Call it the irony of all ironies; during Barack Obama’s time in the White House, handgun production soared, according to a recent analysis by FactCheck.org.
Obama was widely viewed as the most anti-gun Oval Office occupant in the nation’s history, although – as noted by FactCheck.org – “he also proposed several new gun laws that never passed.”
During Obama’s tenure, the report noted, “annual U.S. handgun production nearly tripled, as millions of Americans flocked to buy firearms.” Interestingly, anti-gunners have claimed repeatedly that the number of American gun owners is declining.
But could part of this spike be due to “panic buying?” American consumers seem habitually to flock to stores to buy products when there is a fear that the product may be less available in the future. Recall the episode in 1973 now known as “the great toilet paper scare” that apparently was ignited when then-Tonight Show host Johnny Carson cracked a joke about a news item he had read regarding a possible shortage of commercial bathroom tissue. What ensued is detailed in a story that appeared in Priceonomics.com. The late Mr. Carson was merely making light of a report he’d seen in a newspaper, something late night comedians do, and he was good at it. But the panic that followed stunned everyone, including Carson, and even Snopes explains how the story took on a life of its own, despite the fact that Carson personally tried to derail the panic by telling his viewing audience “there is no shortage.”
So, tell someone they may not be able to buy a firearm at some future date – particularly a semi-auto modern sporting rifle, for example – and there will be a predictable rush to gun stores starting the next day. The ammunition “shortage” of two years ago became something of a self-fulfilling prophesy when people would flock to gun shops and gun shows to buy ammunition by the case, cleaning out supplies and leaving others empty-handed, thus compounding the problem.
Also significant in the FactCheck report is an acknowledgement that the murder rate dropped to its lowest level on record in 2014. This occurred during the period that handgun sales were spiking, which suggests that the theory of more guns in private ownership equaling more crime may be all wet. During Obama’s last two years in office, the murder rate went back up, according to the report, finishing “at about the same rate as when Obama took office.”
“The government doesn’t collect figures on sales of guns. But the National Shooting Sports Foundation — the gun industry’s trade group — tracks approximate sales figures by adjusting FBI statistics on background checks to remove those not related to actual sales, such as checks required for concealed-carry permits.
“Those NSSF-adjusted figures also set a record in Obama’s final year, topping 15.7 million. That’s an increase of 75 percent above the 2008 level.”—FactCheck.org
Obama has been widely mocked by gun owners and Second Amendment activists as “the best gun salesman in America.” While there may be some veracity in that, all he did was suggest some gun control strategies.
The American public did the rest.