“Bill and Hillary Clinton and Janet Reno are the finest gun salesmen in history,” Jim Hullinger of a gun store in Plano, Texas told the USA Today in 1994 as Clinton’s signature assault weapon ban passed both the House and the Senate.
“Gun makers stand to make a bundle,” the story reported, especially through sales of large magazines and ammo.
“I’m selling high-capacity magazines as fast as I can get them, and people are buying ammunition not by the box but three and four cases at a time,” a gun store owner told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 1994. The price of an AR-15 tripled as so-called “assault rifles” were about to be banned.
As pundits, politicians, and anti-gun activists hype more gun-control measures, it usually has the opposite effect. American citizens react by stocking up on weapons and ammo.
It’s a common American reaction. When Twinkies threaten to vanish forever, Americans rushed to stock up on the largely insignificant sponge cake. In the light of a perceived government incandescent light-bulb ban, Americans began stockpiling boxes of treasured 60 watt bulbs.
Since 1994 gun owners have reacted the same way. After all, once the government successfully starts banning the sale of certain weapons and ammunition clips, it doesn’t take much to convince a gun enthusiast that it will happen again.
Gun control activists note with horror that gun sales go up each time there is a high-profile mass shooting. High-volume ammo clips and cases of ammo sell faster than any item in the stores.
Politicians and members of the media roundly criticized Jared Loughner’s Glock handgun with an expanded clip, after he shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people in a grocery store parking lot.
Glock sales predictably surged.
Handgun sales in Arizona the following day jumped 60 percent from that same day a year ago.
After the Columbine school shooting in Littleton Colorado, President Clinton reacted by promising more gun control legislation. Gun sales predictably spiked.
“When there’s a threat of people passing laws making it worse, we actually see an increase in business,” a gun store owner in Aurora, Colorado explained to the Denver Post in 1999.”(Buyers) don’t want to take a chance on being able to get their guns.”
The media fueled hysteria for more gun control has only increased since Columbine, prompting gun owners to stock up in reaction to a perceived threat to their rights as gun owners.
Mass shootings also prompt citizens to arm themselves for protection. After the Aurora theater shooting, applications for concealed carry permits and gun-safety classes increased significantly.
Perhaps the greatest stimulant for gun sales is caused when anti-gun Democrats take power.
Gun sales skyrocketed when President Obama was first elected – even though he carefully cultivated a moderate position on gun ownership. Predictably, Obama’s re-election boosted gun sales as gun owners feared that the president would seek more gun restrictions in his second term.
“I had a guy waiting here first thing in the morning [after the election.] He came in, bought two AK-47s,” said a New York gun store owner to CNN.
After the shooting in Connecticut, pundits, politicians, and anti-gun activists believe they finally have the “political capital” to promote gun control legislation. But if you look at recent history, campaigns for gun control only feed the so-called “gun culture” that the anti-gun activists fear.
As another media-fueled anti-gun campaign begins, expect gun owners to respond accordingly. Americans will react by stockpiling more weapons and ammunition than ever before.
America’s culture of gun ownership – based on the Second Amendment - will only gain in strength.