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NAT’L – GUN POLITICS – Voting With Their Guns

(subscription) There’s nothing like nationwide protests and a murder surge in major cities to cause a spurt of new gun sales. Gun controllers may want to rethink their 2020 strategy. The FBI’s most recent gun-sale figures are stunning. They show that in July the bureau carried out 3.6 million background checks, the third highest month on record. Adjusting to reflect checks only for gun purchases, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) says this translates to 1.8 million gun sales for July 2020—a 122% increase over July 2019. The 12,141,032 gun sales through this July is just shy of the 13,199,172 sales for all of 2019. These record sales are best understood as a referendum on the riots, and the growing lack of confidence many Americans have that police will protect them. This is more than National Rifle Association spin. Plenty of Democrats own guns, many of them the blue-collar Democrats who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and whom Joe Biden hopes to woo back. Forty percent of first-time buyers are women. An NSSF survey of gun retailers reports that sales to black Americans are up 58.2% for the first six months of this year, the largest increase for any demographic group. One question is whether this new interest in guns will change the issue of gun violence in this election year. A year ago gun controllers were on the march, as Democrats used the issue to gain control of the Virginia Legislature, which proceeded to limit handgun purchases. Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, which helped those Virginia Democrats, is trying to pull off similar victories this year with a $60 million campaign. The policy contrast between the presidential candidates is stark. Mr. Trump talks up the Second Amendment at every rally. Mr. Biden this year called gun manufacturers “the enemy.” In March he told a Democratic auto worker who accused him of trying to “take away our guns” that he was “full of s—.” He’d ban sales of so-called assault weapons and fine existing owners who don’t register them. But if police are reluctant to enforce current gun laws, as in New York City, what’s the point of new limits on gun ownership? The debate has also shifted from mass shootings to public safety, especially in big cities where gun violence is rampant. The larger lesson is that if liberals won’t control crime, expect more Americans to buy guns in self-defense.  [full article]

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