Highly-publicized mass shootings in the United States have one giant unintended consequence: Americans tend to buy more guns in droves, fearing their right to bear arms will be taken away in the future.
For instance, firearm manufacturers saw a marked increase in sales after the deadly school shooting that killed at least 21 lives in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24th. A series of gun-related fatalities spurred even more gun purchases in April.
“The fear of the unknown and the chaos of the pandemic was the motivating factor,” said a Suffolk County resident. In other words, people are afraid of what the future holds, and owning a firearm makes a lot of people feel safe.
And make no mistake, the relentless news cycle that hammers home as many gun-related deaths as possible certainly doesn’t help. As of Friday, the 27th of October, the hunt for the Maine shooter is still front page news on the CNN and Fox News websites.
Then, the calls for gun control began anew from Washington.
“Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children in our nation,” wrote Vice President Kamala Harris. “It is a false choice to suggest we must choose between either upholding the Second Amendment or passing reasonable gun safety laws to save lives.”
Gun owners interpret this to mean Washington politicians will be coming for their guns, leaving authority figures the only ones who can legally possess firearms.
A tertiary problem: Most politicians don’t understand what an assault weapon is, and therefore, gun owners assume “reasonable gun safety laws” will mean an outright ban on those scary-looking black rifles.
For instance, most politicians believe the “AR” in AR-15 stands for “Assault Rifle,” which is incorrect. It stands for Armalite, nothing more than an abbreviation for the company that made the type of rifle back in the 50s.
This ignorance gives gun owners no confidence in Washington’s ability or willingness to control the sale and ownership of firearms in a sensible way.
I believe most Americans agree with “sensible” gun control laws. For instance, criminals cannot purchase or own a firearm legally. Those with a history of mental illnesses, too, probably shouldn’t own a gun.
However, relying on a class of political elites who have not demonstrated even a basic understanding of firearms leaves Americans weary and concerned that full gun control is the next step. As a result, many buy more guns in preparation for that eventuality.
Whether it’s banning “assault weapons” (whatever those are) or high-capacity magazines, Americans are looking ahead, seeing the writing on the walls, and preparing for what they believe will be a society where only the government owns firearms.
That scares a lot of people.