Gun sales surge every four years as the election brings uncertainty to gun enthusiasts who want to stock up on their weapons just in case the political landscape changes. This year is no exception as October gun sales spiked 17 percent over the September number and were 18 percent higher than a year ago.
Gun owners fear Clinton
The increased gun sales reflect the concern of some firearm enthusiasts that if Hillary Clinton is elected president, tighter background checks, and restrictions on some types of weapons could be enacted. Whether or not Clinton would have any more success at enacting tougher gun control legislation than President Obama has been able to during his eight years in office is open to debate, but that has not prevented gun sales from increasing as the election draws near.
Gun sales have risen for 13 years
Rising gun sales have been a constant for the past thirteen years, and sales have increased every year since 2003. In 2015, the FBI processed 23 million firearm background checks, and the number is sure to increase this year.
Just guessing, I’d say we’re up 20 percent. It’s because a majority of people are afraid that if Hillary wins . . . she would limit their rights to keep and bear arms. — Grace Moates, owner of Bob Moates Sport Shop
Bill Clinton’s assault weapons ban
Many gun owners recall that it was during the presidency of Bill Clinton that a ban on some types of semi-automatic assault weapons and certain “large capacity” ammunition magazines were enacted. The legislation had a ten-year sunset provision, and it was not renewed in 2004 when the law expired.
Polls show majority favor stricter laws
Polls have consistently shown that a solid majority of Americans support stricter laws on the sale of firearms. A Gallup poll taken in June showed that 55% of the public favors stricter laws on guns, but only on certain types of weapons, primarily those weapons that are classified as assault weapons. Virtually no one is calling for a complete and total ban on the sale and possession of firearms, including Hillary Clinton.
State ballot measures
The gun lobby has been very effective at keeping gun control legislation at bay in Congress and at the state legislative levels. However, there are several gun control measures on state ballots in California and Washington state this November that are likely to win the support of the voters. If that happens, it may lead to an increase in gun control ballot measures as a way of bypassing the lobbying power of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Congress.
Any change in America’s gun laws will be a gradual one. Republicans appear likely to maintain control of at least one house of Congress after this election and the GOP will not move too far away from the position of the NRA. The NRA is opposed to any changes in the gun laws. However, with public opinion shifting in the direction of enacting some limited bans, there will be continual pressure on lawmakers to act.