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Who’s Buying All Those Guns?

by Robert W. Hunnicutt   |  January 3rd, 2013 9

Gun sales have set record after record, with continuous year-over year gains for more than 30 months. The FBI’s NICS system recorded almost 2.8 million records checks in December, up by more than 40% from the prior year, which itself was way up from 2010. Clearly, a whole lot of Americans are out there voting on guns with their credit cards, right?

Not so fast, say gun opponents like the Brady Campaign and Violence Policy Center. The notion that gun ownership is growing quickly would imply that politicians have a lot of new gun-owning constituents who might not want their nice new AR-15s confiscated.

So even before Newtown, the anti-gun groups were peddling the idea that, no, those huge sales figures don’t represent new gun owners. They are, the antis claim, the same embittered few who have been buying guns all along.

The VPC claimed, in a study titled “A Shrinking Minority: The Continuing Decline of Gun Ownership in America:”

“Gun ownership in America is declining. This is the unavoidable conclusion from new, comprehensive, national data spanning nearly 40 years contained in the General Social Survey (GSS) conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.”

The GSS report would have you believe that:

“From 1977 to 2010, the percentage of American households that reported having any guns in the home dropped more than 40 percent.
During this period household gun ownership hit its peak in 1977, when more than half (54 percent) of American households reported having any guns. By 2010, this number had dropped more than 20 percentage points to a low during this period of 32.3 percent of American households reporting having any guns in the home.

In 2010, less than a third of American households reported having a gun in the home.”

This being the VPC, no thought apparently is given to the notion that maybe people aren’t particularly inclined to report truthfully whether they own guns to some strange researcher from the U. of Chicago. And maybe, given growing distrust of government, they are even less inclined to do so today than they were 40 years ago.

So if guns have sold at a record pace for three years, where are they all going? You guessed it, to “the current-gun owning population—primarily white males.”

Since the whole 2012 election has been spun as the Waterloo of the middle-aged, middle class white man (excuse me, the term “male” is for dogs), the clear implication is that, Mr. Politician, you can scoop up the guns of those old white guys with impunity, since they have been forever put in their rightful place by the Obama triumph.

I don’t have any more of a crystal ball into who is buying guns than the VPC does. But the notion that a small cadre of white, southern, Republican men can support almost three years of sales records beggars belief. Lots of people, and lots of people who never thought about buying guns, are buying them now because they are afraid they won’t be able to later.

In time, we’ll know more about their age, sex, race, sexual orientation and all those other demographic distinctions that are held to be so important these days. Politicians would do well to find out more before they swallow the snake oil being offered by the antis. The next election won’t have a guy named Obama at the top of the ballot, and those bitter, racist, gun-owning, middle-aged white males may just make a comeback, especially if someone’s tried to grab their guns.

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