One remarkable thing we’ve seen with this quarantine is another very big rush on guns and ammunition, similar to what we’ve seen with the rushes in 2008 and 2013. Only in this case, it wasn’t just gun owners trying to get things before they disappear because of political mandate, but also new people who all of a sudden had noticed that they might need a gun because of current circumstances. With a disruption of daily services, potential shortages of food and supplies, changes in legislation to decriminalize offenses as well as jails outright letting criminals out to avoid taking care of sick crooks, people began to think that maybe they’d better be able to defend themselves. These folks were in for a rude awakening. Despite being told time and again by us gun owners that you cannot go to a gun store and walk out with one, no questions asked, they were surprised to find out that this was actually the case. One gun store in California had to advertise precisely what identification and documentation is required for purchases because they were so frustrated dealing with irate customers who had waited hours in line only to be told that they’d have to come back with the required items and wait again.
I’d personally been approached by people who obliquely asked if they could get a gun from me. I’ve heard the same with other gun owners I’ve talked to. And those people again were not only disappointed but surprised. Some of them took it personally. “Buy you know me, I’m not a criminal”. Yes, but how does anyone know that I know you have a clear record before I sell it to you? How is the government supposed to know that I know that? Didn’t you vote for for mandatory background checks on private sales? Didn’t you?
They view the refusal as a personal insult or slight. However, I and others aren’t being stingy or inconsiderate. This is the way that gun control supporters voted for things to be. Hell, I don’t mind trading food, water, clothes, supplies, or even just giving them to someone who’s in a bind. I won’t get prosecuted for selling the shirt off my own back, that’s between me and my conscience. I WILL get prosecuted if a gun is found on someone else at the scene of a crime or a negligent discharge and it gets traced back to me. That is, given that I am a person who cares enough to pay attention to gun control laws and tries to follow them in the first place. What if I were not? California already has Universal background check legislation in place yet there’s no mechanism to ensure compliance. I’d be able to do it and no one would ever know. Criminals continue to do so as well. The legislation is useless.
I’m inclined to tell the frustrated buyers that these razor sharp, moving, flaming hoops that they have to jump through are the ones that THEY voted for when they nodded along unthinkingly to more gun control, and now THEY have to follow it all if THEY want to stay on the right side of the law. Don’t ask me to break the law for you by just handing you one under the table. Also consider that the crooks out there don’t care if they are following the law because they often are prohibited from buying or possessing a gun already. They’ll buy it on the black market and get rid of it if they think they’ll get caught or they’ve used it in a crime. If you want to go that route, don’t call the cops when trouble comes up because you will now be on the other side of the law. Better hope that no one tattles on you, either. It would be better if you wait and try to properly buy again when the panic dies down, and maybe reconsider you prior voting choices.
So, will this bring about a shift in thinking? I’m sad to say that I highly doubt it. I think a good amount of people will dispose of their new gun, either selling it off or surrendering it to a police station, possibly recording it on video to share as an example of what a good citizen they are. Once their panic has worn off and they see that this pandemic isn’t going to cause a collapse of society, they’ll view this as proof that no one needs a gun. That’s what happened with Britain in World War Two. They asked not only for supplies, munitions, and planes but also small arms for their people to hold off a German invasion. There was even an advertisement calling for American gun owners to donate guns to defend British homes. Then when the war was over, the British disposed of their donated firearms, telling the world how much better they felt for it. I would like to think more people have had a hard lesson, but I think there are still going to be some used guns on the market soon and a lot of sanctimonious posturing.