Courtesy Oleg Volk, A Human Right
An Alabama man with an assault weapon burned down his mother's house around her, shot his grandparents, aunt and uncle dead, then killed five other people Tuesday before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.
Gun owners are right to wonder if this is the event that will be the catalyst for making a new 'assault weapon' ban a priority.
We know Obama wants to ban semiautomatic firearms.
We know Eric Holder does, too, and thinks it's important enough to talk about the game plan before the rest of the team is suited up.
We know the Brady Campaign is hot on the heels of any opportunity to exploit their push "to restrict civilian access to military-style assault weapons."
And we know from history how "massacre" events are used as fulcrums to leverage support for gun bans.
We saw it in California.
We saw it in Britain.
We saw it in Australia.
So it's not like there's not a pattern.
As I observed when the House leadership was scrambling to distance themselves from Holder's early disclosure:
Anyone who thinks we're not one highly publicized incident away from a reinvigorated full court press to ban semiautomatics and more is kidding themselves.
The popular wisdom says Team Obama is too busy with other priorities. In case anyone hasn't noticed, the economy is in the toilet, the guy can't even assemble a cabinet, and some are beginning to express "buyer's remorse" as his popularity slips. And if the history of "gun control" edicts shows us anything, it's that when politicians have no clue, what better way is there to distract, make it look like they're doing something, and get favorable publicity, than to propose something that will be wildly popular with the media?
But aren't I being premature and hysterical?
Pray that I am. Pray that enough floodlights are turned on and enough pots are banged by "extremists" like me to give those who would exploit yesterday's killings pause in advancing their agenda.
And while you're at it, get ready for the predictable blood dance.
UPDATE: The situation in Germany won't help.
UPDATE 2: Bloomberg News is reporting the killer "fired about 30 rounds from an automatic weapon..." Informed gun owners will understand the significance of this. Did the reporter get it right, or is this more intentional or uninformed misreporting?
The Brady bunch wastes no time exploiting this situation.
Assault Weapons, Weak Gun Laws
Enable Dangerous People
Like The Alabama Man Who Killed 10
Washington, D.C. – Alabama killer Michael McLendon fired more than 200 rounds from his military-style semiautomatic assault weapons. He lived in a state that has pathetically weak guns laws: In the Brady Campaign’s recent state scorecards, Alabama earned a score of 15 out of 100. Assault weapons were banned under federal law until four years ago.
Alabama has the fifth-highest gun death rate in America, including the third-highest rate of gun homicide.
“This man needed the firepower of assault weapons to execute his plan of mass carnage. Alabama, and our nation, must take action to make it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons,” said PaulHelmke, President of the Brady Campaign.
To learn more about prominent U.S. shootings with multiple victims, see the Brady Campaign’s listing at http://www.bradycampaign.org/xshare/pdf/major-shootings.pdf.
~~~~~~~~Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Freedom States Alliance, Legal Community Against Violence, and Violence Policy Center – issued the following joint statement:
“Our sympathies go to all those affected by this terrible tragedy.
Just when Americans are stocking up on weapons and preparing for potential future events that may include economic collapse and the associated violence that may come with it, the Obama administration's intent on disarming the population and the possibility of protecting ourselves from our own government.....this tragedy occurs. This shooting rampage won't change the minds of either side in the war on the 2nd amendment.
Anxious time: More people want weapons
By CAROL ROBIDOUX
Union Leader Correspondent - March 10, 2009
DERRY – AL BACON is explaining to one of his regular customers why the ammo he wants is out of stock. Meanwhile, three more people enter the tiny gun shop, doing an awkward two-step around other customers patiently waiting for a word with Bacon.
It will be nearly an hour before Bacon catches his breath.
"It's been like this all day, every day," he said of the constant traffic to his store, Al's Gun and Reel Shop, on Linwood Avenue. "It's difficult to keep up. In all my years here, it's never been like this."
The concern in Bacon's voice doesn't make sense, at first. What businessman wouldn't want a steady stream of customers at a time when the rest of the economy is stalling?
