By Jeff Folloder
Another month and another article written during the pandemic of 2020. Many shows and events have been cancelled, and the public, at large, is bombarded with a never-ending series of statistics: It’s getting worse; It’s getting better; More people are recovering; The death rates are going down; The infection rate is going up; The ICUs are overwhelmed; The ICUs are not overwhelmed; Wear a mask: it may not protect you, but it will protect others if you have the COVID; Stay inside; It’s okay to exercise outside; Don’t go to public places unless you have to (personal note: it is impossible to stockpile salad). Our politicians and experts seem to give us an ever-changing guidance on what we can and cannot do and what we should and should not do. And all of this is in the midst of social and cultural outrage that has gripped the populace, causing indignation, anger and even fear.
We have an election coming up, and the mudslinging is reaching historic heights. All of this is conspiring to make many rethink what they thought they knew to be true. Turns out, if you defund the police, there’s not going to be as many “good guys” with a gun to come to your rescue. It’s also true that there are far too many police departments that are being tacitly told to turn a blind eye to all manner of shenanigans and lawlessness. This is causing an environment where people face fines for not wearing a mask but face utter ruin when law enforcement must all but stand down in the face of rioting and looting. In this uncertain environment, people are now turning more toward self-preservation.
It is a fact that there has been a string of record-breaking NICS background check numbers since the start of the pandemic. The most recent data has confirmed that trend. This is coupled with Gallup polls that show gun control has slid down the list of things concerning Americans these days. This combination suggests that there are likely a great many new gun owners and that self-defense is driving the background check surge. And all of this is occurring in the midst of what most firearms retailers are self-reporting as a time when inventory supply of popular firearms and ammunition is quite constrained. The fact that the FBI NICS office is reporting a more than two-to-one ratio of handgun to long gun sales further drives the point home: Americans are learning that protection is a matter of personal choice and not something that can be abdicated to the whims of politicians and popular sentiment.
We have an opportunity. We can embrace these new gun owners and welcome them with safety and information. We can offer to take them to the range and teach them how to properly use their firearms in a secure and responsible manner. We can show them the differences in various configurations and firearms—shotguns and rifles, pistols and revolvers, and yes, suppressors and short-barreled arms, too. We don’t have to start the discussion on why the shorties are regulated (they shouldn’t be and neither should the suppressors), but we do need to show new gun owners what their new world looks like and how to get questions answered. We might make some new and long-lasting friends. Then we might want to introduce them to the world of real, automatic weapons, mostly because we all already know exactly how big that smile is going to be the first time they dump a mag down range. This is an opportunity that should not be wasted. We have a chance to expand our community in the face of chaos. Don’t let the chance slip away. These folks have the potential to become voters for the right cause. The NFATCA has been committed to growing the NFA community for almost 15 years. We seek to help our community act responsibly and safely within the law. We work with legislators and regulators to expand NFA opportunities for everyone. Our Board and our members are being those responsible people even as the country trembles. We thank you for your continued support. Thank you and don’t forget to sign up or renew your membership today at nfatca.org/join.htm.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V24N9 (November 2020)|