Monday, January 12, 2009

Obama and Gun Laws

I like guns. I'm not a freak about them. I just think that they are pretty cool items of technology. I inherited one from my dad who inherited it from his dad. It's a Smith & Wesson .38 police special- made around 1917 or so. I keep it in a gun bag. I keep the ammo elsewhere. Last time I shot it was about 1995. Last time I shot a gun was about that time too. If someone breaks into my house, they're probably not going to get shot... for now.

But many years ago, I really enjoyed going to the shooting range and trying out the 9MM semiautomatics- the Glock, the Sig, the Taurus, the Beretta, etc. It just felt practical. Sort of like playing a Playstation compared to an Atari 2600. Now I'm not saying that guns are toys, but my point is that one is more of a Playstation 3 and the other is an Atari 2600.

In our house, we have young kids so buying a more practical gun has not been an option for the past 7 years. And I've had no problem with it. But now that Barack Obama will be our next president, there has been a lot of buzz about buying guns and some of it has been coming from my own wife.

This year I went to Christmas parties where the talk was guns. I've been to coffee shops where people are talking guns. And believe it or not, households with anti-gun wives are softening to the idea. I live in Arizona where we're more of a Blue state (I think that's the one for Republicans) so guns are already everywhere, but the point is that a lot of the recent buzz has been caused by the election of Barack Obama and the fear that he will go straight for gun control as an early priority.

As if the war and the economy and gay marriage were not enough to tackle, will gun laws really be threatened? Couple the conversations that I spoke of with the flat out feeding frenzy at any local gun shops, and you'd think that the end of the world was near. Since my wife softened to the idea of a newer gun, I've started to research it a bit and then I decided to go to the local super big box outdoorsman store- Bass Pro Shop. Not sure if you're familiar with this store, but basically anything that you can do outdoors, they have- it's absolutely overwhelming- like Disneyland. But they have a firearms area that has rifles and pistols and I couldn't even reach the counter because there were so many people there. This was right around Thanksgiving, so sure there might be people gift shopping, but I felt embarrassed that I was surrounded by what felt like gun nuts and here I was, some dude who had basic questions and who wanted to feel what certain models felt like in my hand. It wasn't worth the wait so I left.

About 3 weeks later, I took my daughter to a similar but smaller store after a friend suggested it and found a similar scene. But with this store, the display was sparsely populated- And per the clerk, they couldn't keep the guns in stock and people were buying the displays. Because of the low stock there were only about 10 people there so I picked the brain of the clerk a bit. He told me that they are typically busier after an election and especially with Obama being elected the consensus was "get em while you can".

Then this past weekend, my family got away to the snow and we went to another enormous box retailer called Cabela's which is similar to Bass. While the wife and daughter were looking for snow clothes, I beelined with our son to the firearms section. And this time I got photos. This is the best one I could get because I felt like a spy- like someone was going to pull a gun on me and harass me about taking photos. It was like the deli counter where they called your number. There were no less than 10 clerks and about 30 customers. The reason you don't see so many is that many were hanging back in the ammo aisles at the time I took this shot.

So my question is: Is this gun hype justified? And based on that, are gun manufacturers Republicans or Democrats?

Again, Obama's already got a lot on his plate- enough to take him out 8 years if he gets reelected. So I don't see him addressing gun control during his administration. But we're talking about the second amendment here. A basic unalienable right of Americans. Sort of a third rail of social issues. And when you consider that 44% of voting Americans didn't vote for him, it's the sort of issue that will quickly polarize the country. Thomas Jefferson that a little revolution is good now and then and perhaps it is. But when that revolution is the gun lovers fighting for their rights, then you're talking about a potentially serious revolution.

Now our economy sucks right now and we're seeing lots of companies going out of business and cutting jobs. But gun manufacturers have got to be loving all this hype. If you owned an umbrella company and it was a cloudy day, would you tell people that it was only going to be a sprinkle or that it would burn off by noon? You'd probably emphasize how cool your umbrellas are and how it would protect you from the elements. I seriously doubt that you will see Glock explaining how Obama won't restrict gun laws.

I'll probably get a new gun in 2009- I'll research it well, try a bunch of models and I'm the kind of guy who will get the absolutely best deal. Not sure which one but when the hype swings a certain way, then you've got to act on it. But mark my words- under Obama, the hype of gun contol is unjustified.

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