In the days following the Colorado massacre, which left 12 dead and 58 wounded, gun sales spiked across the country.
In Colorado, background checks were on the rise 41 percent this week; with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation receiving 3,647 background-check requests, about 1,000 more requests than state officials received the week prior to the shooting.
“It’s been insane,” Jake Meyers, an employee at Rocky Mountain Guns and Ammo in Parker, CO, told the Denver Post.
The same can be said for Florida, where the Department of Law Enforcement reported a 10 percent bump in background checks from July 20 to July 23 or in King County, Washington, where the number of concealed carry permit applicants doubled over the same three-day span when compared to last year’s numbers – or really, anywhere one looks.
“We were overwhelmed Saturday,” Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Guns in Charlotte told local reporters. “We had to have 25 people on the counter to help customers. That’s very unusual for this time of year.”
No one should find this trend surprising. It happened after the tragedies at Columbine High School in Colorado, Virginia Tech, and most recently in Tucson, AZ, where sales of handguns increased more than 60 percent, according to FBI data.
There are two theories on why this happens (a) people feel a heightened need to protect themselves, i.e. when seconds count, the police are minutes away, and (b) the looming threat of gun control, or as Greg Wolff, an Arizona gun shop owner, told Bloomberg.com after the rampage in Tucson, “When something like this happens people get worried that the government is going to ban stuff.”
Personally, I think both theories are valid. And I don’t blame people for purchasing a gun for either reason.
As far as the first reason goes, your safety is ultimately your responsibility. I think deep down everyone recognizes this, even pro-gun control advocates. And in the wake of a mass shooting, it’s only natural for people to reexamine their defense posture, to ask questions like, “where am I vulnerable?” “When am I most at risk?”
If purchasing a gun or applying for a concealed carry permit makes one feel safer, then more power to them. I would only caution that it’s one thing to simply own or carry a gun, it’s quite another to actually learn how to shoot one, especially in stressful situations. In short, practice, practice, practice.
With respect to gun control, yes – there is a legitimate reason to fear that the government will “ban stuff.” It has in the past, one will recall the Assault Weapons Ban, and President Obama has been telegraphing his desire to institute some form of federal gun control since he’s been in office (to say nothing of Fast and Furious and his initiative to require border states to report multiple purchases of long guns).
Just yesterday, at a National Urban League Convention, the President said, “A lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals — that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities.” In other words, civilians shouldn’t own certain rifles.
So, yes, there is logic to the “buy it now” mentality, as oppose to “wait till later.” I would just caution people to avoid getting fleeced by greedy sellers or dealers.
(Picture credit: CS Monitor)