We Like Us Some Guns
Gun sales in North Carolina last week jumped 60 percent, according to a report from WRAL TV in Raleigh, part of a nationwide trend that saw sales of firearms — particularly assault-type weapons — skyrocket. Gun-shop owners across the country say it’s because of fear that an Obama presidency with a Democratic Congress and Senate would conspire to place restrictions on handguns and ammunition. “We know the Democrats have a different stance on [guns] than we do,” Carter Day, a customer at Fuquay- Varina Gun & Gold told a WRAL reporter. The National Rifle Association, our nation’s selfappointed protector of the Second Amendment, endorsed the McCain-Palin ticket this past November in a statement by Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “The next president, by filling inevitable vacancies on the US Supreme Court, will determine the continued existence of our Right To Keep and Bear Arms,” LaPierre wrote, citing support from McCain and the state of Alaska in the 2007 District of Columbia vs. Heller case. The Supreme Court decision overturned a handgun ban in the district, which was enacted in 1975, by a vote of 5-4. There seems to be some convolution on the issues. The Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 effectively banned the sale of new handguns in the District of Columbia before it was deemed unconstitutional. But it did not address the classification of assault weapons — that is, semi-automatic firearms and other weapons not designed for hunting, target shooting or self defense, the kinds of weapons that were flying off the shelves last week. And President-elect Obama has not mentioned any desire to raise taxes on ammunition, as happened during Bill Clinton’s administration, and has voted in the Illinois Senate to allow retired law enforcement agents to carry concealed weapons. And he says he supports the Second Amendment. But he has espoused “common-sense” legislation on guns, allowing that gun manufacturers should be open to wrongful-death lawsuits, and owning a voting record supporting states’ and cities’ rights when it comes to crafting firearm legislation. We do not anticipate any gun-control legislation any time soon here in North Carolina, however. Our position on the Second Amendment is a realistic one: Guns are engrained in the fabric of our culture, and we don’t support legislation that attempts to prohibit people from owning them. But unlike our friends at the NRA, we do see the logic behind some degree of nuanced regulation. That being said, we don’t think it would be wise for Obama to begin his administration by alienating US gun owners, whose numbers are estimated by the NRA to be in the tens of millions. At the same time, we find it unnerving that the populace is arming itself — with heavy weaponry, no less — at such an increased rate.
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