Back in July, one social commentator concluded that even the most prestigious public-relations firms could not have come up with a more effective advertising campaign for gun manufacturers than what was happening in the streets. While riots were breaking out in our major cities, protesters were marching with “defund the police” signs. Many Americans who never planned to buy a firearm were having second thoughts.
A civilized society expects a level of law and order. It depends on police officers to safeguard the peace. An anti-gun viewpoint can’t last too long when an anti-cop message is being proclaimed from rioters throwing bricks through windows. And it’s hard to feel safe when threatening gangs move through cities and even to suburbs.
The demand for guns is greater than anyone would have imagined. The best estimates are that nearly 5 million gun sales have taken place over the last few months. There is no evidence that this surge in gun purchases will abate before November.
Mark Smith, CEO of Smith & Wesson, explains that “consumer demand for our products during the quarter still exceeded our internal manufacturing capacity levels.” The company is now running at “maximum capacity.” Many gun stores have had to resort to meeting potential customers “by appointment only.”
Gun sales would probably be much higher if it weren’t for two limitations. The first should be obvious. Demand has exceeded supply at many gun shops. Second, it is still nearly impossible in many major cities for a law-abiding citizen to purchase a handgun. The Supreme Court decisions of Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010) were supposed to remove most of the restrictions, but many still remain.