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(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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By Larry Keane

When kicking a nest of vipers, there’s bound to be some hissing. That’s what happens when the light of truth shines into the darkest corners.

That’s what’s happening right now with gun control groups. They’re clamoring about, raising all sorts of noise about how it’s unfair, not right, plain dangerous and irresponsible that government would dare allow for commerce in firearms to be considered essential.

That’s not what they’re really mad about, though. Don’t be fooled. The real frustration is they know that they’re losing the argument and Americans are seeing them for what they really are.

The COVID-19 pandemic has the rest of America donning face masks, but it’s torn the mask off gun control groups. Lobbyists like Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, Brady Campaign, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence have all claimed to respect the Second Amendment and be in favor of only “common-sense” gun laws. They used to say they just wanted universal background checks or closing so-called loopholes.

Not anymore. They’ve completely ditched the rhetorical facade. Now, they’re on a tirade to stigmatize gun ownership. It’s the vocalizations of a cornered beast.

Americans Choose

More than 2.3 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm in March. That’s the biggest month on record. It was also largely unexpected.

When Americans became concerned about their safety, they reacted by taking responsibility for their own safety. Governors and mayors emptied jails and police departments were affected by infection, thinning the ranks of those who keep communities safe.

Rather than be a victim, Americans voted with their feet and with their wallets. Many retailers reported the bulk of these buyers were first-time gun buyers. Weeks ago, these were people who maybe never considered owning a gun. The gun control argument was esoteric. It didn’t apply.

But that changed when the gun buyers were faced with a new reality. Gun control debates quickly went from something rhetorical to existential. Personal and family safety became a real concern and they took responsibility.

That’s what got the gun control community all riled up. They lost the fence sitters. The ones who previously didn’t balk at their call for stricter laws and incremental grabs at freedoms suddenly abandoned them.

They walked away from the empty promises and joined over 100 million law-abiding gun owners who own, carry and use their firearms safely, legally and responsibly every day.

Smear and Pillory

Gun control groups won’t admit defeat, though. Instead, they villainize and stigmatize. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg-funded Everytown’s lawyers quickly dashed off a memo denouncing governors who dared to respect American rights by keeping gun retailers open during a health crisis.

Everytown’s John Feinblatt complained that the Trump administration wouldn’t bend to their view that rights protected under the Constitution are “special privileges” to be yanked at governmental whims.

“It is both shameful and nonsensical for the federal government to deem gun stores essential, a special privilege that millions of other shuttered small businesses can only dream about,” Feinblatt wrote.

When that’s not enough, they move to scare tactics. In the same column, Feinblatt started with the unfounded milquetoast claim, “Owning a gun does not make you any safer from it.” He wasn’t alone.

Brady Campaign’s Kris Brown likened gun ownership to coronavirus, a disease in search of a cure. “We will get a vaccine, we will get immunization for this in the longer term but there is no immunization for that gun that is now sitting in that person’s home” Brown told Newsweek.

Moms Demand Action leader Shannon Watts dismissed the notion of individual self-protection, instead painting gun owners as potential spouse and child abusers, mentally unstable and irresponsible.

Gifford’s David Chipman, a former agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said families should spend money on groceries and deadbolts for doors, rather than a firearm.

“It’s adding gasoline to a fire,” Chipman said in an interview. “My fear is that in a race to protect themselves from this pandemic, some people might be bringing a different danger right through their front door.”

Interestingly, Chipman is an admitted gun owner, but hasn’t volunteered to surrender his own personal firearms.

So, as Chipman demonstrates by his own actions, it’s not the gun that’s the problem. It’s that they’re not scaring people to not buy them.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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    • Yeah that’s the key statistic we’re missing. A LOT of those sales are to people who already own a gun and may by ‘gun guys.’ I know I did my part at the beginning of this. Ideally we’d like to see a bunch of people who’ve never owned guns and know nothing about them getting into it.

    • If there were 2.3M transfers and “the bulk” of them were first time buyers I don’t know why the message isn’t ….…MILLIONS of new gun owners.

      It would be a lot closer to the truth than what the gun grabbers spew.

    • A lot better article.

      A little nugget….

      The majority of these first timers lost their minds when we went through the Ammo Law requirements. Most used language not normally heard, even in a gun range. We pointed out that since no one working here voted for these laws, then maybe they might know someone who did. And, maybe they should go back and talk to those people and tell them to re-think their position on firearms – we were trying to be nice.

