Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Predictable increase in gun sales irrational

  • Print

Happy days are here again for the makers and sellers of guns and ammunition, and why not? There's nothing like a good school massacre to really move those Mausers off the shelves.

The timing of the Newtown, Conn., atrocity, moreover, couldn't have been better, coming as it did just two weeks before Christmas, when gun enthusiasts slumber with visions of high-capacity magazines dancing in their heads.

Gun and ammunition sales tend to leap in the wake of high-profile mass shootings. National elections can have the same effect; the 2008 election of Barack Obama as president prompted a run on firearms and bullets that caused prices to skyrocket.

A Los Angeles Times report shows that the slaughter of 20 children and six adults at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School in December may be having the same predictable effect, and then some. The number of federal background checks on firearm purchasers was higher in December than in any month since the checks were required in 1998, according to the FBI. Businesses and trade associations are reporting a jump in sales, and the Times found commerce so brisk at the recent Crossroads of the West gun show in Ontario (Calif.) that people were waiting in line four hours just to enter.

The reason for all this gun mania, of course, is fear -- not fear of victimization, but fear that the government will impose limits on gun ownership. President Barack Obama is the focus of this fear, as he has been since 2008, despite the fact that he has neither proposed nor signed anti-gun legislation. "I'll tell you right now, Obama is the No. 1 gun salesman in the nation," a gun-shopper named Ryan Girard told the Times. Obama is indeed talking tougher on guns than he has in the past, though some experts are skeptical that he will have the political will or ability to impose limits with teeth. Congress, meanwhile, is dusting off old bills to reinstate an expired federal ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines (a movement with notably more enthusiasm among Democrats than Republicans). Such weapons are already banned in California.

In fact, there is almost zero chance that the federal government will adopt restrictions tougher than what California already has on the books, making the reaction in Ontario a little puzzling. That doesn't render Washington's efforts worthless -- California has the strictest gun laws of any state, and the country would be safer if such limits were imposed nationwide. Meanwhile, some California lawmakers are proposing state bills that would impose even stricter rules here.

To gun owners and prospective buyers, we can only say: Don't panic. Any legislative changes will be, for the vast majority of law-abiding gun owners, unnoticeable. Obama's not going to break into your house wearing a ski mask and take your guns away.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 12, 2013 A15

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

City Beautiful trailer: How architecture shaped Winnipeg's DNA

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A group of Horese pose for the camera in the early evening light at Southcreek Stables in Stl Norbert Wednessday. Sept  14, 2011 (RUTH BONNEVILLE) / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Has the attack on Parliament hill shaken your faith in Canada's ability to protect its citizens from terrorist threats?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google