New figures released by the FBI show that 2,495,440 gun background checks were initiated in January. That is the second highest number since records began in 1998, and is exceeded only by the entry for December 2012 which reached a peak of 2,783,765.The background checks are used to prevent people who aren't supposed to legally own firearms from acquiring them through licensed dealers.
Richard Feldman, president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association, said the explanation for the dramatic spike in moves to buy guns was self-evident. “This one’s easy. If the American population thinks that a product that they want – whether firearms or DVDs – may not be available in the near future, they will go for it.”That is a standard line - I myself note the high probability that a 'ban' would in essence prompt black market dynamics.
There is no ban and there is no current plan for a sweeping 'ban' but sales still soar. It seems the mere fear of a ban, however baseless, is the motivation.
The surge in gun buying is paradoxical, as President Obama appears to be softening his stance on an assault weapons ban in the face of considerable opposition from Republicans in both the Senate and crucially the House of Representatives where they hold the majority. In a speech on Monday in Minneapolis, he merely said that a revised ban “deserves a vote in Congress, because weapons of war have no place on our streets”This is where I suspect rightwing media and NRA propaganda holding sway over a large number of people invested in this issue and the things they think and believe might not exactly line up with reality all that well: as always, it matters little what Obama does one way or another, wingnuts have a conspiracy theory about why it is terrible waiting in the wings.
And this seems to be translating in a a sustained gun buying spasm. Millions of people buying into this notion of a ban, whipped up by Democrats and Obama, and resulting in record gun sales.