Barack Obama: NRA’s Man of the Year
Okay, not officially. But I think secretly they’d love to hand him the title. Does he deserve it?
Well, consider this: During the first year of his tenure as president Americans bought a record 14 million+ guns.
That’s more than 21 of the world’s standing armies – combined.
Shocked? So was I when one of the members of my Repairman Jack website’s forum started a thread that broke the news. The site is frequented by liberals, conservatives, libertarians, anarchists, and a mixed group lovingly known as “the gunnies.”
So I wasn’t surprised by the thread itself, but the data it contained was an eye-opener: 14 million guns. The article compared that to the numbers of the world’s standing armies:
Countries By Number Of Troops: Source Wikipedia
People’s Republic of China 2,255,000 United States 1,473,900 India 1,414,000 North Korea 1,106,000 Russia 1,037,000 Pakistan 619,000 South Korea 687,000 Iran 545,000 Turkey 514,850 Vietnam 484,000 Egypt 450,000 Myanmar 428,250 Indonesia 400,000 Brazil 369,000 Thailand 306,600 Syria 296,000 Republic of China 290,000 Colombia 285,554 Germany 284,500 Iraq 273,618 Sri Lanka 266,700 13,785,972
The post-election surge in gun sales was big news back in late ‘08 and early ‘09, but I had no idea it had continued through the entire year. The initial surge was understandable: Democrats have a supermajority, many Democrats hate the 2nd Amendment, so you’d better buy a gun now or you may never have the chance. Rumors of a $3 tax per round of ammo were in the air. (Perhaps that explains the reported ammo shortage.)
The number is based on NCIS background checks (check the multi-year chart here), so the number of weapons purchased may be higher due to multiple purchases per check.
And let’s not forget, NCIS logs only legal gun sales.
Does any of this really mean anything? The chart shows that the number of background checks holds in a steady range of 8.5 to 9 million per year from 1998 through 2005. Then an 11% jump in ‘06, a 12% jump in 2007, followed by a 13% jump in 2008. So the 10% increase in ‘09 sales is not terribly dramatic, until you realize that it represents a 56% increase over the number of guns sold in 2005.
We’ve been called a gun-crazy society. If that’s so, with all these extra guns we must be killing each other off at an alarming rate. I mean, it’s the logical assumption. But the facts don’t bear that out. According to the FBI’s statistics, crime is down across the board. Again.
They say an armed society is a polite society, but it’s specious logic to attribute the fall in crime to the increase in weapon ownership. There’s certainly no way, however, that you can say more guns equals more crime.
So why the steady upsurge in gun sales the last 4 years? Can’t be Obama. Yes, a case can be made that his election was responsible for the all-time record sales in November and December of ‘08, but he wasn’t on the radar in 2006 when the uptrend began.
Something else is going on. I don’t pretend to know what. Maybe someone can clue me in. For now, consider this a heads up.