  1. They never had truth on their side. Thus, the lies. You have known killers like the kennedys, the milanos and the clintons pushing to disarm the future victims. Throw in socialism, the most blood soaked idealogy in the last 100 years trying to usurp the republic we have and is it any wonder people are arming up?

    • You know, if the bulk of the purchases were new owners then it makes sense that most of these new buyers were Democrats because conservatives already have their caches full.

      And so in fact if the purchasers are primarily Democrats than MDA statement implying that the new purchasers are potential spouse and child abusers, mentally unstable and irresponsible may in fact be mostly true.

  2. Hmmm…

    2.3 million NICS Checks in March. Few if any of these were old hands buying something to add to a large collection. I, for one, wasn’t in a gun shop in March and that is unusual, but I was avoiding crowds and crowded places.

    I would say that this was approximately 2.3 million new gun owners, who have made up their minds and aren’t going to be turned by Bloomberg’s minions.

    • “Few if any of these were old hands buying something to add to a large collection.”

      Verrrry interesting!! Today’s gun grabbers are now truly fearful that these new gun buyers are new owners as well. Oh dear, that could mean new 2A converts.

      They’re not using that old Harvard chestnut that “3 percent of gun owners possess 70 percent of all the guns, and are therefore politically insignificant”.

      BTW, lots of us “old hands” are still out there.


      • Because the “old hands”, if anything, were merely topping up on available ammunition. There is no such thing as too much ammunition.

        • For years I’ve been telling my wife that you can’t have too much toilet paper or ammunition. Now she knows why I kept telling her that.

    • “2.3 million NICS Checks in March. Few if any of these were old hands buying something to add to a large collection.”

      And what evidence do you have to back this up with?

      Not only did I add to my collection but on forums many, MANY other gun owners talked about doing the same.

    • The last time I was in a gun store here in NOVA was late March. A lot of the people inside were either looking for their first gun or were casuals looking to shoot at the indoor range after long absence. The phone rang off of the hook while I was checking over my Form 4 to send in as my SilencerCo can finally arrived after months of waiting. The question s on the phone were interesting to say the least. Lots of clueless people asking questions as they have no clue how to buy a gun or what is available. Of course this was just a single day, but the woman helping me said it had been like that all week. Now the ranges are closed around here. I think the stores are still open, but I haven’t checked. I’m staying away from that madness.

    • That majority were likely new owners. I wouldn’t say few if any. I bought a Glock 21 LE trade-in that I had my eye on. Used COVID as an excuse with my wife. She doesn’t like guns. I traded-in one of my P64 and a little cash for one. Been wanting a double stack .45.

      So I was one of those 2.3 million back in early March. But in talking to my LGS owner and a few other guys, like 75% of their sales were definitely new gun owners (if not more). Biggest issue in my state is most LGS ran out of shotguns. You must have a license to buy a handgun here and it just isn’t available now. Have to take a class (or be exempt for training, but that is a TINY minority of first time hand gun buyers who’d be exempt from training), live scan finger prints. Then wait about 2 weeks for state police to approve you. Then get your license mailed to you (another week). THEN you can buy a handgun. And wait 7 more days to go back and pick it up.

      All the LGS were sold out of shotguns and semi-auto rifles and PCCs ending the 2nd week of March as the rush in my state started after the 1st week of March. Not a lot of first time gun buyers buying bolt action rifles (probably fortunately?) and none could by handguns. Maybe a tiny number managed to jump through the hoops to get a handgun license and have picked their new handgun up by now. But almost no classes being offered anywhere, so I doubt it.

      The LGS are getting in shotguns occasionally. Mostly having to buy them from other out of state FFLs and then marking them up for the time and trouble. Over the state line in PA, the FFLs there were selling out of handguns and shotguns were a distant 3rd behind handguns and semi-auto rifles.

      Only thing that makes me sad is there weren’t/aren’t more first time gun buyers, buying up C&R long guns and then likely to ditch them at a big loss in a year or three, giving me some opportunities. Then again, they also aren’t snapping them all up driving up prices now.

  3. ” there is no immunity for that gun sitting in some ones’ home.” But there is an immunity for those that try to take the gun that sits in some ones’ home. Ask the British.

