Have you gone to the gun store following a high-profile mass shooting and notice it might be a little more crowded than normal? I know I have. More than once I’ve had to wait a little longer than usual to take a look at a handgun or a background check might have taken a little longer than is typical in the timeframe shortly after a shooting.
Well, it seems someone conducted a study and found that yes, more people buy guns after mass shootings.
Wallace used data from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to approximate the number of gun sales in the U.S between 2000 and 2010.
She found that mass shootings were associated with an increase in the number of monthly background checks. This was true even after controlling for monthly violent crime counts, state demographics, the election of President Obama, and the relative frequency of Google searches for gun control and related terms.
But the effects of mass shootings on gun acquisition appeared to fade after about 3 to 4 months.
“After a mass shooting, fear can lead people to purchase firearms. Some people are afraid of being a victim themselves, or fear for the safety of those they love. Other fear stricter gun control and worry that their ability to purchase or own a firearm might be threatened,” Wallace explained.
Well, yeah. Most of it, though, is fear of new gun control.
Let me explain how it works. I’ll use myself as an example.
When bump stocks first came out, I thought they were stupid toys. They might be fun for wasting ammo on a Saturday afternoon, but they weren’t a serious tool for serious people. I didn’t care a thing about it.
In the immediate aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, I still didn’t care anything about them. No, not even when it came out that the killer and used such a device on his weapons.
It wasn’t until all the talk about banning them that I got interested in buying one. I still didn’t have any use for them, but since we all expected some kind of grandfather clause, it was a matter of “buy now or maybe not get to buy later.” I never did because, well, I’m lazy, but the urge was definitely there.
That’s the urge a lot of people feel when a mass shooting happens and anti-gunners immediately kick in on the whole, “We need to ban X” kick. They don’t have another trick, and we know it, so the moment they start we know they’ll go after gun control like Chelsea Handler chasing relevancy. So, we start to feel that urge and a lot of us act on it. We figure that the more we have, the less chance of a ban there actually is, for one thing. For another, that grandfather clause thing factors in, too.
If there’s an issue with this study and the reporting around it, it’s in the fact that the reasons why sales increase after shootings should be the real story here. Those who buy guns used in mass shootings are accused of doing so for some pretty ghoulish reason, none of which are accurate. A study that argues we do it out of concern for our personal safety or our rights? That should be the big story.
It’s only too bad the media doesn’t present it that way.