The Christian Science Monitor published a piece today addressing the reasons that gun sales tend to spike after tragedies like the one in Colorado last week. I said spike. They go up. Way up.
Self-protection is part of the reason. But a bigger factor, say gun dealers, is fear of something else: politicians -- specifically, their ability to enact restrictions on gun ownership and acquisition of ammunition.
People are, apparently, afraid that the government is going to outlaw guns soon, but if they get them right now, with licenses and everything, they'll somehow be grandfathered in and won't have to face the consequences of having, and not wanting to turn over, now-illegal objects in their possession.
It's not just silly for the bad logic. There's also the bad political estimating:
Never mind that few members of Congress, or the Obama administration, are willing to stick their necks out on gun control. With Election Day drawing near, and gun advocates on edge that President Obama will end up being “the most anti-gun president in American history,” as theNational Rifle Association says, that’s all the more reason to buy now.
Gun dealers, in fact, owe a lot to Mr. Obama. Before his election in 2008, gun sales spiked in anticipation that he would promote a gun-control agenda - even though he did not campaign on the issue and the Supreme Court had just handed down its landmark Heller ruling, which asserted an individual right to keep and bear arms.
I wanted to refer to episode
3 4 of the Newsroom, in which Will McAvoy quotes a scorecard from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence on President Obama's gun control record (he got all F's). Unfortunately I can't find that scorecard anywhere online, and so can't with confidence claim that it exists. EDIT Jul 26 5:32: Commenter Albert responded to this post with a link to the report, which you can find here or in the comments below.
I've emailed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence asking about that report, and will update this post if/when they respond.