  4. Gatekeeping is still important. PoG must be welcoming but firm. If the new people start up with “I support the 2A, but”, “nobody needs”, or “guns for me, not for thee” stuff, show them the door, and make it be known that they’re not welcome in our circles.

  5. The thing that has bugged me the most about the graboids since I became a “gun guy” is not that they want you and me disarmed; it’s that they constantly lie about their intentions.
    “Nobody wants to take your guns….” It’s insulting that they think any of us would be gullible enough to believe them on that.

  6. Actually, there is something that makes them angrier.
    These first time buyers were their voter base… and they are shaming/insulting them.

    Yeah, if I was one of their voters and heard that tripe, I would never support them again out of sheer spite.

  7. As all these new owners come aboard the U.S.S. POTG, I hope they realize the following and vote accordingly:

    “A State may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the Federal Constitution.”
    – Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 (4)

    While this specific case was originally argued in relation to violations of the 1st Amendment, part (4) of the Opinion explicitly expanding the reasoning to encompass the entirety of the Constitution.

    “If the State converts a right into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right with impunity.”
    – Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262

    Hence, we should not be jumping through hoops and paying fees of any kind to purchase guns & ammo, or to obtain “permission” from the State or any Entity (which is itself an infringement, as we all know) to exercise and carry/bear our arms.

    • Adding on to your citations:
      “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436, 491.

      “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.” Miller v. US, 230 F 486, at 489.

      “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of this exercise of constitutional rights.” Sherer v. Cullen, 481 F 946

      “The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

      : Robert H. Jackson, US Supreme Court Justice West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

      I find the citation from Barnette especially interesting as it says that the entire Bill of Rights is off the political table.

  8. I all likelihood the actual number of new gun owners or gun purchases that could be reasonably identified as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak is undoubtedly skewed. The mainstream media will mostly bury most reporting of it. It didn’t happen! Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!
    If there’s a silver lining, it will be the number of potential voters increasingly cognizant of what candidates do and don’t support.

    • MLEE,

      “…it will be the number of potential voters increasingly cognizant of what candidates do and don’t support.”

      For those folk who bother to inform themselves, absolutely!

  9. Taking a page from Alinski’s manifesto: ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’, this panic-demic has strengthened support for the 2A. Let’s keep those new gun-owners involved and informed.

  10. Hopefully these new gun owners will not fall for the ” my owning a gun is o k , but yours has got to go” argument.

    • While doubt the majority of them will be, I have no doubts that as things calm down, in six months to a year’s time, they’ll be an deluge of various articles on the progressive tripe sites with headlines like, “I bought a gun during the Covid crisis. This is why I’m now surrendering it to the police”, or “why I regret buying a gun during the pandemic, and how this could start a conversation about gun control”.
      There will be plenty of “guns for me, not for thee” and “I didn’t need a guns, so neither does anyone else” types after all is said and done.

  11. Most of the new owners never thought about 2A before the panic and never will after the panic has passed. If they ever had a thought about 2A, or anything else for that matter, they would have tooled up a long time ago.

    They are not patriots. They are like wads of chewing gum in the jaws of history and they will be easily controlled once the present unpleasantness is over.

    • I am afraid that you are correct. This is just something they are doing because of what they are scared of at the moment. In the fall they will vote for whoever they imagine can protect them from ever having to be scared and take care of themselves again. We have also gone over a fiscal cliff and the Feds are more than ever a money redistribution organization. I am not optimistic about Nov.

  12. The uptick in gun sales is not just the virus. People throughout the country has watched what Governor Blackface and his cronies have done to the gun laws here in Virginia and realized it could happen to them in one election. Along with the people of Virginia, they have bought guns while they can and greatly increased the demand. I think the Bloomberg tactic to take over Virginia’s government might backfire in the end and increase gun ownership throughout the country which is exactly the opposite of his intent..

    • +1 on Governor Blackface ! 2.3 million PLUS those that bought one while they still could before July 1 without background check in VA .

  13. Fear makes people do things they wouldn’t normally do… so , I’ll be waiting for the hardly used weapons to hit the market after this is all over,,,a lot of these first time buyers still hang with the same snowflake’s that they did before the crisis, so you know their going to get a ear full of crap from them & want to unload their new toy that they are undoubtedly scared of.

  14. Yeah let the un American gun grabber stew over all the new gun owners taking advantage of their natural/civil right,Eff Em and the jackass they rode in on.

