Yesterday’s mail included a letter from the Brady Campaign asking for money to fight gun violence, and a letter from the National Rifle Association asking for money to promote gun violence. What these letters tell me is that regardless how serious and out of control the pandemic still appears to be, life is also getting back to normal because the groups that were asking me for money before the pandemic began are back at it again.
Here’s the headline from The Hill: “Gun Sales On The Rise Amid Pandemic Uncertainty, Biden’s Vow for Gun Reform.” The article goes on to report that a ‘record number’ of background checks, nearly 40 million checks, were performed by the FBI last year. The article then quotes reps from two gun-control groups who claim that a Biden Presidency is the ‘worst nightmare’ for the ‘gun lobby’ and that we can expect a new gun law from Biden in his first 100 days.
So now that Trump is about to become nothing more than another old man sitting around complaining about how much he pays each year in taxes, I need to start getting back to reviewing the media narrative about guns, a narrative which happens to be a perfect example of ‘fake news’ on both sides.
Take the article from The Hill which claims that the FBI conducted 39.6 million “background checks for firearms” last year. The FBI did pick up the telephone 36.9 million times at its NICS call center in 2020, but more than half those calls had nothing to with gun transfers at all. The calls were not only to run background checks for gun sales, but also to run background checks for gun licenses, concealed-carry permits, guns being taken out of pawn and guns being sold by one gun owner to another.
Generally speaking, the number of calls received each day at the NICS call center are roughly 45% for over-the-counter gun transfers, and 55% for something else. Now, 19-million-gun sales is still a lot of guns, but it’s not 40 million. And not only isn’t it 40 million, but many of those guns have nothing to do in any way with gun violence or criminal gun activity at all.
It must come as a great shock to some of my gun-control friends, but many folks who walk into a gun shop to buy a gun aren’t interested in using the gun for self-defense, or for protection against the BLM rally happening next week. They’re also not particularly gung-ho to join the next attempt to storm the Capitol or maybe the statehouse in Lansing, MI.
They come into my shop or other gun shops because they want to buy a gun. Right now, is a really good time to buy a gun because they have extra cash in their pocket from plowing the neighbor’s driveway or maybe the parking lot of the local Stop and Shop. And it’s cash the old lady doesn’t know about so it’s not like it has to be spent on a new set of tires for her car.
Did gun sales go up because the pandemic made people afraid? That’s what the gun buyers said was the reason they were buying a gun or, in most cases, buying another gun. Yea, yea, I know all the stories about how the pandemic has increased the number of buyers who are buying their very first gun. But they said the same thing after 9-11 because, after all, what better way is there to protect yourself when a 727 plows into your house, right?
When gun sales go up, there’s always a hue and cry from the other side that we need to ‘crack down’ on guns. And what this upsurge in gun-control rhetoric does is promote the sale of more guns. Remember how many gun laws the Federal Government passed the last time a Democrat was a tenant in the White House?
Right now, Covid-19 is killing ten times more Americans every day than the number of Americans who kill themselves or someone else using a gun. If anyone out there is really worried about a new gun law, it’s a worry that is terribly misplaced.