Ever since the Parkland Massacre, gun control groups have had the initiative. They’ve been able to push through legislation in a number of states and are even credited with helping Democrats take control of the House in 2018. It hasn’t been an easy time for gun rights activists, to say the least.
However, that was before COVID-19.
In theory, the little coronavirus shouldn’t have had any impact on guns, gun rights, or gun control. I mean, it’s a virus. As anti-gunners love to pat themselves on the backs for pointing out, you can’t shoot a virus.
Yet as the virus began its slow-roll across the nation, we could all see something was coming.
As a result, a lot of people started buying guns. They weren’t planning on shooting the virus–only gun-grabbers even allowed that thought in their heads–but were instead worried about bad people taking advantage of the hysteria and committing various crimes. Asian Americans were also worried about being the target of hate crimes due to COVID-19’s Chinese origins.
Either way, though, people who never owned a firearm before swarmed gun stores, swamping them to an insane point. Numerous shops confirm that these are new gun buyers. While the old hands might have stocked up on ammunition, new folks were buying guns at an impressive rate. They also learned that a lot of what the media told them just wasn’t so.
Now, we have a lot of new gun owners, people who had to navigate whatever gun control laws were in place. For people in anti-gun states, that means a lot of hoops to jump through.
Illinois residents had to get a Firearm Owners ID Card before buying a gun, but there’s a wait of around 30 days (officially) for that card. In California, some guns come with a 10-day waiting period, a period in which some stores were closed before it had expired. Those wishing to buy a gun online to avoid the craziness at gun stores found out that no, you can’t actually buy a gun and have it shipped to your house.
All when people needed a gun the most.
Long term, COVID-19 may not have a lot of impact on the American way of life. It really depends on just how long it goes on, how deadly it turns out, and a host of other factors. However, it likely will change the face of the gun debate.
Here are a few examples of just how:
More Gun Owners Mean More Gun Rights Advocates
Not everyone who owns a gun becomes a gun rights advocate. After all, how many times have you heard the phrase “I’m a gun owner but…” when debating gun control?
However, we also know that the vast majority of gun owners do tend to be supportive of gun rights. We also know that a lot of people who weren’t gun owners before sure are now. If history holds true, we’ll end up with a lot more gun rights supporters in states where we’ve been sorely lacking in the past. California, for example.
Further, these new gun owners have personal experience of not just how draconian the system is, but how it put them and their families at risk at a time when they couldn’t really afford to screw around. No one knew what would happen. No one knows what will happen next. That’s why legions wanted to buy guns.
These are the people who are sitting at home right now not thinking about gun rights at all, most likely. They’re worried about their families, how they’ll pay the bills if their jobs disappear, and so on. They’re not primed to advocate for anything right now.
Yet what happens when someone tells them that getting a gun is far too easy? What happens the moment someone advocates for even stricter gun control because they think California makes it far too simple to purchase a firearm?
They’re going to unload on that person. They’re going to explain how the moment they felt they needed a gun, they had to jump through hoops. They’ll talk about how they tried to buy one on the internet, only to find out that it wouldn’t help them. They’ll delve into how the waiting period put their family’s life at risk.
And there are a ton of people with similar stories.
Make no mistake, it’ll have an impact.
Anti-Gun Governors Feeling The Pressure
Some anti-gun governors haven’t blinked in the least, but a lot of them have. Illinois came out early in their COVID-19 response and declared gun stores essential businesses. Others such as Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New Jersey backed off their earlier position that these stores should be close, but eventually came around.
Most of these are anti-gun bastions, places where gun control support has historically been very strong. These are places where gun rights aren’t considered rights at all. It’s not the kind of place where Second Amendment arguments have held much sway.
And yet, the gun stores are open when so many other businesses aren’t.
Honestly, we can only speculate as to why a state like Illinois would declare them essential businesses from the start, but it’s likely that all these anti-gun governors started feeling a whole lot of pressure. The thing is, there hasn’t been enough pressure on anything in the past to change these governors’ minds on guns, so why now?
