Whatever else the panic over coronavirus COVID-19 is proving to Americans who are rushing to gun stores to purchase their first firearm, it’s that they have been consistently lied to by the gun prohibition lobby about the “easy availability” of firearms.
Firearms retailers have been jammed with customers. The National Instant Check System (NICS) has been overwhelmed. The Tulsa World quoted firearms retailer David Stone stating, “My ammo sales are up 500% and gun sales probably 30%…The NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) line, where it used to take five minutes, now it’s taking 40 minutes to an hour just to get the operator.”
Blogging for Omaha Outdoors, writer Andrew Tuohy was blunt: “Here at Omaha Outdoors, we’ve been inundated with inquiries from out-of-state folks – many from California – asking if we can ship them a gun directly. The answer is, of course, no. Despite what politicians and many in popular media claim, you can’t buy a gun online and have it shipped to your house.”
The Washington Free Beacon noted, “The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on the gun and ammunition industry, as well as the FBI’s background check system, due to surging demand…The surge is also causing delays in FBI background checks, forcing gun owners and first-time buyers alike to wait for their purchases to be approved. In the worst affected areas, the normally instantaneous checks could begin to take weeks.”
So much for former President Barack Obama’s claim in 2016 that, “We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than to get his hands on a computer or even a book.”
His assertion was so outrageous that even PolitiFact found it to be “mostly false,” and they cut Obama plenty of slack.
Depending upon the state, there may be a waiting period and in some jurisdictions one even has to apply for a permit to purchase a handgun before actually shopping. There is always a background check on retail purchases from licensed gun dealers, and in states such as California and Washington, background checks are required on all transfers, including private sales.
For years, gun prohibitionists have claimed guns are so easily purchased that anyone can do it, but that hasn’t been the case since the Gun Control Act of 1968 started requiring paperwork, and the Brady Law of 1993 started the background check requirement and gave birth to the NICS system, which became fully operational a few years later, in 1998.
Since November of that year, according to the most recent available data, the NICS system has logged more than 33.8 million initiated background checks. While that number doesn’t translate one-on-one to completed firearms sales, it is a good gauge on the volume of activity.
It’s not just panic from the COVID-19 outbreak. Spring has arrived, and millions of shooters are now able to get back outside to engage in outdoor competitions, early varmint hunting and spring turkey hunting.
But for people purchasing their first firearm, or someone who is adding to his or her personal arsenal, new laws have added more red tape in some jurisdictions.
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In Virginia, for example, Democrats restored the one-handgun-per-month restriction. That makes it less easy to purchase a sidearm.
Even with new restrictions in some states, anti-gun groups will continue claiming that guns are too readily available.
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