Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Guns: A Buyer's Market

     Do you remember the fear leading up to January 1, 2000? There was the concern that since years were encoded in computers in only two digits that the flipover from 99 to 00 could cause chaos that could potentially shut down everything with a microchip in it. We were all a little bit nervous as we were ringing in the new year, the new millennium, that everything would go dark and we’d suddenly find ourselves back in the stone age. A lot of us stocked up on necessities, making sure there was a little extra food and water in the house.
     Some went overboard and bought generators, certain that society was going to break down. They were going to be the survivors, with all the Meals Ready to Eat, canned foods, water purification tablets, and whatever else survivalists store up in their special doomsday bunkers. And guns, lots of guns. Because if the world is falling apart, you want to make certain you don’t have to share with your unprepared neighbor. Darwin’s law, and all.
     All I can say is January 1st must have been a great time to be in the market for a generator. When Y2K failed to materialize, there were a whole lot of people sitting on top of a whole lot of equipment they had no need for. Prices for such items must have bottomed out overnight.
     We’re looking at a similar situation coming up. You see, for years, people have been certain that President Obama was going to come for their guns. And a good many people have been preparing for that day, buying all the guns and ammunition they could afford in order to ensure that they would have enough when the time came that buying and selling guns would be outlawed.
     And gun sales are at an all time high, gun rights advocates are quick to point out how many are being sold as if it was a vindication that their convictions are correct. Because, of course, if everybody’s doing it, it simply must be right. As long as you are going along with the flock then you’re doing the right thing, right?
     The problem is we’ve seen it all before, oh so many times. It’s called a stock bubble. In the run-up to 2008, people were investing like mad in the real estate market, frightened that they were going to lose out by not throwing their money at any available plot of dirt with a shack on it. Except that all of the sudden the market turned on them and left a load of people with a bank loan on property that was greater than what  that property was now worth. And before that there was a silver buy up, and a tulip buy up, etc. In each case, a lot of people lost their savings on a craze that somehow seemed to sweep over society. The mob isn’t always right, in fact a lot of people get rich betting against them.
     The thing is, all you need to get a mob excited is to place a few fire-breathing demagogues in front of them to play upon their fears. Like a Sunday morning preacher caught up in the spirit, there’s always some attention whore willing to play to an audience, to get beyond their intellects and go straight for the emotions. And their patriotism, they always go for patriotism. So people like Ted Nugent whip up a lot of testosterone and convince people the enemy is at the gates, that the government is coming for your guns, and that’s just the start. So you better stockpile as much ammunition as you can before they come for your wife and daughter next.
     But what happens when the SWAT team doesn’t break down your door in the middle of the night and take all your guns? What happens when President Obama leaves office and the corner gun store is still open for business? What happens when a Republican gets into office and makes even more liberal gun laws than we have now (I mean liberal as in more tolerant. That’s what the word means, look it up if you don’t believe me)?
     I’ll tell you what happens. It will be Y2K all over again. Perhaps it won’t be an immediate rush to sell, but it will happen, whether quickly or slowly. It will happen, and people will start to think they’ve overspent on guns. Not that there’s such a thing as owning too many guns, I know, but most of us have other bills to pay. Eventually the wife is going to complain that she has nowhere to store stuff because your guns are all over the house. Maybe the wife might divorce you and you’re going to be strapped for money. Or maybe your interests might change and you’ll be wanting more room for your Downton Abbey collectibles or perhaps your L Ron Hubbard book collection. Eventually you are going to realize you have more guns than you could possibly fire in a lifetime and not enough money to buy a case of Hamms. You might deny you’ve overbought, but I know what such denials are worth. I once had a kid who assured me he was never going to regret buying all those Pokemon cards, that some day they would be worth a fortune. It didn’t happen.
     So someday you’re going to need cash more than you need guns. What will you do then? You’ll want to sell them, but who is going to buy them? All of your buddies were thinking the same thing you were, and now most of them have more guns than they know what to do with. The corner gun shop will only give you pennies on the dollar for the guns you bought from them, just like the jeweler shop with your ex-wife’s engagement ring. It aint right, but what are you gonna do? At any rate you’ve got guns and no money and you want beer or that cute tea set or a Precious Moments figurine or what have you, and all of the responsible gun owners already have too many guns in their gun closets.
     There’s still a market for all of those guns, people who are willing to pay good money for what you have. There are a lot of creepy people in this world and a lot of them like guns. And after all, it’s just not right that the gun store is only willing to give you fifty bucks for a gun you paid $500 for. So if you sell it to a stranger who might sell it to someone you don’t know who might knock off a liquor store, it’s not you who’s to blame, is it? Because after all, guns don’t kill people, people do.
     And maybe you are responsible enough not to sell your guns to less than savory elements. Others will. If you are a gun owner, you know another gun owner like this, in fact you probably know a lot of them. And a buyer’s market means a lot of people are going to be able to get their hands on guns they probably shouldn’t have. Because all guns start out as legal guns, criminals don’t make their own, and we’ve been making them and buying them like they’re the new Beanie Babies. So if Obama doesn’t come for your guns the realistic scenario is that a lot of those guns now in the hands of “responsible” gun owners are going be sold to or stolen by criminals, because that’s how criminals get guns. And if that doesn’t scare you, it does me.

No comments:

Post a Comment