Ever since anti-gun lawmakers passed the assault weapon ban back in 1994, the AR-15 and similar pattern rifles have been among the most popular firearms in the country. Legions headed out to buy them well before the pandemic lockdowns or other fears sent additional legions out to the gun stores.
Now, with all of that, a summer of seemingly endless riots, and an election that resulted in an anti-gun president-elect, well, guns are going to be even more popular than ever, particularly the AR-15 which Joe Biden has pledged to try and ban yet again.
All of that means things are going to be interesting for AR-15 buyers.
Guns are selling briskly ahead of Christmas, wrapping up a record-breaking year for manufacturers who can’t make enough guns and ammunition to meet demand.
“Demand for guns and ammo is high,” said Steve Dowdy, owner of Bob’s Gun Shop in Norfolk, Virginia, who reopened his shooting range for mask-wearing customers on the weekend before Christmas. “Overall sales are comparable to past holiday seasons, but I believe we would be up 30% to 40% if we had more inventory.”
Gun shops are running lean on inventory nationwide, especially for ammunition. Customers who call Legend Firearms in Monroe Township, Pennsylvania, are greeted by a recording saying that the store is out of handgun ammunition until next year. The recording also says there’s only one Glock left, “but by the time you hear this message, it will probably be gone.”
Bailey Murphy, manager of Ammo AZ, a Phoenix gun store owned by his father Veerachart, said he’s been rationing ammo purchases, which he hates to do, because he doesn’t like telling people what to do, which is why he doesn’t require mask-wearing in his store, despite the deadly pandemic.
“We don’t have a mask policy,” he said. “We’re a free country, so people can wear one, or not wear one.”
He said he’s been able to keep AR-15s in stock, since he makes them through Zeus Arms, the manufacturer he owns with his father.
“We could fill our whole wall with own brand if we wanted to,” he said.
Assault rifles, the prime target in President-elect Joseph Biden’s gun control plan, have become harder to find. This scarcity of inventory has capped sales that could have been higher, if AR-15s had been better stocked during this period of unprecedented demand.
Now, this matters a great deal, especially if we’re talking about banning anything.
In the landmark Heller decision, it was ruled that a firearm couldn’t be banned if it was “in common use.” In other words, the test was in place to prevent overturning pre-existing machinegun bans, would probably allow bans of future and particularly dangerous weapons (in theory, at least), but would keep lawmakers from banning most anything currently on the market.
However, some have argued that AR-15s aren’t really in common use.
No, I don’t see how they make that claim about one of the most popular firearms in the nation, but they do.
With the continued surge in purchasing these weapons, a surge I don’t see slowing down anytime soon, how much longer can anyone delude themselves into believing these weapons aren’t in common use?
I’m sure plenty will continue to do so for years to come, and it’s going to be hilarious to behold, but as more and more evidence mounts, they’re going to find themselves on shakier ground than ever before.
What worries me is how much damage they can do before we get to that point.