, by commentators in the media, and by leaders of the Democratic Party.  The claim that no one is coming for our guns would be laughable if it weren’t for the reality of what anti-rights advocates would do, given free rein.

But the larger point to consider is the effect of gun buying.  As the Times article acknowledges, “The dynamic [of buying after a shooting or a call for new laws] shows a Catch-22 for gun control proponents: Pushing for new restrictions can lead to an influx of new guns.”  What is being admitted there is that the more guns we buy, the harder it is to impose bans or greater restrictions.  Confiscation worked to some measure in Australia because the percentage of gun owners was much smaller and controls had been much tighter before the new laws in 1997.  Britain has had almost a hundred years of strict laws.  By contrast, most of America has been blessed with freedom, and even our worst states are well behind the violations of Oz or the United Kingdom.

The number of guns currently owned by Americans is quoted at 300 million, though figures I’ve seen put that number closer to 400 million.  Members of the gun community have recommendations about guns to buy in anticipation of changes in the law, but more important than that is getting any of our friends and family who are legally allowed to become gun owners if they aren’t already.  Imagine this country with half a billion guns in the hands of half of our population.  That’s an achievable goal, one that would put gun rights in a much more secure position.

I’m frequently accused of being a shill for the gun industry by supporters of gun control.  To them, writing commentary for a gun magazine probably is enough to earn that label, but I don’t work for any gun maker.  But today, I am telling my readers to buy guns.  Get good people around you to buy guns.  Buy at licensed dealers, and buy from private sellers.  Send a message to our would-be leaders that we will not be disarmed, nor will we be treated as second-class citizens.

And then go out to the range and get some practice with those guns.  Trying out a gun you haven’t fired before is a fine way to spend an afternoon.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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