Great Gun Run Of '21: Florida Background Checks Up 71-Percent

We won’t get the January NICS numbers for a couple of weeks, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that we’re seeing yet another surge in interest in gun ownership among Americans. In Florida, background checks so far this year are up 71-percent compared to January of last year.

John Lassiter, who works for a gun store in Kissimmee, has been selling firearms for three decades and says he’s never seen anything like it, but he believes he knows why it’s happening.

Lassiter said the the reason for the spike is simple.

“They are scared to death. They are scared to death in their own homes,” he said.

They’re not arming up to go off to war, in other words. They’re buying a gun because they want to protect themselves from whatever might be outside their door. We just saw the biggest one year increase in homicides since we started keeping track of these things. People are scared about violent crime, and now many of us are concerned about the prospects of even more civil unrest, which will likely lead to yet more violent crime.

I don’t think Tim has it right here. The Great Gun Run of ’21 is just a continuation of the Great Gun Run of ’20, which started in March of last year when the first round of stay-at-home orders were issued. We saw another spike beginning in late May and early June as riots broke out in many American cities and continued throughout the summer. Then we had the traditional pre-election/Christmas surge in sales in the late fall, and now the latest spike after the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

I don’t believe that it’s folks bracing for mass civil conflict that’s driving the rise in gun sales, though I do agree that people of all ideologies are well represented among new gun buyers. I think it’s an increased awareness of the need for personal safety in an increasingly uncertain world that’s what’s responsible for the bulk of these new gun sales. Is the potential for mass civil conflict a part of that uncertainty? Of course, but that’s far from the only reason. As Jon Stokes and I discussed on yesterday’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, the country is going through one of the most severe stress tests in its history, and COVID-19 has exacerbated all of the other problems that we’re facing.

I also said during yesterday’s show that I suspect in the short term, things are going to look at lot more like the 1970s than the 1770s; any political violence is likely to involve fairly small groups from both ends of the political spectrum trying to take on the state and each other, accompanied by a more general rise in violent crime, particularly in Democrat-controlled cities.

That’s not a great prognosis, though I’m willing to acknowledge the possibility that I’m being overly optimistic. Still, I think wanting to protect yourself and your family is a perfectly natural response to the current state of the nation. I would just encourage every new gun owner to take a basic firearms course for starters, and to regularly train and practice afterwards. After all, a gun won’t protect you if you aren’t comfortable and proficient with it.

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