Like many law-abiding gun owners who might want to purchase an AR-15 or some other firearm that looks like an “assault weapon” to Diane Feinstein, I thought for a moment after Sandy Hook about legally buying this weapon while I still had a chance:
I had meant to purchase one in the summer of 2011 but didn’t get around to it (especially after I added a Thompson to the family gun rack). I certainly regret my failure.
But is it now a good time to buy one?
Much depends on what you think Washington will do following the terrible events at Sandy Hook. A heck of a lot of people with my gun and policy preferences worry that Washington is about to ban such weapons (or at least the 30 round mags) or don’t want to take the chance it might. This is borne out by what happened in December according to a recent story by CNBC:
December set a record for the criminal background checks performed before many gun purchases, a strong indication of a big increase in sales, according to an analysis of federal data by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry trade group. Adjusting the federal data to try to weed out background checks that were unrelated to firearms sales, the group reported that 2.2 million background checks were performed last month, an increase of 58.6 percent over the same period in 2011. Some gun dealers said in interviews that they had never seen such demand.
Anecdotal reports elsewhere support this story.
However, I think these nervous folks – many of whom are probably paying top dollar – are probably overreacting. Limits on magazines may be coming. But I think that it is quite unlikely that a so-called assault weapons ban is going to make it through Congress. A recent article in Slate suggests people on the other side of the gun control debate agree with me, noting: “Based on conversations with administration officials and gun control activists, few think that an assault weapons ban is possible, though the president will push for one.”
If my guess and those interviewed for the Slate report are right, no need to rush the sale unless you can’t sleep at night thinking there is a chance you won’t ever have the legal ability to buy one of these weapons. And I’m putting my figurative money where my mouth is, committing (ceteris paribus) to wait until at least the summer to make my AR-15 purchase. I’ll kick myself if I can’t get a 30 round mag for it, but I’m willing to bet on the power of the gun lobby and the fear it evokes on the Hill (especially since gun rights advocates are more likely to base their vote on the issue than opponents). Moreover, Obama and Congress have a few (trillion) other problems coming up soon that will push Sandy Hook off the front page. Plus stories like this are going to compete for the dominant narrative despite the MSM giving comparatively little attention to these incidents (something noted on Fox today):
Donnie and Melinda Herman own two guns for protection at home, but until two weeks ago, she had never fired a gun. Her husband told sheriff’s department investigator’s that he took her shooting so that she’d be familiar with the family’s guns if she ever had to use one.
Now, clutching the .38 revolver, Melinda Herman was in the middle of a heart-pounding crisis inside her own home.
She had already locked multiple doors before she and her children took refuge in an adjacent-room attic — the kind with a small door that you have to bend down to go through.
The intruder had used the crowbar to break through the front door and then two other doors upstairs, and she could hear him coming closer and closer.
On the phone, Donnie Herman calmly instructed his wife about the use of the weapon she had practiced on.
“Remember everything I showed you. Everything I taught you,” he told her, and he reassured her that help was on the way.
Then it happened.
“She shot him. She’s shooting him. She’s shooting him. She’s shooting him. She’s shooting him. … Shoot him again! Shoot him!” Donnie Herman said as the 911 dispatcher listened.
He then lost phone contact with his wife and children. His anguish and the pain of not knowing what had happened may be etched in his mind for eternity. But they were safe.
He learned later that his wife fired all six shots, and hit the intruder with all but one bullet.
Not realizing she was out of ammunition, she ordered the man to stay on the floor as he bled. She then fled the house with her children.
Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman — whose office responded to the shooting at the Hermans’ home — said he believes the mother and her two children were in a life-and-death situation and she had no choice but to exercise her constitutional right to self-defense.
“Had it not turned out the way that it did, I would possibly be working a triple homicide, not having a clue as to who it is we’re looking for,” he told CNN.
Despite being shot five times, the suspect, identified as Paul Ali Slater, still managed to get back into his SUV, but he drove off the road and crashed a short distance away.
He remains hospitalized. Due to privacy laws, the hospital cannot divulge any information on his condition.