  15. Every citizen is a potential victim of violence. No pompous gun control ratbassturd is going to be anywhere around while you and yours are cornered by a criminal…That’s Chiseled.

  16. I don’t think that much has changed for the gun grabbers to get too worried about. Most voters are not one issue voters and if a Democrat new gun owner was sitting on the fence in regards to gun ownership, they will more than likely continue to support Democrats.

  17. The ELITES always FEAR the common folks being armed for self defense BUT they all own guns and/or have ARMED GUARDS to protect themselves, their family & their property.

    There is a completely appropriate word for such people: HYPOCRITES.

    Personally, I will stop protecting my family, self & our property with firearms just ONE day AFTER every “big shot” in the USA destroys their own firearms, fires their guards & NEVER again complains about anyone having firearms for “any otherwise lawful purpose”.

    Sincerely, Jim Freeman
    San Antonio, TX

  18. The “over 100 million gun owners” bullshit again. No different than the Soviet Democrats’ propaganda tactics.

    • First, where’d the “100 million” number come from? The increase was over 1,300,000 for March 2020 compared to March 2019. Is anyone of even a mostly serious mind claiming that equals over 1,000,000 new firearms owners? I’ve read some reasonable arguments supposing that could equate to a very large increase in the number of firearms owners and that the majority of those new owners could be former anti-RTKABA adherents. Out of roughly 200,000,000 people over 21 here in the USA I think it’s a reasonable assumption that we’ve added around a million new gun owners to the population. That it happened in the 26 business days of last month is truly remarkable. 50,000 firearms sold every business day, for an entire month more than the same time last year – something has changed in very dramatic way, what exactly is yet to be seen. But I’m hopeful we’ve turned an important corner in the fight to maintain our inherent human right to defend ourselves.

  19. The Philly inquirer editor opined that gun sales were wrong and Gov. Wolf should have stopped sales. While they wanted about the stupidity of buying guns they never mentioned the police releasing criminals and ignoring crime.
    Funny how they missed that reason for gun sales.

    I won’t post the link because I don’t want them to get any traffic.

    • Sounds like a carbon copy of the Times Union up here in the Albany footprint. Throw in no pretrial detention for “minor offenses” and you have the Coumo bail reform block party.

  20. I wonder what percent of those newbies have the intestinal fortitude to actually pull a trigger on another person – or several persons? There is a difference between owning a gun and being willing to kill someone with it.

  21. Just before this latest unpleasantness I added two new guns. A Ruger PC Carbine and a Remington R51. Did not need to buy ammo, I’ve far more than I can shoot in my remaining years. Not that I cannot be tempted to buy more ammo, successfully tempted that is, by a good sale price. I mean, that’s how I came to own the R51.

    I’m sure all this buying is a mix of newbies and not-newbies. If you meet the newbies, do be kind and helpful to them. We ant converts to good sense on firearms, we certainly don’t want to “rude them” back into the camp of “Common Sense Gun Reform”.

  22. People at work know I’m a gun guy. I’ve never advertised it. Never promulgated the PoTG lifestyle. I have met a couple of fellow employee’s at various classes and ranges though.
    Now to the interesting part. I received many messages and inquiries as to whether I had a gun for sale. The standard answer was, it depends. I managed to sell all of my budget/value priced guns to first time buyers. I may have even provided a box or two of the appropriate ammunition at cost. All purchasers signed a bill of sale stating they were not a prohibited person. I also checked ID to make certain they were residents of the state in which I reside.
    My point being, many, many more guns were sold to first time buyers than NICS would suggest. Armslist and local forums/gun sales sites were very busy.

  23. WHEN kicking a HORNET’S nest, there WILL be a LOT of BUZZING as the PERPETRATOR GETS STUNG . . . MANY times. Team Trump and his allies 2020.

  24. “It is both shameful and nonsensical for the federal government to deem gun stores essential, a special privilege that millions of other shuttered small businesses can only dream about,” Feinblatt wrote.

    What a brilliant argument! I wonder why he didn’t mention some of those “other shuttered businesses” specifically protected by the Constitution?

  25. Henry .45-70 and .300 win mag i probably am in that somewhere because I am getting guns off layaway that I started before all this happened. But because the paperwork isn’t done until delivery I’m probably in there a few times.


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