We’ve had several cycles of so-called “panic buying” of firearms and ammunition in the last twenty years. There was Y2K, when credible authorities warned us that the ticking of the clocks into the Year 2000 would blast all of the computer-dependent First World back into the Stone Age. There was the election of anti-gun President Barack Obama in 2008, and the 2012 Sandy Hook atrocity that triggered a wave of gun-banning sentiment, and the predicted election of Hillary Clinton that had a similar effect in 2016. Now, of course, the root cause is the coronavirus situation and the semi-shutting down of America.
The current crisis most closely mimics Y2K in one important respect: motivation for firearms purchases. In the buying surges in between these two events, there were certainly first-time buyers who were tipped over the edge by fear of impending legislation, but a majority of those purchasers were already gun owners who wanted to add an AR15, an 18-shot 9mm, or something similar to their gun collection before the opportunity to do so was foreclosed.
What Y2K had in common with the current situation is this: Credible sources warned the public of an oncoming dystopia in which criminals would run rampant, and something between the looting and related civil disturbances seen during Hurricane Katrina and a never-before-seen Mad Max situation would actually ensue. That’s why, during Y2K and in today’s situation, we have so many non-gun owners and even anti-gun people who believe they’re going to need a gun to defend their families, because Society has already told them that they won’t be able to count on government to protect them.
This time, though, it’s much more dangerous than Y2K. Twenty years ago, if your friend or relative bought a new gun, they could take a gun safety class or ask someone like you to show them the ropes. What’s different now is that coronavirus response has shut down most shooting ranges and prohibited the sort of adult education classes where firearms safety is taught. “Social distancing” commands make it difficult in some areas to even invite friends out to the farm to learn to shoot on the Back Forty.
Just as the economic shutdown has come at a time of peak prosperity, this surge of new gun owners comes at a time when accidental firearms fatalities are at their lowest point in recorded history. So, what can responsible current gun owners do under the circumstances?
Over at The Firearms Blog, they’ve done an excellent piece on that, which you can link to friends even if you’re all Self-Isolating and Social Distancing: https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2020/03/17/new-gun-safety/ . Share this with friends and relatives who have become new gun owners.
And feel free to share here anything you’ve done to educate our new crop of “We suddenly realized we needed one for real” gun owners.