Having lived through very few global, or even national, crises, I’m taking stock in the behavior of those around me. There’s a significant difference between how some react to stress personally and how they react to stress as a member of a group. Runs on supplies, hoarding, and general rudeness shouldn’t be the American response towards adversity. Altogether, I can’t say I am proud of the way many of my neighbors have behaved during this period of national anxiety.
One such instance of irrational behavior is the crowding of gun stores and ammunition centers. While I’d be a hypocrite for criticizing others for purchasing a firearm, it seems the nature of these purchases are largely knee-jerk, fear responses. It’s one thing to purchase a weapon as a hunter, or as a tool for home defense , or even as a deep-seated appreciation for the aesthetic. It’s another, far more concerning, thing to watch the news and come to the conclusion that the coming times will warrant a weapon. I’m reminded of that scene from Ghostbusters (1984): “Mass hysteria!”
It’s not my intention to be the gatekeeper of responsible firearms ownership. Certainly I’ve received more than my share of cautions from range officers in the past. But in talking with my local shop’s staff, first-time purchases are through the roof but beginners’ class registrations are not. Surely if you believe that you may need to use a gun to protect yourself, then attending a class that explicitly enhances your ability to do so would be essential. I suppose in this particular global crisis proximity to others in a classroom setting is a valid concern. Even still, I am led to believe that it is not the ability to defend one’s self but merely the capability to do so that provides reassurance to these new gun owners.
Ultimately, in a few months the crisis will end and a few things will happen:
- Gun stores will see a rash of trade-ins and returns
- Class registration may see a small bump from new owners finally deciding to learn how to use the deadly weapon they acquired
- Gun ownership will become a less partisan issue as more people will have had firsthand experience, even by simple virtue of ownership, with guns
All in all, so long as the crisis doesn’t interrupt food distribution I’m not expecting my backyard to turn into a scene from Mad Max.