New Gun Owners and the Election

New Gun Owners and the Election

The numbers are simply astonishing. Between the beginning of March and the end of June 2020, Americans bought in the neighborhood of 8.3 million guns. Per the National Shooting Sports Foundation, around 40% of these were sold to first-time buyers. If this pace is maintained—and it seems likely that it will be—this year will go down in history as having featured the largest number of private gun sales since federal records began. For decades, opponents of the Second Amendment have argued that there is no need for a robust right to keep and bear arms when the government is there to keep the peace. In service of this argument, advocates of stricter gun-control have assured voters that “only cops need guns,” and insisted that “if you want a rifle, join the army.” This year, however, these arguments have almost totally evaporated, and, in their place, we have heard calls for the complete abolition—or at least the substantial weakening—of our right to keep and bear arms by presidential candidate Joe Biden. There are now several million more gun-owners in the United States than there were at the beginning of the year—and, if the trend continues, there will be millions more than that by its end. For the first time in their lives, many of those new gun owners have a practical stake in the preservation of the Second Amendment, and in the prevention of draconian gun-control laws that attempt to criminalize their peaceful behavior and make scapegoats of the peaceful. […]

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