By Susanne Penegor
Local stores can’t keep gun ammunition in stock due to panic buying as consumers worry about the government’s willingness to propose new gun control legislation for law-abiding citizens. This bipartisan issue has turned guns and ammunition into hot commodities nationwide. Local stores limit the amount of ammunition consumers can buy and customers line up early in the morning to buy out ammunition in a matter of hours. A local Bi-Mart store said they had not had .22 shells available for sale for 3 weeks.
Gun clubs are adding gun safety and personal protection classes as women who have never shot a gun before are being told by their families to learn how to use one. Recently there was a proposal in Salem to limit Oregonian households to one gun per house. If that law had passed, the police would go door to door and take away extra guns from law-abiding citizens. Even hunters and gun collectors could have been impacted by this proposed bad legislation.
The panic buying of guns and ammunition fueled by recent proposed gun control legislation nationwide is spurred by rumors that the Obama Administration is trying to take away our Second Amendment rights, not by taking guns off the market–but by taking ammunition off of the market.
While the US doesn’t require gun registration yet, gun buyers are subject to background checks and fingerprinting. According to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey, the US has the best-armed civilian population in the world, with an estimated 270 million guns. That’s an average of 89 firearms for every 100 residents. Firearms that do require registration in the US that are subject to the National Firearms Act include machine guns, shotguns and rifles with barrels shorter than 18 inches and silencers.
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which handles that registration, there were more than 3.1 million National Firearms Act-registered weapons in the US as of March 2012. The National Rifle Association estimates that 100 million American own guns legally.
Some American cities have their own gun control laws now which prohibit guns in public parks. In Utah it is illegal to display a gun in public at all without being subject to a law prohibiting “brandishing” a gun in public. There is a crazy quilt of local laws for states and cities that have effectively amended the Second Amendment without having to go to Congress to change our Constitution.
The gun control enthusiasts don’t want to address the issue of how gun ownership saves lives or stops crime by using guns for self-defense. A recent Gallup poll noted that 3 in 10 Americans own a gun and most gun owners say they use their guns to protect themselves against crime, for hunting and for target shooting. According to a 2012 Gallup poll, Republican and Democratic gun owners are almost equally likely to say they use a gun for protection against crime, 64% to 69%, respectively. According to Gallup, male gun owners are more likely than female owners to say they use a gun for hunting (53% to 45%, respectively) or for target shooting (68% to 59%), while female owners are slightly more likely than male gun owners to use a gun for protection (74% to 63%, respectively).
History shows that a government that takes away citizens’ guns disarms their populace to gain political control over them. The first thing that Nazis did in Germany was to take away the guns from their citizens. Our forefathers understood the need for self-defense of all kinds, including against a tyrannical government. While various government entities in the US are taking a Big Brother approach to us and would like to strip us of our Second Amendment rights, it is up to us to remain vigilant and to keep our elected officials accountable for their actions–especially involving proposed gun control laws.
Susanne Penegor is an Oregon native, a graduate of the U of O and a former local business owner.