Americans Pretty Sure More Guns The Only Answer To Gun Violence, Pandemics
CNN reported last week that the United States averaged more than one mass shooting a day for the past month, and Forbes noted that this year, "the U.S. is on pace to have 511 mass shootings—more than any year between 2014 and 2019." These sobering statistics have predictably resulted in Americans running out to buy more guns, because we are just so damn exceptional.
First-time gun owners, young and old from across the country, are helping to push record levels of gun sales for what looks like the second year in a row.
"My gun store has had a run like I've never seen before," said Todd Cotta, the owner of Kings Gun Center in Hanford, Calif., in the state's agriculturally rich Central Valley. "It was just an avalanche of new gun buyers for the first time."
Todd Cotta's gleeful metaphor is a little off. An avalanche is a natural disaster. The gun violence epidemic is entirely self-inflicted. We don't have to kill each other, but that's apparently the American way.
New gun buyers defy stereotypes. They're from all races and political beliefs, but what they have in common is a growing sense of “uncertainty, fear, and a need to feel safe." It's all good news for gun dealers.
Gun sellers across the country said the pandemic and civil unrest over the past year have pushed customers to feel they must take control of their families' protection.
If you want to protect your family from the pandemic, wear a damn mask and get vaccinated. An AR-15 isn't effective against COVID-19. Yes, NPR did confirm that homicides rates increased in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York last year, but that was because of asshole with guns.
Kim Davies, interim dean of Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Department of Social Sciences at Augusta University, says that's where confrontational homicide is often the cause.
"It's homicide where two people, mostly men, get into some kind of confrontation over, you know, who's more manly and nobody backs down," says Davies. "And before you know it, somebody pulls a weapon and it often ends in violence."
Guns just make everything worse. There is no serious problem that guns can solve. Republicans should make a gun their political mascot instead of an elephant, which is capable of empathy.
Property crimes were also much lower during the pandemic, so there's no compelling need to arm yourself to protect from the Mad Max gangs Lindsey Graham fears so much.
Gun industry insiders claim that Americans are more worried about new gun control laws than the inevitable next mass shooting. They're so afraid Congress will come for the guns they don't have that they're rushing to buy guns for the first time. None of this makes any sense.
Burbank, Calif.-based Redstone Firearms owner Geneva Solomon said both sales at her and her husband's gun store and enrollment in their firearms education classes are up.
Solomon said she and her husband try to calm the nerves of first-time buyers in those classes, where they go over the fundamental rules of gun ownership.
"We've definitely seen an uptick in the class options we offer," she said. "Before they would never sell out. Now they sell out two days after we post them."
Who doesn't feel safer already with so many overly anxious “good guys with guns"?
According to FBI data, six of the top 10 days for instant background checks, which the federal government (sometimes) requires before a licensed firearms retailer can sell a gun, were just last month. March 15 to 21 was the top week for FBI background checks since 1998, with 1,218,002 completed firearms checks. That's the same week as the Atlanta-area gun massacre. More than a million background checks were completed during the week of March 22 to 28, when 10 people were killed at a King Soopers grocery story in Boulder, Colorado.
There's a clear year-to-year increase in gun purchasing: More than four million background checks were processed in January, compared to the previous January's 2.7 million, and 3.4 million checks were reported in February 2021 compared to the 2.8 million completed in February 2020. However, the number of completed background checks rose to 4.7 million in March 2021, compared to March 2020's 3.7 million reported checks.
It's like Americans are stockpiling in advance of a war, and we can't even call a cease fire after the latest bloodbath.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."