Biden is a Better Gun Salesman than Obama 

First quarter 2021 gun sales highest in history

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Joe Biden has not yet been president for 100 days but he’s already proven to be a better gun salesman than Pres. Obama. Gun sales in the first quarter of 2021 are the highest first quarter on record. Sales in March were through the roof, with over 2 million background checks. This is the second highest month in history- except March last year when the U.S. was under a lockdown. 

The jump is a result of Pres. Biden calling for more gun control laws and threatening to do it by executive action. It’s a matter of pride for the president.

“I’m the only one that’s ever gotten it passed, man.  Everybody keeps wondering whether I cared about dealing with rational gun control.  The only gun control legislation ever passed was mine.  It’s going to happen again,” he said on March 28. 

The gun industry predicts that sales will continue to stay at these heightened levels in coming months while Democrats in Congress and the White House threaten to pass gun control laws. 

"Americans will keep buying guns while they fear President Biden takes executive actions, and the Senate takes up gun control laws, likely later this spring," Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, told me on Friday.

"External events that drive anti-gun politicians to go on TV calling for gun control will also result in higher sales as people fear their Second Amendment rights will be infringed,” Keane added. 

The NSSF data on gun sales is take from the number of National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which the FBI provides, then subtracting out  the checks for conceal carry permits.

  • First quarter 2021 -- 5,483,342 checks

  • First quarter 2020 -- 4,841,126 checks 

  • March 2020 -- 2,375,525 checks

  • March 2021 -- 2,044,136 checks

“Assault weapon” ban

Biden jumped on gun control the day after the horrific mass shooting in a grocery store in Boulder, CO that killed 10 innocent people, including a police officer on March 22.

“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again.  I got that done when I was a senator.  It passed.  It was law for the longest time, and it brought down these mass killings,” said the president. 

Biden is wrong that the assault weapon ban brought down mass shootings. It had no effect at all. That’s why the FBI told Congress to let it expire  when the 10 year law ended in 2004.  

Mass shootings — defined killing four or more people unrelated to the shooter and in a public space — are extremely rare. They also don’t follow any crime pattern over the decades they have been counted by law enforcement, some years more, some years less.

(Keep in mind that rifles of all kinds are only about 300 of the 13,000 homicides by firearm each year. But the public sees scary black guns and it’s an easy feel-good measure to be against them. )

FBI Background Checks

Gun sales in March likely also increased when Biden said that, “We can close the loopholes in our background check system, including the ‘Charleston loophole.’  That’s one of the best tools we have right now to prevent gun violence.”  

The “Charleston loophole” sounds like a dance, but it’s the myth that the 2015 church killer  would not have been able to buy his gun if the law had allowed the dealer to prevent giving it to him while the FBI did a background check for longer than three days. In fact, the murderer had nothing on his record that would have prohibited him possessing a gun and he committed the crime months later, not days.

The other big factor for gun sales in the last 30 days is that Biden is pushing the Senate to take up the two gun control bills that the Democratic-controlled House passed in March. The bills are to close the nonexistent “gun show loophole” and private sales and to expand from three to 10 days the amount of time the government has to do an “instant” background check before a gun sale. 

“The United States Senate — I hope some are listening — should immediately pass the two House-passed bills that close loopholes in the background check system,” said Biden on March 23.  “These are bills that received votes of both Republicans and Democrats in the House.  This is not and should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue.  It will save lives, American lives,  and we have to act.”

The so-called “universal background check” law is in effect in Colorado, and the shooter passed it because there is nothing in his background that makes him ineligible to possess a gun. But it doesn’t really matter. An evil mass murderer is not going to stop because he can’t buy a gun at a store. 

Remember, Biden didn’t even know how enforcing the current background check law worked until an NRA lobbyists told him in 2013. (See my story here for the background.) 

These loopholes are just the Democrats’ latest PR gimmick to expand background checks to private sales and track every single gun in the country. 

While it does not appear now that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) could get the 60 votes to pass these bills, Democrats are reaching out to Republicans to try to find wording that could get them on board. 

Meanwhile, Biden is threatening to do whatever he wants with executive actions. “There is an ongoing review of executive actions, and something that he is certainly personally committed to, and hopefully we’ll have more to say on that soon,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday. She also said the president is looking at if he can “remove liability protections for gun manufacturers.”

Pandemic Violence

The spike in gun sales in the last year has also been a result of urban protests and violence, calls for defunding the police and targeted assaults. 

Anti-Asian violence has driven a dramatic increase in purchasing in that community.  Keane said NSSF data shows a 43 percent increase in Asian-Americans buying guns from 2019 to 2020. Of course they want to be able to defend themselves from mass murderers like the one in Atlanta in mid March who killed eight innocent people in his spree. 

Gun sales have been at extremely high levels since the pandemic started and the government issued shut down orders. People were scared and wanted to defend their homes and families.

But sales would naturally decrease this year as the pandemic is ending with so much of the country having been vaccinated. Instead gun sales are at an all time high again because of Biden’s determination to finally pass the laws he’s wanted his whole career. 

Democrats never learn that pushing gun control laws promotes stockpiling. It’s fear-based supply and demand. And none of it has a legitimate policy purpose.  No gun control law has ever been proven to reduce gun crime.

But Biden doesn’t seem to care about what works -- or rather what has failed in the past-- he just what sounds good.

And who can argue with “common sense” gun laws? I can. 

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Emily Miller is the author of the book “Emily Gets Her Gun” about gun control laws and policies.