As mentioned earlier, you have a lot of new gun owners. You also have a lot of people who never got to take hold of their guns because of closures to gun stores. That likely outraged a ton of people and so governors backed off on it.
Of course, there were also likely to be some concerns over litigation as gun rights groups filed suit, but as we saw in Pennsylvania, that wasn’t likely enough. Governor Tom Wolf changed his position after the court case was over.
Regardless, some of the most anti-gun states in the nation have declared gun stores essential. That’s likely to put them in a position of having to defend that move, which also likely puts them into a position of having to defend the Second Amendment.
It’s a strange world we live in.
Suicides Rise And Anti-Gunners Blame Increased Gun Sales
Millions of Americans are cooped up inside. They don’t get the human interaction they desperately need. They don’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun. They don’t get to enjoy many of the activities that make them happy.
As a result, expect to see a lot of depression. Worse, though, expect to see a spike in the suicide rate.
This shouldn’t be surprising, of course. Many of us are already feeling these effects.
Yet gun control advocates, likely deprived of their typical avenues of attack, will likely try to blame this increase in suicides on more guns in people’s hands. They’ll make the inane leap of saying that all those people who bought guns for the first time made such a leap in the number of suicides inevitable.
Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Locking people down with little real-world interaction plays far more of a role in depression than having a gun handy. Further, without people going out and being social, it also becomes harder to realize something is wrong with a friend until it is too late. That includes attempts by non-firearm means. While those may be more survivable, they’re not if people don’t know it happened until it is too late.
None of that will matter to anti-gunners, however. They’ll continue to present gun control as a mental health issue and demand tighter gun control that would do absolutely nothing to prevent suicides anyway.
America’s Culture May Never Be The Same
One of the big issues we can see arise from COVID-19 is just how vulnerable our food supply is, to say nothing of our toilet paper supply. In just a snap, toilet paper was gone from the shelves and things still aren’t back to normal several weeks later. It’s insane.
But it wasn’t just TP that’s gone from our shelves.
In the past, fresh and frozen meat, eggs, canned goods, dried beans, rice, flour and a whole lot of other staples are gone from shelves and, at least in some places, still haven’t fully returned to pre-crisis levels.
A lot of people are looking at this and thinking about how COVID-19 is bad enough, but it could also have been a whole lot worse. How many of those are looking to start stockpiling supplies so they’re not caught unaware again? While Ready.gov tells people to have a few days of food and water on hand, people are learning just how little good that does when you’re going weeks without some of your normal dietary items.
In other words, a lot of folks are going to look at this and become preppers. They may not be looking at the end of the world, but they’ll know there are plenty of bad things that can happen well short of armageddon. They’ll know that and plan accordingly.
That also means guns.
Some of those folks probably haven’t bought firearms just yet. They didn’t think they needed them so they haven’t bought any. Yet as they continue to watch what happens and recognize how easily all of this could go sideways, especially with the coming economic crisis, and recognize that they need to include firearms in their preparations.
Once again, guns might well become a standard household item in American homes. As noted earlier, that also means more gun rights advocates as well.
Of course, this is all just speculation. It’s educated speculation, to be sure, but something about what’s going on right now just feels like a turning point in the gun debate. The anti-gunners are on their heels as gun rights once against pushes forward at a dark time in our history. People are lamenting gun control laws and finding out the media lied to them about so-called loopholes that don’t actually exist.
While COVID-19 isn’t a good thing, there may be a proverbial silver lining that we can’t ignore. While I’d rather have all these things and more without innocent people dying, that’s not my call.
What I can do, however, is note the change in the air and admonish each and every one of you to step up and help facilitate even more change by reaching out to new gun owners and working with them to learn how to be safe with their new guns and how to be effective, both with their weapons and with their advocacy.