Here’s an interesting headline that might have become a Liberty Nation web gem if its implications weren’t so profound: “Gun sales have dropped since Trump’s election, except among people scared of his administration,” reported by none other than the venerable Washington Post. In a meandering piece that is long on anecdotes but short on evidence, the Post draws a correlation between increased threats against minorities and a rise in gun purchases among those communities.
The story certainly paints a convincing narrative. When liberty-loving conservatives felt threatened by the Obama administration, gun sales rose to record numbers. Now that a president who firmly supports the Second Amendment is in office, a new group of citizens feels threatened. Whether due to fear of law enforcement, racists, or the government in Washington, today those victimized minority groups have no choice but to head to their local gun stores to protect themselves. Pretty compelling, right?
Except for the fact that one, this is not a new trend ushered in by President Trump or his basket of deplorables and two, this is not the symptom of a problem; it is a cure for the disease. Three months before Donald Trump was elected, at a time when Hillary Clinton looked sure to sweep into power, The Daily Signal reported a surprisingly similar headline: “Gun Ownership, Concealed-Carry Permits Up Among Women and Minorities.” Read between the lines, and it would not be a stretch to say The Washington Post is trying to retrofit an existing trend to fit their narrative. Apparently, minorities are so scared of our new president and supporters that they have been forced to turn to the vilest thing imaginable to protect themselves: a firearm. Whether true or false, far from being a worrisome trend, an increasing number of gun owners of any background is a boon to freedom. The more people who are willing to exercise their rights to protect liberty, the better chance our society has of holding on to that freedom.
Racism, bigotry and any associated violence are despicable. Those things are never just and are intolerable, yet unfortunately, they do exist in our country. To deny their existence would be to dismiss the legitimate fears of an entire group of Americans. The mere possibility that one could experience a heinous act of hatred is reason enough to protect oneself, using any means available. However, it is not the only justification for purchasing a firearm. Too often in the past, the left has dismissed the fear of societal collapse or an overreaching central government as pathetic paranoia undeserving of empathy. The concerns of any community that the police, or racists, or bigots, or the federal government itself are out to do that group harm are valid fears.
In the end, the accuracy of the Post’s story does not matter in this particular case. Maybe an increased number of minorities are buying weapons out of fear, and maybe not. Regardless, current gun owners outside of these communities should keep an eye out at the shooting range for a new person in the lane next to them, and then take the opportunity to reach out and strike up a conversation. Forging a common bond over the tools that ensure no one can take away our freedom might be exactly what keeps us from ever needing to use them in the first place.