“Is the line ready? Ready on the right? Ready on the left? All ready on the firing line! Fire!”
I was the line boss of an Appleseed event two weeks ago, overseeing more than four dozen shooters at the Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RWVA) home range outside Ramsuer, NC. Thirty-eight shooters has signed up for the event prior to November 7.
After the election, the number swelled to 53.
The increased interest is part of a ripple effect being felt across the United States as a direct result of President Obama’s reelection, amid concerns that an unaccountable Obama will use his second term to push for the same sort of punitive gun control he sought while involved in local politics in Chicago. Black Friday gun sales were the largest ever recorded, so overwhelming that the FBI NICS background check crashed twice.
The issue was compounded immediately after the election, when the administration moved to join a renewed debate about making the United States a part of a United Nations Small Arms Treaty, which some shooting rights organizations view as a prelude to gun confiscation.
At roughly the same time, unconfirmed rumors began circulating that anti-gun California Senator Dianne Feinstein was looking to propose a comprehensive ban on semi-automatic firearms, including confiscation of some of the most common firearms in America.
Adding to the toxic mix is the simple truth that much of the American public already distrusts the administration for a number of deadly scandals.
There has been no resolution or rational explanation of the Fast and Furious gun-running plot to arm Mexican narco-terrorists. While the mainstream media continues to try to sweep the entire affair under the proverbial rug, Attorney General Eric Holder is still fighting contempt charges and refusing to provide tens of thousands of pages of documentation demanded by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The administration blamed a filmmaker for the terrorist attack on Benghazi for weeks, and Obama’s abandonment of more than two dozen Americans in Benghazi and allegations that Ambassador Chris Stevens was supplying weapons to Syrian Islamists loyal to al-Qaeda merely deepened suspicions of a president that tens of millions of Americans feel they have no reason to trust.
That distrust has led to a rush on firearms, ammunition, accessories, and training.
Kiran Frampton, owner of Sovereign Guns, maintains a 12,000 square-foot storefront and a significant online presence. He states that sales for Sovereign started escalating on Election Day itself, and quickly ran to “ten times” their normal sales volume in the following days. Even the following weekend — weekends tend to be the busiest times for most gun retailers — saw sales more than double.
Frampton confirms that tactical rifles such as AR and AK pattern rifles were among those purchasers were snapping up in person and via online sales across the nation (“online” gun sales are purchased over the internet, then shipped to local gun shops where purchasers still have to pass background checks before the gun is transferred to the purchaser). Regular capacity magazines for these and similar firearms — purposely mislabeled and attacked by gun prohibitionists as “high capacity” in previous ban attempts — have also been snatched up.
Cope Reynolds, who took out a full-page ad banning Obama voters from entering his gun store, has seen his business boom since his “ban” received national media attention:
“People are saying that I’ve alienated half of our customers,” Reynolds said, laughing. “No, I haven’t. I haven’t alienated any of my customers, because the people who voted for Obama don’t buy guns here. They don’t come here at all. I haven’t alienated. I’ve improved things. I have packages sitting on my desk to be shipped to places like Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Idaho, Nevada and California.”
Online ammunition stores such as LuckyGunner.com and big box retailers like Walmart saw their shelves emptied within hours of the election, with the most common militarily useful calibers — 9mm, .45 ACP, .223 Remington, 5.56 NATO, and 7.62x39mm — sometimes almost doubling in price before being sold out. Distributors have not been able to keep pace with demand, and even retailers that buy hundreds of thousands or even millions of rounds of ammunition at a time have little in reserve. Almost a month after the election, prices are still high, and many preferred loadings for common calibers are still difficult to acquire.
Perhaps even more telling about these times is that the guns that are selling aren’t among those typically targeted by gun bans. Semi-automatic firearms such as AR-15s and AK-pattern rifles are always among the first targeted by gun banners and among the first picked up by gun purchasers worried about possible bans. But other firearms, from .22LR rifles and pistols to revolvers, shotguns, and bolt-action rifles in hunting calibers are also flying off the shelves, suggesting other dynamics are in play.
Sales of pump-action shotguns and handguns — close-in defensive weapons — strongly suggest that citizens do not trust their government to protect them against criminals.
There is more going on that we can easily diagnose, but at the root of it is the fear of a country on the verge of spinning out of control.