October 15, 2012
By James Tarr
If there has been one bright spot in the economy of the last several years, it has been in the firearms sector. Ruger, Smith & Wesson, just about any gun company you can name has been doing darn well, if not seeing record sales numbers.
The why of these increased sales is a matter of some debate, but whether it is solely or partially due to fears of anti-gun laws, politics is a huge factor. It's been said that President Barack Obama has been the greatest gun salesman ever, because fears of what he might do based upon comments he has made have driven people to get while the getting is good.
While anti-gun legislation is a non-starter in the current political climate, there are a lot of worries that Obama, if he stays in office, will proceed with anti-gun efforts. Lame duck presidents who don't have to worry about re-election have always been less constrained to court popular opinion.
Fellow gun writer and SWAT cop Jason Teague recently sent out an email to a group of us like-minded folk wondering what might be on our shopping lists if Obama is re-elected. I found the responses interesting, as they fell into several categories.
A number of people thought of it as an opportunity to make a lot of money, remembering how the prices of just about everything spiked after Clinton's so-called Assault Weapons Ban in 1994. Full-capacity magazine prices skyrocketed, and several in the email exchange pointed out how they had been buying a lot of magazines, not just for personal use, but as an investment. Think about it: Do you remember how much Glock, AK and AR-15 magazines were going for a few years into the ban? AK magazine prices still haven't normalized.
I had a good friend who was in the DEA, and in the late '90s he sold all of his commercial Glock magazines for double to triple what he paid for them, then bought all new magazines through his agency for about $10 apiece. His new mags were marked "For Law Enforcement/Military Use Only," but he didn't care; he made several hundred dollars.
These same capitalist opportunists friends of mine--and that is not a negative term with me, only a statement of fact--have also been buying a lot of stripped AR-15 lower receivers. If you pay attention, you can find lowers for as low as $59.
The second group of respondents had stockpiling on their minds. They remembered not just how prices skyrocketed, but how both ammunition and reloading components were nowhere to be found. This was due to panic and hoarding as much as anything, but the time to be buying ammunition is not after the EPA has deemed it a dangerous environmental toxin and slapped a 500-percent tax on it. Gun control takes many forms, and backdoor attempts to gut the Second Amendment are nothing new. Even if there isn't something political that drives up the cost of ammunition, it is not likely to decrease in cost anytime soon, if ever. Why not buy now?
The third group was the most practical: Buy what you're going to need, just in case it's not available. Beyond the expected ammunition and magazine buying, they recommended spare parts. Shotgun News' Dave Fortier replied, "Spare parts for your go-to guns should be considered. Spare firing pins, extractor, ejectors, springs, bolts, gas rings for ARs. Recoil springs for pistols."
My response to the email? "I have all the ammo (and then some) and guns (and then some) I would ever need. Not to say I don't want more. Food and water and other consumables are higher on the must-have list, especially since I have kids to feed. If I had the money, what I'd really like is to get a couple of suppressors, now that they're legal in Michigan. I think having a suppressed gun--or enough to outfit all the males in the family--might be very valuable."
There is a very good chance that if the president is reelected, he will have a Republican-dominated House and Senate to put the kibosh on any anti-gun legislation he's in favor of, but that doesn't mean nothing can happen. Presidents have used Executive Orders to do all sorts of things, both good and (mostly) bad, and our current one is no different. Most people in power do what they can, not what they should; that's why our Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment.