From the December 2008 Idaho Observer:

The Obama gun tsunami

By Hari Heath

In addition to being proclaimed "president-elect," Barack Obama has been nominated for another title: "Gun salesman of the year."

Immediately following the election, a tsunami of buyers began sweeping through sporting goods stores, gun shows and gun shops, showing that there is one part of the economy that is still strong.

The unprecedented rise in the sale of guns, ammunition, reloading supplies and related accoutrements has several motivating factors. A now democratic majority House and Senate combined with the election of Obama has many concerned that there will be an unbridled assault on Americans’ gun rights. The magnitude of looming economic doom and the potential for mayhem and societal collapse also has many Americans justifiably alarmed. Self-defense will be a personal responsibility and many Americans are answering the call like never before.

The gun economy

It would be inaccurate to state that gun stores have been cleaned out. There are rifles on the racks, pistols in the case and ammo on the shelves. But selection and availability has been limited by the Obama gun sales tsunami.

On a post-Thanksgiving Day trip to one of the greatest little gun stores out west, I found a full parking lot and crowded aisles. Typical of those in the gun culture, there was a great deal of courtesy and mutual assistance under these crowded conditions. Although well staffed, counter help was largely unavailable. The often knowledgeable customers answered newcomers’ questions while the staff was kept busy going to the back room for more guns and helping the front row of customers with the BATFE paperwork. Business was booming.


Want to buy an AR-15, the civilian equivalent of the current M 4/M-16 military rifles? You probably won’t find one on the shelf. Manufacturers have canceled back orders and don’t expect to catch up with their present orders until the fall of 2009. Reportedly, this rifle in standard grade, which normally sells between $700 to $1,000, now commands a $2,000 price tag at gun shows.

Ammunition sales have been brisk. Ammunition dealers at gun shows have literally sold a semi-truck load over their tables by afternoon and have had to bring in more truckloads to stay open while customers with hand carts waited in line. Pistol ammunition and tactical rifle ammo are the hot sellers.

You will find most common calibers on the shelf at your local gun store, but the variety of bullet weights and types is limited. Reloading components are in short supply. Reloading component shelves have been half empty in the last few weeks. Gun counter staff report that many reloading component shipments never make it onto the shelf. Customers have been buying entire shipments of certain components as soon as they come in: Case lots of powders, multiple bricks of primers and entire shipping cases of bullets are being purchased by individual customers.

Tactical rifle brass is scarce. Large rifle primers are hard to find. Specialty bullets and powders are on backorder. Pistol prices have risen 10 to 20 percent in the last two weeks. Panic buying from fear of shortages and restrictions has indeed become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Gun control?

U.S. gun control laws have roots reaching at least as far back as the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA). This "no Treasury Agent left behind" act sent the Treasury Boys after machine guns, silencers and short-barreled rifles and shotguns once the gangster era ended with the repeal of alcohol prohibition. The NFA tax and registration scheme on this new class of weapons gave the revenuers a new job. Not much of an "infringement." After all, what American really needs these kinds of guns?

Hitler’s 1938 gun control laws were translated and adopted as the 1968 Gun Control Act (GCA). This began the defacto registration of new guns sold and imposed licensure and other restrictions on gun dealers—another incremental step in the overall process to administratively repeal the Second Amendment.

The Clinton era brought us so-called "assault weapons" bans, restrictions on firearm imports, magazine capacity and components, background checks and waiting periods—all in the name of "crime control."

The real world result of such laws has been to create a new class of technical criminals, fill prisons, destroy lives and have no positive effect on containing or stopping real criminals.

Gun control is a running history of failure. I don’t need to recount the details that evidence this fact. There are many good books on the subject which conclusively prove that the following scenarios have been repeated throughout history: 1) Restrict or prohibit the ownership and use of weapons—crime goes up; respect the right of private ownership and use (Keep AND Bear)—crime goes down. 2) Freely and privately armed populations tend to have limited government which serves them; control of citizen-held weaponry begins the process to turn governments into the people’s master; prohibition of arms is necessary to maintain serfdom, oppression and tyranny.

Fear and rumor

The present Obama tsunami at the gun counter has apparently been fueled by the fear that the incoming administration and its congressional cohorts will trash gun rights. There is a clear and present danger that such a thing may happen, and not just from the democrats. Republicans have brought us the PATRIOT Acts, homeland security, perpetual, undeclared, pre-emptive wars, the end of posse comitatus, effective termination of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Amendments and, of course the TARP component of the "bail out" bill. Will they have any more respect for the 2nd Amendment?


