The National Rifle Association and the assorted far-right gun nuts who make up the gun lobby, as we recently pointed out, really are creating an extremely problematic environment for any post-election America in which Barack Obama has won re-election -- because, thanks to their fact-free and irresponsibly inflammatory attacks on Obama, they've once again convinced a significant segment of the American populace that Obama is secretly plotting to take their guns and their freedoms away.
On the ground, this is playing out in predictably unhealthy ways too -- namely, as the SPLC's Hatewatch recently noted, through skyrocketing weapons and ammo sales:
A hard-hitting propaganda campaign unleashed this year by Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the National Rifle Association, may be convincing Americans that President Obama will crack down on gun ownership if he’s re-elected and becomes a lame duck.
Skyrocketing sales of guns and ammunition, along with some shortages due to stockpiling, are reported by many U.S. shops.
“People are worried about a second Obama presidency,” Simon Wallace, sales manager at Merchant Firearms in Phoenix told Hatewatch. Merchant is one of many gun shops that started seeing demand increase around the first of the year. There are shortages of all types of weapons and ammunition, Wallace said.
One sign of the current panic is the number of FBI background checks for prospective gun owners. The background checks hit an all-time high in 2011 – about 16.5 million. In the first four months of this year, according to the FBI, there were about 6.3 million checks – on track to shatter last year’s record.
... “There’s a lot of free-floating fear,” Molchan said in an interview with Hatewatch. “At one end of the spectrum, you have the survivalists and the stockpiling.”
“It’s definitely the election year," Jason Hanson, a former CIA officer and personal security specialist, told FoxNews.com. "People feel that Obama will serve second term and with it their gun rights with taken away, so they are stocking up.
“They’re also worried that the economy is not getting any better and that they need to protect themselves,” Hanson added.
What's also striking is the lengths to which these Obama haters will go to rationalize their obvious paranoia, built on the comical argument that the very fact that Obama hasn't done anything even remotely gun-related in his first term is certain proof that he's secretly conspiring to lower the boom on unsuspecting Americans in a second term, as in this ABC News report:
"He's never been pro-gun," says Cris Parsons of President Obama. Parsons, 31, owns a Texas gun purveyor called the Houston Armory. So far, Parsons insists, Obama has been "pretty coy" about his antipathy toward guns--and he likely will remain so during the campaign. To do otherwise would "upset a lot of people."
But if Obama wins a second term, he'll have "nothing to lose," says Parsons.
Alan Korwin, author of nine books on gun laws, including "Gun Laws of America," says gun owners are worried that the president, as a lame duck, will clamp down as never before on gun ownership.
Parsons says about 40 percent of Armory customers cite this fear as their reason for stocking up on guns and ammo now, before the election.
The soaring guns-sale figures are being bolstered by the gun lobby's remarkable success in passing a succession of laws in a variety of states loosening the ability to obtain to a concealed-carry permit, so now a buttload of people are loading up on weapons:
Conceal-carry permits are now allowed in 49 states (Illinois and Washington D.C. do not have conceal-carry laws), and “Stand Your Ground” laws are on the books in 21 states. In Florida, police have cited the state’s seven-year-old “Stand your Ground” law in deciding not to charge George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, 17, last month. The law says citizens do not have to retreat before using deadly force against attackers. The Justice Department and FBI now are investigating the killing, and a state grand jury is being convened.
However, the real driver has been the Rabid Right's unceasing demonization of Obama. As a result, the gun nuts at Ammo.Netnow gloatingly call him "the Greatest Gun Salesman in America". Chiming in with his own brand of hearty agreement is that voice of moderation, Ted Nugent:
President Obama is single handedly responsible for the ongoing record setting avalanche of gun and ammunition sales all across America. This is because rank and file Americans do not trust the president and his clear and present anti-gun team.
Nugent concludes that he can predict Obama's lame-duck agenda because he, like all Democrats, just hates America:
The bottom line is simply this: Americans know that most Democrats despise guns almost as much as they despise wealthy people, success, small government, low taxes, and lunches made by moms for their school-age kids.
Did we happen to mention that these people are insane? Maybe we should mention it again.
Like Ted, I happen to be an experienced gun owner. Unlike Ted, guns are not a stand-in for my penis. My sexual identity is not bound up with my shotgun. The way I was raised in a gun-owning family was that guns are tools to be used at the appropriate times, not toys to be played with. I don't think Ted and his NRA buddies got that memo.
More to the point, I think we all dread the day that guys like Nugent and the rapidly growing nutty conspiracy contingent of the American Right obtain more and more weapons and ammo and then decide they need to use it. Anyone experienced with guns knows that not only do they possess the ultimate power -- the power to end another person's life -- but also guns invite you to wield that power, if only as a means of intimidation. In the hands of wise and thoughtful people, that is not a problem.
But these are anything but wise or thoughtful people.