Monday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to reject ten cases dealing with challenges to various gun control laws will have a big impact not only on the immediate future of carry laws in restrictive states like New Jersey and Maryland; bans on commonly owned firearms in Massachusetts; and quirky infringements on the right to keep arms like California’s microstamping law, but also on the 2020 elections as well. President Donald Trump will undoubtably be highlighting the large number of judicial appointments he’s made during his election campaign, but with the seeming reluctance of Chief Justice John Roberts to join the conservative wing of the court in striking down draconian gun laws that prohibit the average American from exercising their right to bear arms, it’s more crucial than ever before to ensure that the next president doesn’t the chance to replace a Justice Thomas or a Justice Ginsberg with appointees who reject the plain meaning of the Second Amendment’s text.
While the president will be making the case for four more years in order to secure and strengthen our Second Amendment rights, Americans aren’t waiting for SCOTUS to weigh on. They’re already exercising their rights in record numbers, with an estimated 2-million new gun owners since January of this year, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Recent months have seen record high numbers of NICS checks, and in Virginia, where I live, we’ve seen multiple spikes in sales since Democrats took control of the legislature last November and immediately began pushing sweeping new gun control measures.
FBI statistics show that criminal background check requests submitted for gun sales in Virginia during the first five months of this year are up 77% over the same period last year.
Robert Marcus, the owner of Bob’s Gun Shop in downtown Norfolk, said he’s seen gun sales jump many times during the three decades he’s owned the store, but never like this.
“It’s incredible,” Marcus told The Virginian-Pilot. “There are are a lot of extraneous things going on now that have caused guns to become very desirable.”
Gun purchases first began to increase late last year, when Democrats won the majority of Virginia’s legislative seats and vowed to pass more restrictive gun laws, Marcus said.
Then in March, the coronavirus pandemic caused many to fear it would lead to civil unrest. Stimulus checks provided by the federal government also made it easier for some to fund their gun purchases.
That civil unrest may not have been caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but the violent protests, rioting, and looting that have erupted across the country in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have led to another spike in Virginia and many other states. Here are just a few stories filed from local news outlets over the past few days.
We spoke with Jeff’s Gun Shop, which specializes in gun repairs. They said repairs have doubled while ammunition sales have quadrupled.
They also said the only reason for the spike in ammunition sales is because bigger retailers are also selling out, so people are looking elsewhere.
We also met with Nagel’s Gun Shop, whose assistant manager said they too have seen a spike in sales, especially from first-time buyers.
“All this coronavirus and all the riots and everything has really scared a lot of people,” Bill Mockel, assistant manger at Nagel’s, said. “So, a lot of people who weren’t into guns are now and they’ve been getting more.”
“Everybody started to run out of ammunition. The other retailers and stuff did a couple of months ago. Nine millimeter MO is particularly hot, and so is 223, and people were buying shotguns and self-defense guns,” says the owner of First Stop Gun & Coin, Mark Blote
This is usually a slow time of year for the shop, but Blote believes there has been an uptick in business due to the many uncertainties of the moment.
“People just want to have a measure of comfort and safety and self dense. There is so much stuff going on in the world right now that it’s good to be able to take care of yourself if you need to,” says Blote.
The owner of Davenport Guns has been ringing up more sales at her store.
She says she wants all gun owners to be safe.
“There’s just a lot to do. There’s a lot to know, and just making the purchase is just the first step,” says Jeanelle Westrom, Owner of Davenport Guns.
The first in many steps to ensure your safety, and the safety of others. That’s why Westrom says experience is vital.
“Training, training, training. And it doesn’t have to be all of it in person. You need to know what the laws are wherever you live. You need to know what the rules and regulations are,” says Westrom.
Guns and ammunition at the Mauldin Arms gun shop in Mauldin are flying off the shelves.
The owner of the family-owned business, which started in 2013, said it’s been a busy couple of months. The spike in sales comes amid COVID-19 and protests across the state and country.
“(We) sold 25,000 rounds of 9 mm (ammunition) in one day, which is our three month supply,” said owner Jeff Tomlinson. “If you sell a case a day, that’s a lot,” he said.
Tomlinson said he’s seen high margins in year’s past, but since April 1, he said, he’s never seen sales maintain the rate they’re at now.
“It has never stayed this long. The difference is, we’ve had days that we’ve been just as good (but) we’ve never had months that are just that amount of sales, even during election time, stuff like that,” he said. “It’s nonstop every day.”
As hard as it may be to believe, we likely haven’t even reached the peak of gun sales this year. Generally speaking, October through December are typically the busiest months of the year for gun purchases, and this year there are a couple of variables that could drive sales even higher than they normally would be.
First, there’s the possibility of another spike in COVID-19 cases and a renewed lockdown on the economy. Just as the first wave of coronavirus shutdowns sent millions of Americans to their local gun store, another round of lockdowns would likely do the same.
Then there’s the 2020 election, as well as its aftermath. Concerns about a Joe Biden presidency and what it would mean for the Second Amendment will certainly drive some sales as we get closer to the election, but I suspect that fear and dread over how the country might respond to the election results will send many Americans flocking to purchase firearms in the months to come.
If Donald Trump wins, it seems almost a certainty that the same deep-blue Democrat-controlled cities that have been the site of much of the rioting and unrest will once again plunge into another round of violence in reaction, and we already know how this current round of chaos has caused gun sales to spike.
If, on the other hand, Joe Biden were to win the election, don’t expect angry conservatives to bust up their local Starbucks or set businesses on fire. Instead, look for a surge in the number of Second Amendment Sanctuaries and private gun owners as gun owners prepare to #Resist Biden’s gun control agenda.
The Supreme Court may be reluctant to weigh in on the Second Amendment at the moment, but Americans as a whole are not. They’re embracing their right to keep and bear arms in record numbers, and I don’t expect that to change between now and the end of the year.