Even after a gunman slaughtered a dozen moviegoers and injured scores more this summer in Aurora, Colorado, President Obama was careful not to utter anything that could be construed as anti-gun. He merely alluded, vaguely, to a need to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. His reluctance to challenge the status quo on gun control (or the lack thereof) was again on display during October's town hall debate in which he briefly alluded to the wisdom of reinstating an assault weapons ban before clumsily changing the subject to education.
But that was all before November 6. With the election over and Obama freed from the restraints of electoral politics, he can now drop his pro-Second Amendment charade and get down to reinstating the assault weapons ban he's shown little appetite for before moving to wrest firearms of all types from freedom-loving Americans. That's the Obama Glenn Beck was referring to when he told listeners to stock up on guns and farmland.
The Real America has taken heed. This weekend saw several articles identifying a post-election spike in gun sales, which have been particularly strong in Texas. The FBI had previously reported an 18-percent spike in firearm background checks in the months leading up the election.
Since then, sales have continued to increase, at least according to anecdotal reports. Sales at Jim Pruett's Guns and Ammo in Houston have gone "through the roof," he told the Houston Chronicle. "It's beyond our wildest imagination." At Cheaper Than Dirt Outdoor Adventures in Fort Worth, guns have been moving at twice the rate of last year, according to the Star-Telegram.
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"There's a lot of paranoia out there," Michael Hill, a Cheaper Than Dirt shopper, told the paper. "But [Obama] has nothing to lose now because he won't be re-elected again." Another shopper, Ron Cody, said, "I believe Obama is anti-gun and I think he eventually will try to take them away from people."
That, of course, is a political nonstarter. Even a ban on assault weapons, which seems like it should be an uncontroversial, commonsense public safety measure, doesn't appear to be in the cards, at least in the foreseeable future. Obama is, understandably, more worried about averting the fiscal cliff and a politically induced recession and is unlikely to waste what political capital he has trying to ram through divisive gun control legislation.
Of course, not all gun buyers are paranoid about the imminent arrival of a leftist police state. The Star-Telegram piece closes with Craig Shewmake, who has bought two AR-15s since the election but that he's not particularly concerned that Obama is after his weapons.
"I kind of think end times are coming, so I'm loading up," he said. So there's that.