By Larry Keane
Americans are sending a message of their own, despite President Joe Biden’s continued push to restrict their Second Amendment rights. They are choosing to protect themselves.
Two key markers demonstrate Americans in 2021 are voting with their wallets and politicians would be wise to take note. Gun sales continue at elevated levels and if elected officials don’t take heed, they could find themselves out of office and looking for work.
Low Public Safety Marks
President Biden has been pushing a strict gun control agenda since campaigning for the White House. He called the firearm industry, which guarantees the ability for law-abiding Americans to exercise their Second Amendment rights, “the enemy.” He wants to dismantle it. His executive actions are about limiting the rights of law-abiding Americans, while all but ignoring the criminals perpetrating the crimes.
That’s not lost on the American public.
A new ABC News/Ipsos poll shows the president is underwater on crime and safety, according to Newsweek. Only 37 percent of Americans give their approval to President Biden on his handling of crime and gun violence, representing a five-point drop in four months.
Other polling shows Americans’ growing disapproval of more gun control as Congress continues pushing it and the U.S. Senate stalls on considering the president’s nomination of David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Several outlets have reported on the polling, which even includes a drop among self-described Democrats.
Claiming Gun Rights
Gun sales shattered records in 2020. So far in the first half of 2021, the pace hasn’t slowed, with nearly 9.8 million background checks completed for the sale of a gun in the first six months of the year. Stephen Gutowski’s The Reload reported on NSSF’s Adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) numbers for June, noting the more than 1.2 million checks were second only to June of last year. Also reported was that the first quarter in 2021 was on pace to beat the record first quarter of 2020. In 2020, 40 percent of purchases were first-time buyers, good for more than 8.4 million new gun owners.
“First-time gun owners, young and old from across the country, are helping to push record levels of gun sales for what looks like the second year in a row,” noted NPR. “These buyers are white, Black, Asian and Latino and come from all political beliefs. And they’re being driven by uncertainty, fear and a need to feel safe.”
The Hartford Courant reported that “Jenny,” a stay-at-home mom, purchased her first firearm recently as well. Of the tumultuous last year, she said, “It was such an unpredictable time, and people were under a lot of stress. I realized I was responsible for my own self-defense.”
As millions more Americans realize the president, Congress and their local governments aren’t willing to take necessary steps to keep them safe, they’re turning to the local gun store and retailer.
Geneva Solomon, owner of Redstone Firearms in Burbank, Calif., said enrollment in her firearm safety and education classes is way up. “We’ve definitely seen an uptick in the class options we offer. Before they would never sell out. Now they sell out two days after we post them.”
Americans will continue to exercise their right to buy firearms if their safety continues to be jeopardized by politicians pushing “woke” public safety agendas and cutting law enforcement budgets.
In a bit of good news ahead, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear a potential landmark Second Amendment case in the coming term that could strike down state-level restrictions on concealed carry in New York. The nomination of David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has also skidded to a halt and police chiefs are making it clear they’ve been hamstrung by politicians to keep citizens safe. Americans previously rebuffed efforts by billionaire gun control funder Michael Bloomberg in 2019 and 2020 to buy more seats in Congress. His attempt failed. That may be the case again in 2022 as public safety remains at the forefront.
Americans will keep demanding their Second Amendment rights and exercising that right at the local retail counter. Politicians who keep plugging their ears and shutting their eyes to reality will soon be looking for new work.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.