It's Not Just Riots, Pandemics That Will Make Guns More Popular

We started 2020 with concerns about World War III (which were ridiculous) followed by reports that Australia was on fire (which actually weren’t ridiculous), all of which led into the pandemic and later riots. To call 2020 eventful is an understatement.

However, those last two are often mentioned as catalysts for more and more people buying guns.

Over at National Review, writer Rich Lowry offers up his thoughts on how they’ll continue to make gun ownership more popular.

Not in a million years, not if all the nation’s prestigious public-relations firms were mobilized for the cause, could gun manufacturers have conceived of a more effective advertising campaign for their product than the “defund the police” movement.

Of course, realizing that a flagrantly anti-cop message might not sit well with a public still sweeping up shards of glass left by rioters in city centers across the country, Democrats and their media allies moved quickly to temper the movement’s message. But whatever “defund the police” ends up meaning in practice, it highlights a gaping disconnect between the Left’s anti-cop rhetoric and their anti-gun rhetoric about the Second Amendment.

It’s true that Americans’ debate over guns has been largely performative for the past two decades. Sure, there will always be political efforts to constrain firearm ownership — in several major American cities, in fact, it’s still virtually impossible for a law-abiding citizen to purchase a handgun for self-defense, despite the legal victories of Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) in the Supreme Court. (The first struck down D.C.’s ban on handguns and reaffirmed the individual right to own a weapon; the second struck down a similar ban in Chicago.) The intellectual and legal justification for restriction, however, has been exhausted. The coronavirus crisis, and the subsequent riots, may have killed whatever case was left.

Gun-control advocates have long argued that trained police and military, but not civilians, have cause to be armed. We’ve been told that owning a gun is a dangerous fetish — not to mention useless in the face of a state armed with tanks and thermonuclear weapons. A civilized society relies on law-enforcement officers to safeguard the peace, not a bunch of unregulated slack-jawed yahoos. Even the notion of a constitutional right to individual self-defense is, they claim, a fraud perpetrated by the gun lobby and its collaborators.

The same people now inform us that cops are shock troops deployed by a systemically racist state to suppress African Americans. So much so that the public should contemplate abolishing, defunding, or “reimagining” law enforcement altogether. We frequently hear progressives hyperbolically assert that black Americans are being “hunted down” in the streets by nefarious cops. When the New York Times published an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton in which he proposed that the president “employ the military,” if necessary, to protect city neighborhoods from rioters and looters, dozens of the paper’s staffers acted as if the words themselves were violence, tweeting, “This puts Black @nytimes staff in danger.”

Those are, of course, excellent points and we’ve talked about that quite a bit. Most of us understand just how precarious the gun control house of cards actually is. Sure, you can say only the police should have guns, but when you’re also describing police as murderous monsters, that doesn’t really mesh.

However, it’s also important to recognize that while most people agree that some kind of police reform is required, the majority don’t actually view the police this way. Only the loudest do, which makes it look like literally everyone hates the police and wants them to die before the gun down some innocent minority.

Yet a greater threat may well be the effort to appease the mob.

In Minneapolis, officers involved in the death of George Floyd saw their charges upgraded in recent weeks, all because the mob demanded more. In Atlanta, a police officer was fired immediately after a fatal shooting, well before any facts could surface, and another reassigned. They’ve both been charged, again before a formal investigation has taken place.

Both cases were because the mob demanded what they saw as justice, but looks an awful lot like a lynch mob trying to convince the state to act as hangman.

What’s worse is that we all know that if these officers are acquitted–even if they’re only acquitted because they were overcharged–because we know the riots will return.

However, as it stands, just charging some of these officers has created a bigger issue, and that’s what we saw in Atlanta recently. For a night, the police were apparently not really answering any calls. It was almost like a real-life version of The Purge, and it scared the hell out of many in the area.

Now, the police aren’t required to save you. They’re not a rescue squad who is at your beck and call. They arrest criminals and the courts have ruled that is sufficient to protect society as a whole, they have no obligation to save you.

And as people come to understand that, especially in light of how many are calling to defund and abolish law enforcement, many will turn to their local gun stores for protection. They understand that the police may not be able respond, even if they desperately want to. Plus, right now, they may not want to.

So I see gun ownership becoming very popular over the next few years, as it should be. It’s a part of the American culture that never should have been marginalized in the first place.