By Clinton Gill
Glade Sun editor
After the 2008 election, gun sales went ballistic. The number of background checks conducted in November of that year dwarfed all previous counts. Gun owners expected Mr. Obama to take away their firearms. But despite all of the hype, Mr. Obama was largely silent on gun ownership rights during his first term. Over the course of his latest campaign he promoted his back-burner stance as good faith proof that he had no intentions of restricting gun ownership. "I'm not gonna take away your guns," he said.
In the very last presidential debate, however, the president tipped his hand, alluding to his plans in regards to curbing the freedoms described in the Second Amendment. "Weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters don't belong on our streets. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced."
Within hours of the announcement that the president had been reelected, news was out that the U.S. planned to revisit the U.N.'s Arms Trade Treaty, and by the weekend, news surfaced that Dianne Feinstein, senator from the People's Republic of Kalifornia, had already started drafting legislation that would reinstate the so-called assault weapons ban from 1994.
According to Senator Feinstein, one of the co-authors of the original ban, 350 people have been killed by assault rifles since the ban was lifted in 2004. That's less than 44 people per year. To put that into perspective, 73 people die from lightning strikes each year, which means you are over 1.5 times as likely to be killed by lighting as you are by being shot by an assault rifle.
Now, it is no secret that Obama is not a fan of guns. Despite his rhetoric, he has a long, consistent history of supporting restrictions of gun ownership rights. His home state of Illinois has the most restrictive gun laws of any state, yet, Chicago has some of the highest incidence of gun violence. Mr. Obama referenced this violence in the last debate. His statement, though largely overlooked, was a shadowy forecast of things to come. This is where he tipped his hand–"Part of it is also looking at other sources of the violence. Because frankly, in my hometown of Chicago, there's an awful lot of violence and they're not using AK-47s. They're using cheap handguns," he said.
The implications of this statement was evidently unnoticed by the majority of the electorate, but gun owners caught it. Sales have gone through the roof since the election. "A new single-day record for point-of-sale background checks was established on Black Friday, Nov. 23, when 154,873 were conducted by the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). That total was nearly 20 percent more than the previous high of 129,166 set on Black Friday last year." Logic dictates that if the administration wants to ban assault rifles, despite the rarity of their use for nefarious purposes, then why wouldn't they ban handguns, which account for the majority of deaths?
Contrary to the rhetoric proponents of firearms bans emote, facts show that stricter gun laws do not correlate with less crime. Mexico, for instance, has some of the strictest gun control laws of any country—as well as one of the world’s highest annual death tolls as a result of gun violence, 60,000 in the last six years. Conversely, a new study by a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University has found that gun sales in Virginia have increased 73 percent in the last six years, while gun-related crimes fell by 24 percent.
Stricter gun laws do, however, correlate with oppressive regimes. We all know the comparisons that are frequently made with gun control and what happened in Germany in 1928, and further how crazy people sound whenever they bring it up. After all, this is America, that could never happen here.....could it?