The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reported last week that from January through July more than 12 million background checks for the purchase of firearms were processed, an increase of 71 percent from the same period a year earlier. “That equates,” said the group, “to nearly 5 million first-time gun owners in the first seven months of 2020.”
An analysis of those background checks by the NSSF further revealed that almost 60 percent of those purchases “were among African-American men and women, the largest increase of any demographic group. Women comprised 40 percent of first-time gun purchasers.”
The NSSF opined that it was the combination of mayors and governors emptying prisons of violent felons in response to the COVID threat, the “peaceful protests” being taken over by radicals such as Antifa and BLM, and the resulting looting, burning, and riots that were followed by calls to defund the police that “continued to spur sales.”
Further encouraging sales, said the NSSF, was the fact that “Democratic candidates Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) are calling for stringent gun control measures, including forcible confiscation, banning entire classes of firearms from lawful possession, licensing schemes and repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act which would expose the firearm industry to frivolous and harassing lawsuits.”
The NRA welcomed the new owners, tweeting that “New Gun Owners Could Sway Future Elections,” adding hopefully that “voters who recently bought guns for self-defense will join other 2A voters and be an even more formidable voting bloc. They know anti-gun politicians are the biggest threat to their fundamental right to self-defense.”
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), called it a “sea change”:
We’ve witnessed something that is nothing short of a sea change, and in some cases might approach the level of epiphany, about gun ownership. This new wave of gun owners could become a formidable force during this year’s election.
From now on, we expect millions of new gun owners to pay closer attention to candidates, and reject those who would trample on their Second Amendment rights.
Those new purchasers are also learning just how difficult it is to purchase a firearm these days. Said NSSF’s Larry Keene: “One of the things we’ve heard repeatedly from retailers over the last several months, going back to the onset of the pandemic, was first-time buyers shocked by all of the laws that they were required to comply with, including, for example, California’s 10-day waiting period. And it was not uncommon for retailers to tell us these customers would say things like ‘why do I have to wait ten days? I’m a law-abiding citizen. I need a firearm now.’”
But will all, or even a significant majority, of those new gun owners automatically vote for Trump in November? Probably not. Most of them are acting out of fear, not ideology. It’s only the well-informed who are likely to turn out in significant numbers for the president on Election Day. And that’s the challenge of groups such as the NSSF, the NRA, and the CCRKBA: converting those new owners into pro-Trump voters.
But Trump is getting a lot of help elsewhere in his quest for another four years. Over the weekend, Bruce LeVell, executive director of Trump’s National Diversity Coalition, told One America News that he expects more than 20 percent of black voters to turn out for the president in November. This is backed by polls showing a rejection of the Democrat nominee, especially among younger black voters, by similar numbers.
And Trump is getting endorsements from unlikely and unexpected organizations, including police unions, which have traditionally supported Democrat candidates.
And then there’s the surprise support coming from Democrat mayors in the so-called Iron Range of Minnesota. In a letter of support for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, mayors of Chisholm, Ely, Two Harbors, Virginia, Eveleth, and Babbitt declared:
Today, we don’t recognize the Democratic Party. It has been moved so far to the left it can no longer claim to be advocates of the working class. The hard-working Minnesotans that built their lives and supported their families here on the [Iron] Range have been abandoned by radical Democrats.
We didn’t choose to leave the Democratic Party, the party left us….
Lifelong politicians like Joe Biden are out of touch with the working class, out of touch with what the country needs, and out of touch with those of us here on the Iron Range and in small towns like ours across our nation.
It might not necessary for the president to receive large numbers of votes from those five million new gun owners, or even a significant number of them, to win reelection. He is expanding his support among evangelicals and independents. He is receiving help from the Democrats as they try to prop up their candidate who is clearly failing mentally. With COVID infections declining and the economy improving, the Democrat-supported riots, along with calls to defund the police, are providing a wake-up call to undecided voters about the stark difference open to them in November.
Democrats are about to reap the harvest of their evils — the unintended consequences of hoping the riots would damage the president and learning, too late, that those riots are working against them and their candidate.
With an estimated 150 million gun owners in the U.S. owning more than 400 million firearms, a little nudge from new gun owners would be welcome in November, especially if the Democrats are able to subvert part of the voting process.
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