While his salesman, Tom, walks a customer through the different options for semi-automatic rifles, Bacon moves toward a quieter corner of the store. He explains that it's a venture he launched 39 years ago, something he calls his "dream job." It was a way to supplement his income while feeding his passion for guns. It was also a way to help build a network of fellow gun aficionados and promote responsible gun ownership.
As an afterthought, Bacon figured the store would help fight off the boredom of retirement, once his career with General Electric wound down.
Now 65, Bacon knows his "dream job" is really all he has left. The erosion of his nest egg in the past year has left him without much of a safety net.
"I thought I had done everything right," he said.
His next words are whispered, like a dark secret shared in the strictest confidence.
"People are scared. They're panic buying. They don't know what's next. There's a lot of fear out there," Bacon said, excusing himself to ring up another customer.
He recognizes the fear because it feels so familiar. Bacon said his own fear is that the current surge in gun and ammunition sales may be the beginning of the end for gun shop owners, himself included.
"What I think people are most afraid of is losing their gun rights. People have already lost so much," Bacon said. "It's a sign of the times. People are buying up everything they can, while they can. Washington right now is anti-gun, and nobody knows what Obama is going to do."
Uncertainty over President Obama's commitment to the Second Amendment or his stance on gun control has been feeding a frenzy among gun buyers who suspect the President may soon take steps to slow or stop the sale of semi-automatic weapons altogether, Bacon said.
"It's hard keeping up already. I have to tell people I don't know when I will be able to get them what they're looking for. Companies right now are so backlogged with orders they probably will never catch up," Bacon said.
Smaller handguns -- particularly revolvers -- are flying off the shelves, along with tactical shotguns -- Bacon prefers to call them "home defense" shot guns.
"They are short-barreled shotguns, easier for a woman to handle," he says.
The other big sellers are AR-15s, most often referred to as assault weapons.
"That word carries a lot of stigma. It irks me. A bat can be an assault weapon, for that matter. This is really just a semi-automatic rifle," he said, as his salesman hands one of the black, military-style rifles over the counter to a customer, who's ready to buy.
"I've been thinking about it for a while," said the customer, a former officer at the Chester Rod and Gun Club, who doesn't want his name publicized. "I'm not trying to hide anything, but I don't want everyone to know I have guns. It's like an invitation to the bad guys. You understand."
He said what moved him to make the purchase now, after months of research on the Internet, was news reports over the scarcity of the AR-15s. Unable to find even one of the half-dozen or so rifles matching those on his computer printouts, he settles for one off the shelf at Bacon's shop.
"I've been looking. They're nowhere to be found. Everyone has the same idea. With the economy and all the layoffs of police, if someone breaks into my house and starts shooting at my family, I can't count on the fact that the police will get there in time to help. I have to protect me and my family," he said.
Same story at gun shops around the state, including Riley's Sport Shop in Hooksett, where the shelves are more or less empty, according to the sales clerk on duty yesterday.
"It's been like this since two weeks before the election. This isn't just in Derry or Hooksett or New Hampshire -- this is the whole country," he said.
As proof, demand is so high right now for ATF Form 4473, a mandatory firearms purchase form filled out before every sale, the government has run out.
"They told us to photocopy the forms we have," said the clerk at Riley's. "We are down to our last forms, as of today."
State Sen. Bob Letourneau, R-Derry, said the threat to gun shop owners -- and gun owners -- is real, and that the current surge in gun and ammunition sales is a direct response to that threat.
"People are speaking through their actions that they are not happy with the Obama administration. I am reading e-mails on a daily basis, from constituents and shop owners, over the threat of gun control laws," Letourneau said.
Attorney Evan Nappen, director of Pro-Gun New Hampshire Inc., said people's fear over possible anti-gun legislation is only part of the story.
"There is also fear from the economic downturn, and over situations in which the need for one to defend one's self will arise, either from lack of funding for police, to civil unrest -- whatever is running through folk's minds, people want to be able to defend themselves -- and it happens to be at a point in time when all those fears are converging," Nappen said.