How the Gun Lobby Encourages People to Amass Arsenals

In the last six months I've written a lot about the politics of the gun issue (see here for example), and one of the key data points I keep trying to get people to understand is that gun ownership is actually declining in America and has been for a few decades. Yet there are just as many guns as ever (around 300 million by the best estimates), which means that on average, your typical gun owner now owns more guns than they used to. While no one that I know of has actually figured out the distribution, my guess is that most gun owners still have only one or two guns, while the numbers are being elevated by enthusiasts who think they really haven't guaranteed the safety of their family unless they have enough weaponry to fend off an assault by an entire battalion of the Red Army.

And it's important to understand that the gun lobby (by which I mean the National Rifle Association, similar groups, and the gun manufacturers) are doing everything they can to encourage existing gun owners to buy as many guns as they possibly can. I discuss this in a piece I wrote today for MSNBC's "Lean Forward" blog:

Gun lobbyists have been working hard to make sure that the law is no impediment to buying as much weaponry as you want. In February, Virginia repealed its law limiting gun purchases to one a month, to the celebration of the lobby; that leaves only California, Maryland, and New Jersey with such laws still on the books. And the industry and gun advocates cooperate to convince gun owners that gun and ammunition confiscation is always just around the corner, thereby urging them to go out and stock up.

When President Obama was elected in 2008, gun owners were told their weapons would soon be confiscated and gun sales surged. In advance of the 2012 election, the industry and gun advocates are once again telling gun owners that their guns might be taken from them. "We see the president's strategy crystal clear," said NRA leader Wayne LaPierre. "Get re-elected and, with no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and destroying our firearms freedom, erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights and excise it from the U.S. Constitution." And once again, sales have risen in response. There is no evidence that these increases occurred because millions of people were going out to buy their first firearm. Instead, it appears, existing gun owners were increasing the size of their arsenals. The chief executive of Smith & Wesson attributes the increase in sales to the industry's "installed user base"—in other words, gun owners buying more guns.

If you're in the gun culture—if you're getting the NRA's magazines and emails and spending time at ranges and gun shops where the propaganda is reinforced—you'll hear this message again and again: stock up now, because the liberals are coming to take your guns. And that "installed user base" keeps responding.

I'll be speaking on a panel today at 2 p.m. EST at the Center for American Progress on this topic; you can watch a live stream here.

Comments

Let's not overlook the small cadre of gun-nuts like myself who are stockpiling the hoards of weapons and ammo necessary to fend off the roving squads of foaming teatard gun-nuts that are eventually going to swamp this nation once they dissolve civil government under President Michelle Bachmann (or someone like her). We dislike the NRA and their gun marketing campaigns, but we buy the guns anyway. You never know when President Michelle Bachmann might slip into office, dissolve civil government, and sic roving squads of well-armed teatards to round up us pin-head liberal intellectuals.

Dude, were you having a bad "L" trip when you wrote this? What is wrong with you???

Many gun owners are collectors. I am particularly fond of WWII era weapons but I also collect modern guns. When there is news that makes gun owners concerned about possible new restrictions they may go ahead and buy that gun on their wish list now instead of waiting. I expect you would get the same result if they were discussing restricting the import of wood used to make a popular guitar. There would be a rush to buy.

If the government is going to confiscate all privately owned guns, wherein lies the logic of buying more guns? Whether an individual has one gun or twenty, if the government with the support of the Armed forces determined to take the guns away, they will take all twenty.

Guns are a durable item. We have no lists of gun owners and guns in this nation. That is one reason gun owners are so opposed to registration. It would take huge resources to search each home, dig up the back yard, look inside the walls. Most Americans, including police and military, see gun ownership as a constitutional right according to the poles. You could probably do it in some urban areas at the cost of civil liberties. In most of the country it would work about as well as prohibition of alcohol did.

Mr. Paul, When the Owebama administration 1)actively and vocally supports the UN Arms Trade Treaty which opens the very real possibility of infringment of the Second Amendment, 2) in court actively fought in against Heller 3) made public innuendos about an assault weapons ban JUST BEFORE Fast & Furious exploded is there any wonder why good Patriots are jumpy?? Anyway, it's NOT the gun lobby doing the encouragement it's the progressive left. For the very reasons listed above. Whenever there was a major jump in ammo and weapons sales one could accurately corrolate those events to the electorate feeling threatened by anti-gun policies from a Democratic W/H...How come with all the GREAT gun laws (including Brady) we still have gun deaths? Criminals don't care about laws, man! When will the progressive-left get that through their thick skulls? The only people who do care about them are law-abiding citizens needing to defend thamselves against those criminals... I can just see a street scene in Detroit...Dude #1:"Hey, Homey! whassssuuuup!? I got a wheel gun off this dude I just shook down...woooowwweee!!!!" Dude #2:"Uh, cool man, you all THAT and a bag o' chips, man!, But you know, gotta register that thing"....Dude#1: "Awwwwww,man! ya think??....Oh awwwright!!!Sheeesh!!!"
The progro left is waiting for just the perfect time to strike with sweeping gun legislation...If the good guys lose the Senate big, after this election, all bets are off...God help us all....

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