Depending on who you believe, it was either Hippocrates or Shakespeare who first said, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” With a national emergency underway as the result of an infectious agent spanning the globe, this appears to be an apropos time to consider whether these really are desperate times in which we live.
If gun sales are any indication – a whole lot of Americans think so.
Pulling up to the Shoot Straight Store and Range, it is immediately apparent that something is going on. Vacant parking lots abound, but not here – the lot was full. Once inside, the story was obvious. The manager was meeting customers at the door with a friendly, “What can I do for you?” and when the answer came back that the visitor wanted a firearm, the response was the same: “You’ll need to line up over there on the right.”
Dave, the friendly – if not overworked – manager who would not provide a last name because “media interviews are supposed to go through corporate,” was running on all pistons. Patrons were slowly but surely making their way through the structured chaos of a storefront unmistakably being overrun by customers.
In answer to the questions, “How’s business, and how are ammo sales?” Dave had a one-word answer for both: “Crazy!” Asked when the uptick began, he pointed to March 13, “Friday was really when you could sense the difference in store traffic.” That is, of course, when the White House announced a national emergency concerning COVID-19.
So, who is out there standing in line for a firearm? According to Dave, “I would say at least half of these folks are first time buyers.” While most people were tight-lipped and weren’t thrilled with the presence of a reporter, one man, who we will call Jim because he didn’t want to be identified in a national article, did agree to a few questions. Liberty Nation caught up with him in the parking lot as he was putting the new firearm in the trunk:
LN: Is this your first gun purchase?
LN: Why did you choose now as the time to buy your first firearm?
Jim: I was advised it was a good idea.
LN: Why do you feel it’s a good time to purchase?
Jim: I have a small child and a family that I need to protect.
LN: Did the Coronavirus have anything to do with your decision to buy now?
Jim: It had everything to do with it.
LN: Have you ever owned a firearm before?
Jim: No, never.
LN: Do you know how to handle a firearm?
LN: You might want to take a class.
FBI statistics demonstrate that background checks by potential firearm buyers have been on the uptick thus far in 2020. NICS firearm stats show 500,000 more checks in January of this year than for January of 2019 and just shy of 750,000 more in February of this year than in 2019. The figures for March aren’t yet in, but they are likely to show an even greater increase. Now background checks for firearms don’t mean actual gun sales – but you get the picture.
While national publications have claimed that Asians are going to gun stores in more significant numbers, that wasn’t the case at the shop Liberty Nation visited. “We don’t have a large Asian population here,” Dave said, “but I haven’t noticed more Asians buying, though we do have quite a diverse population that has been buying.” That was clear as one could easily observe blacks and whites entering the building, waiting in line, and entering and exiting the parking lot.
What message does this gun-buying frenzy send at this unique time in U.S. history? It just could be that when things are all carefully buttoned up safe and sound, Americans may be a little suspicious of people with firearms, but when the rubber hits the proverbial road, they are first to “line up on the right” at the local gun shop. This is nothing but good news for those who support the Second Amendment. Still, those of us who have spent a lifetime learning how to handle a firearm properly might want to take care in this atmosphere of so many newbies out there.
As men and women in high numbers are availing themselves of their Second Amendment right, one wonders whether the gun control advocates fully comprehend that stoking fears and declaring national emergencies may result in unintended consequences. And in doing so, are we panicking to the point where we need toilet paper but find ourselves shopping for guns instead?
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.
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