posttrib
HISTORIC 
Weather Updates

Jerry Davich: What if you can’t buy a gun next year? Really?

Les Blychecks box for additional accesories while preparing display rifle for sale Blythe's Sport Shop Valparaiso Tuesday Nov. 27 2012.

Les Blythe checks a box for additional accesories while preparing to display a rifle for sale at Blythe's Sport Shop in Valparaiso Tuesday Nov. 27, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

storyidforme: 40828915
tmspicid: 15083698
fileheaderid: 6858562

Updated: December 30, 2012 3:50PM



Gun store owners must be laughing all the way to their night deposits these days.

Ever since President Obama was re-elected earlier this month, sales have skyrocketed across the country for guns, firearms, and even certain kinds of ammunition. And it’s happening in Northwest Indiana, too, including many region residents who’ve never owned or operated a firearm, I’m told.

I find this hilarious yet sobering. Hilarious because people are ignorantly buying into the hype that Obama will soon be “coming for your guns,” as the National Rifle Association is smartly warning its legions of gun-toting supporters. Sobering because our already firearm-friendly country is becoming even more populated with pistol-packing lemmings who have no idea how to use one properly.

So, all we want for Christmas is a new Colt .45? A Smith & Wesson? An assault rifle? Boxes of ammunition? Apparently so, local gun store owners say.

“Business has really taken off since Election Day,” Les Blythe, owner of Blythe’s Sports Shop in Valparaiso, said.

“We’re even selling guns to people who I know will never use them,” said Blythe, whose brother, Rodger, runs the family’s Griffith store, in operation for 61 years. “And we’re selling to people who’ve never fired a gun before.”

Only in America, I say. But why? Because they are convinced that Obama will enact stricter gun laws during his second term in office. The same knee-jerk, backwoods “he’ll take our guns away” response happened in 2008 after Obama was elected, although no such gun laws ever materialized during his first term.

Four years ago, roughly 12.7 million background checks — the leading indicator of gun sales growth — were conducted across the country, a rise from the previous year. The rise has continued the past four years with another spike predicted through next year, according to The Associated Press.

“The gun industry was ready for [a rise in sales] this time around,” Blythe said.

Meaning, gun makers have been preparing for such a spike in sales in anticipation of Obama’s re-election. They must have been licking their chops on election night, regardless of their political leanings, when Obama beat Mitt Romney.

“We’re seeing new customers on a daily basis here,” said Mike Lanovich, owner of Downrange Dynamics in Portage, in business just over a year. “Our sales are definitely up.”

I heard similar feedback from other gun store workers, although most couldn’t go on the record with such statistics or opinions. Chain store companies such as Wal-Mart also declined comment on this issue, knowing it’s a polarizing topic for their customers.

“I bought my gun because I was told that I won’t be able to buy one as easily after Obama kicks in his new laws,” said Thomas L. of Crown Point, who asked not to print his last name so his family doesn’t find out. “They’d kill me if they found out. We’re not a pro-gun family.”

So why buy a gun then?

“What if I can’t buy one next year, or ever?” he asked me with a straight face.

Fear drives sales

Seriously, folks? You think you won’t be able to buy a gun, or certain types of guns, because Obama will put the hammer down on such sales? Please.

Obama has yet to do anything substantial related to the gun industry and, when he did, it’s been to expand gun owners’ rights, such as allowing them to bring guns into national parks and Amtrak trains. His administration has repeatedly claimed the president has no intention of stripping away the Second Amendment and its rights, including during his second term.

Gun owners, of course, don’t believe that, so they’re stockpiling weapons — just in case.

Just in case Obama renews a ban on assault rifles, as he allegedly hinted during a presidential debate against Romney. Or so his critics think.

In response to a question on gun violence, Obama replied, “I believe in the Second Amendment. Part of [the solution] is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced, but part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence.”

That’s all it took for his critics, and the NRA, to reignite their claims, beliefs and convictions that Obama will surely be taking away their beloved firearms. I don’t see it that way, especially considering that nearly one in two Americans now have a firearm in their home, according to a Gallup Poll survey.

Owning a gun in this country is just as American as our off-the-charts homicide rates. And gun sales are already up roughly 20 percent this year, partly in reaction to the “Batman” movie massacre in Colorado and our lackluster economy.

“Anytime there is economic hardship, gun sales go up because people are concerned for their safety,” Lanovich said.

Smith & Wesson reportedly raised its sales forecast for 2013 to $540 million from its previous estimate of $485 million due to the spike in sales and orders for more guns. Gun makers must be ecstatic that Obama is back in office. Gravy days are here.

Who cares about the unwarranted hype that Obama will threaten gun owners’ rights or clamp down on sales of certain firearms? Fear alone has sold more guns than any mass shooting, local homicide or lame-duck president combined.

At the political watchdog site PolitiFact.com, several reports refute claims by the NRA, for instance, about Obama’s plans to remove your right to keep and bear arms. Check it out before believing everything you hear, read or are told.

But if you’re truly worried that you won’t be able to buy guns in the near future, relax, there are two gun shows taking place locally this weekend, one in Crown Point, the other in Schererville. I say to stockpile a few dozen more — just in case.

Just in case you have nothing better than fear, hype and ignorance to spend your money on.

Find more of Jerry’s writings on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and jerrydavich.wordpress.com.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.