Do Government Acts Encourage More Gun Sales?: Sometimes political and governmental actions influence the number of gun sales. Last year, there was almost a record number of gun background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Nearly 39 million checks were conducted – slightly lower than last year. Also, December of 2021 saw 3.1 million checks – almost another record.
Let’s take a look at proposed federal government proposals and policies that could influence more people to purchase firearms.
No More Ghost Guns
The Biden administration has been busy promulgating rules and policies in accordance with its gun policy agenda. In April of 2021, the Biden White House announced several executive actions addressing gun violence. The first is to eliminate “ghost guns.” These are weapons that are used by criminals who acquire a kit of parts and directions to assemble the firearm. They can do this sometimes in as little as half an hour. These guns do not have background checks or serial numbers that can be traced by law enforcement. The Department of Justice announced in May 2021 they would close regulatory loopholes on “frames and receivers” used to make ghost guns.
Sidearms Into Rifles, Red Flag Laws, and Locking Up Guns
The DOJ was also ordered by the White House to crack down on pistols that have a “stabilizing brace” that can turn a sidearm into a short-barreled rifle.
The Biden administration proposed making model legislation for states to institute “red flag” laws that enable family members or police to determine that people who are a danger to themselves or others would be banned from buying weapons.
President Biden encouraged gun owners to lock their weapons as it potentially reduces the level of suicides. The president agrees with researchers who believe that access to guns can triple the rate of suicide. The administration also “established zero tolerance for rogue gun dealers who willfully violate the law.”
The Gun Control Agenda that Biden Campaigned For
But the Biden administration has much more ambitious plans when you examine its gun control proposal made during the 2020 election.
According to these campaign positions, President Biden wants to ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. While the definition of assault weapons is unclear, this would likely ax the AR-15 family of rifles, AK-47s, and their variants. Owners of these guns would have to register them as National Firearms Act weapons (like machine guns and suppressors). And you would have to pay a $200 tax on each assault weapon and magazine over ten rounds, according to the proposal. Or, at least in theory, you could sell these items back to the government.
Limiting Number of Gun Purchases and Requiring a Gun License
Biden also proposed during the campaign that no gun purchases or ammunition could be made online and that all buys would be at authorized gun dealers. You would also be limited to the purchase of only one gun per month, according to the 2020 election-year proposal. The agenda also stipulates that plaintiffs could sue gun dealers and manufacturers for crimes perpetrated with the arms they make or sell. Biden also proposed requiring states to force people to have a license before they could own a gun.
Biden’s Agenda Makes Gun Owners Worry…and Drive Up Gun Sales
While the Biden administration has not proceeded with many of their proposed gun laws, executive orders, and administrative rulings, you could see how gun owners could be worried. Proponents would say that the country is afflicted by gun violence and mass shootings so change is necessary, but opponents would point out these proposals penalize legal gun owners who possess firearms for lawful self-defense, hunting, and target shooting.
It appears the main intent of Biden’s proposal is to ban assault weapons. The registration and tax of the assault weapons idea particularly punish those who currently own these types of guns and who use them lawfully.
To be sure, there are other conditions that are affecting the sale of guns beyond proposals of government action. There is a nationwide crime wave that worries people and influences their purchase of guns. Hunting licenses have spiked as people want to get out in nature following Covid-19 pandemic quarantines. Supply chains disruptions have in some ways negatively affected the number of guns available for sale encouraging some to buy before conditions get worse.
But the political and adversarial nature of gun opponents’ governance agenda is alarming to many gun owners. It could encourage people to buy guns when they believe that their Second Amendment rights continue to be threatened. 2022 may see a spike upward in gun sales as the Biden administration continues to curtail certain aspects of gun ownership. 1945 will keep you abreast of the situation this year as it develops.
Now serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.