What can we expect from the next administration? Many Clinton era gun restrictions faded under "sunset clauses." Will we see a return?

A rumored 500 percent increase in the tax on ammunition, reloading components and equipment appears to be just that—a rumor—so far. But the principle—from an anti-gun perspective—is sound. They will never eliminate guns in this country with laws, but if they attack the consumables end of the equation—ammunition—they could at least price it out of reach for the common man.

Two proposals of legislative idiocy have recently made an appearance. One includes firing pins that make a distinctive imprint as they fire each cartridge, "registering" the ammunition to the weapon. Such an imbecilic notion fails to consider that firing pins are very small and production runs of gun models are very large. It would be technically impossible to put very much individual "information" on the point of a firing pin. Any gun owner capable of field stripping their weapon could delete the "information" in minutes with a knife sharpener or emery cloth.

The second proposal suggests ammunition be pre-marked and registered to the "owner." For this scheme to work, the bullet, cartridge and owner would then have to be registered in a databank, with penalties to prohibit alteration, transfer or use by another shooter. With millions of rounds manufactured, sold and shot every month, how will this work? What kind of database would manage that much information?

Another popular item on the citizen disarmament agenda is the closure of the so-called "gun show loophole"—a gun-control-by- total-licensure scheme. Approximately half of the tables at gun shows are tables where people freely sell firearms and other items in private transactions. The other half are federally licensed firearms dealers (FFL holders), subject to all the mandates. Closing the gun show loophole are buzzwords used by legislative miscreants who seek to prohibit free people, genuine free trade and firearms freedom.

How far?

How far will the anti-freedom, anti-gun miscreants get under Obama?

The Gun Owners of America (GOA) website offers a suggestion:

"There can be little doubt about the direction in which gun rights are headed. The questions are how far will the anti-gunners go and how fast will they move?

"Many comparisons have been made to the first two years of the first Clinton Administration, in which one party controlled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

"Almost all experts agree that it was Clinton’s overreaching on issues like gun control that cost his party control of Congress. Barack Obama will start out governing with even larger majorities than did Clinton."

For a more detailed analysis of the election relative to the right to keep and bear arms visit

Can the new democratic majority and a few complicit Republicans push gun laws through Congress and onto Obama’s desk before the economic meltdown consumes their attention? Will legislators dare propose gun restrictions as mayhem in the streets forces Americans to be responsible for their own well being? So far, these are only worst-case scenarios, but the writing is on the wall. Who is reading that writing?

Who’s buying?

Many so-called "liberals" who have been raised and indoctrinated in the neo-liberal paradigm have come to realize that not all is well. They might have to stand up for themselves with more than good thoughts and social programs. High ideals and lofty intentions may not stop hungry looters and Homeland Security agents.

First time buyers are a large part of the Obama gun tsunami. Regardless of where people are on the political or economic spectrum, we all see our world coming apart at the seams. Defensive handguns and the potentially-soon-to-be-banned "assault rifles" are flying over the gun counters just as fast as the paperwork and waiting periods allow.

Our enemy?

Who are Americans preparing to defend against? Can anyone with a functioning mind look at what "government" is doing and not be appalled? Society is failing. The economy is in a tailspin. The future is increasingly uncertain. Government continues to encroach upon everything we hold dear with reckless abandon. Government’s mafia-style thuggery is devolving into black uniformed terrorism, soon to be followed with troops in the streets, in a last ditch effort to protect their "continuity of government." We may eventually be forced to face our enemy. Things could get ugly.

From here, upwards

There is an upside. As the FED economy slips further into a coma and progresses to a flat line condition, all of the "investments" made during the Obama gun tsunami will have converted devaluing FED dollars back to substance. Such "trading stock" can join gold, silver, food, books, candles and seeds as the economy for our emerging new future.

I predict that even with a Democrat majority in D.C. we won’t see the great wave of gun control sweep over us. That having been said, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be vigilant and loud!

The Democrats will be kept busy trying to get out from under a mega-trillion bundle of derivative dollars, freeze dried in the storm of an economic winter. They will be busy blaming others for starting endless wars, yet fail to stop them while they have the power. Their favorite constituents, the tired, the downtrodden and the disadvantaged, will be swelling their ranks and in need of "help." They will be too busy for gun control.

Even with the benefits of Diebold’s electronic election management systems they must get SOME actual votes to be elected.

The fallacy of gun control actually working has revealed itself time and again. The hollow rhetoric of the anti-gun movement is worn and tired. Their former believers can be found at a local gun shop counter preparing to have a future.

Stock up responsibly.