As Cabela’s Inc. prepares the selection of guns it will sell for the holiday season and winter hunting, the outdoor-gear retailer has two plans: one if President Barack Obama is re-elected, and one if he isn’t.
Old news, man. This stuff is as predictable as the seasons. Election year = article about Americans buying more guns.
But…let’s go off the track for a second and play ‘what if’. If you look at, say, the last 75 years of gun legislation as a whole you can definitely see a trend where the pool of ‘permitted’ firearms and firearms owners gets smaller and smaller. Obviously, there’s only a certain level of restriction that can be approached before public sentiment becomes politically unmanageable. Things like machine guns, which were heavily regulated around 70 years ago, caught another hit when they were prohibited from being manufactured for anyone except military and law enforcement. (Which, naturally, drove a $400 Uzi purchased in 1984 into being an $8000 Uzi 25 years later.)
The 1994 Assault Weapons ban was about as close as we’ve seen to a stroke-of-a-pen ban on certain styles of firearms. If nothing else, the AW ban of ’94 gave us a glimpse of what a future ban (or obscenely prohibitive regulation process) would look like.
Obviously, the biggest thing, short of banning the guns themselves, would be a ban or regulation against ‘high capacity’ (whatever that means) magazines. Unlike last time, there probably wouldn’t be a grandfather clause for mags made before the ban.
Another import ban would be easy to achieve using ATFE’s notorious ‘sporting clause’ rule. Guys like SIG, HK, FN, Saiga, etc., would either have to move their manufacturing to the US or drop their product line. This was already done back in the late ’80s which is why an HK91 costs $3000.
Having trimmed the supply of magazines, and cut off the flow of imported guns, domestic manufacturers will ramp up production of the AR-15 since everyone is making one. Limited to a ten-round (or less) magazine, most folks will have no problem coming up with old GI mags. However, domestic production will probably have to go back to the no flash suppressor, no bayonet lug, no pistol grip designs. Existing guns probably will be grandfathered in because of the sheer numbers and because no one wants to be the person to start the legendary ‘door to door gun confiscations’ that the Alex Jones crowd have been yelling about. A new firearms classification, like they have in Canada, may come into being with evil black rifles being regulated like suppressors or SBR’s – intrusive licensing and controls.
Let’s look back at a reasonable timeline…something that will fit into most of our lives. Let’s look back thirty years. In 1982 full-auto machineguns were still being made for civillian use, you could buy HK, FN, Steyr, Uzi, etc. carbines all day long. Buying a handgun was as simple as filling out a one-page yellow sheet at the gun counter and walking out the door with it. No place in the US, as far as I can tell, had a ban on magazines holding a certain number of cartridges. Within a few more years you’d be able to buy drum-fed semi-auto shotguns, cases of cheap AK ammo for $85/case, SKS rifles for $75, and all the cheap Chinese ammo you wanted. And that was all within most of our lifetimes ago. So, yeah, things can change pretty dramatically in a short time.
Most folks will calmly point to the Heller decision and say that they have nothing to worry about. Interestingly, the guys making the new laws will point to the Heller decision and say the same thing. With established precedent in the form of the various Gun Control Acts, your right to own a firearm will still exist, it’s just that your choices will be kinda slimmed down.
Now, let’s drop back into reality for a moment….do I really think that this sort of thing will happen? Absolutely. I have 100% certainty it will happen. I am as certain of it as I am of the sun rising tomorrow. But I don’t know when it will happen. I don’t see it happening anytime ‘soon’. Within my lifetime, assuming I live to be around 80, absolutely. A law changed here, a rule changed there, all over the course of twenty or thirty years. But do I believe that something like I just described will happen in the next four years of an Obama second term? Nope. I believe it’s possible, and I believe that some aspects of it might be trotted out, but do I believe the whole grandiose disarmament plan will occur within the next four years? Nope.
But, since I believe it will happen someday, I’d like to be prepared for it. So, while the stuff is still available, I buy what I can.