Not to fan any flames, but when you see headlines such as CNN’s recent “Gun sales surge after Obama’s election,” it seems a discussion is in order. I know a few of you voiced gun concerns last week following our post on the new president elect, and headlines like these certainly echo those worries.
According to the CNN story, a Virgina gun shop owner said that last Saturday, he did as much business in one day as he normally does in a week. Even Y2K, September 11 and Hurricane Katrina failed to produce the spike in sales that he’s seen since the election.
And he’s not alone. The story goes on to cite FBI figures for the week of Nov. 3 – 9, during which the bureau got over 374,000 requests for background checks on gun purchasers, which is an almost 49 percent increase over the same period last year.
“Every election year, you have to worry about your rights being eroded a little bit at a time,” the story quotes a Va., gun buyer as saying. “I also knew, because of the Democrat majority and because of the election, everybody would have the same reaction I did.”
On the other side of the issue, the story quotes John Podesta, co-chairman of the Obama transition team as saying, “What people do is their own business, and if they decide to go out and buy guns, they’ll go out and buy guns. But I think that President-elect Obama has been clear in his campaign that what he wants to focus on is the economy, trying to get jobs growing again, dealing with the health care crisis, and dealing with our dependence on foreign oil.”
And at the middle of the issue, here are then-Senator Obama’s comments to Field & Stream’s Anthony Licata in an October Q&A:
** LICATA_: You mentioned common-sense gun legislation. Would you consider the assault weapons ban and registration of guns to fall into that category of common-sense gun control?
** SENATOR OBAMA: I think those are two separate issues. I think that when it comes to the assault weapons ban, the answer is yes. I think AK-47s generally are not used for hunting. AK-47s or vest-piercing bullets are generally used to hurt people. And I think that it’s legitimate for us to say military-style weapons that aren’t traditionally used for purposes other than killing people, we’ve got to be careful about. But I’ll be honest with you. I’m more interested in enforcing the laws that we do have-for example, tracing guns that are used in crimes back to people who have been using them. I don’t anticipate that there’s going to be a whole slew of efforts at the federal level when it comes to gun control. But I think that strong background checks; making sure that we’re dealing with the gun-show loophole, which I think has been a problem; allowing us to trace guns that are used in crimes back to where they were purchased–those are the kinds of initiatives that I think pose no threat whatsoever to law-abiding gun owners.__
_ So, where do you fall on the panic to moderate-concern spectrum? I’m personally hoping that the incoming administration has other fish to fry as it takes office during an economic crisis, but I certainly realize a lot of people aren’t feeling all that “optimistic.” -K.H.