We all know about the enormous spike in gun sales. Thanks to COVID-19 worries, violent protests, and hysteria in general people are buying guns and all related stuff at record highs. A lot of those purchases are being made by newbies to firearm ownership including people who were pretty anti-gun before.
There are some who think this means we’ll have a far greater turnout for pro-gun voting in November. More gun sales mean a pro-2A White House, right? Wrong.
David Yamane, who is a sociologist, a pretty cool guy and a dedicated shooter, has had a few things to say about trends in sales and how they relate to voting.
“People within the gun culture are very excited about these new gun owners and are hoping to bring these people into the fold politically,” said David Yamane, a sociologist at Wake Forest University, “but I think that’s going to be more easily said than done.”
Yamane, himself a gun owner, has written extensively about how American gun culture has evolved to center on personal defense rather than the recreational use of firearms. One feature of what Yamane calls ”gun culture 2.0” is its inclusion of women, non-whites, progressives, and LGBTQ people. Yamane said he believes that an acceleration of the interest in guns within these “marginal groups” has helped drive the surge, which is in keeping with what gun rights and firearms industry groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation have been claiming.
Yamane cautioned that acquiring a gun does not guarantee a shift in attitude toward firearms regulation and that Americans are too politically entrenched for the high sales alone to swing the debate or bring about a further loosening of laws. “A huge influx of new gun owners is not going to change the political dynamics of California, for instance, or Oklahoma,” Yamane said.
Sociology is Yamane’s thing and he is definitely in touch with the realities of the gun world. You might not want to hear it, but no, there is no wave of Second Amendment love about to sweep the nation.
How many of those recently purchased guns do you think are being used compared to the number remaining in the box they came in or languishing in a safe?
Fear is driving gun sales. Yes, some people will change their stance on gun rights along the way, but that’s likely to be a small minority. Even if they all decided gun rights were suddenly valuable it’s unlikely they’d change how they are going to vote in November. There are all kinds of reasons for them to vote in a way that’s counter to their gun rights, reasons ranging from Orange Man Bad to old habit to, well, fear.
The average person does not understand gun control, gun rights, or gun laws. They might believe they do, but reality is something else entirely. A brand new gun owner who was previously anti-gun or at least confused by the issues surrounding firearm ownership isn’t likely to change their mind so quickly.
It takes time, experience, and understanding. They likely don’t comprehend the gravity of the situation or realize just how important this election year has become. That means they’re not going to magically alter their voting habits just because they finally caved and bought their first gun.
That brings us back to education, something that’s been mentioned before. Put some work into educating newcomers to the gun world who you know about their gun rights. Try not to take the scary approach. Stick with facts and reason.
If you know this is a person who works better with emotional appeals, fantastic, but if not, try to leave emotion out of it. For many people it works best if you explain things logically and rationally using history and current events to communicate why their gun rights matter.
Understand that it’s a work in progress, though. It’s going to be a rare situation where someone buys a gun and suddenly changes their mind.
Above all, get out and vote. If you think all your vote is going to do is cancel out someone else’s vote, great. At least you canceled theirs out. But don’t get cocky and don’t assume gun rights are safe from all comers. They aren’t.