Panicked gun buying and the NRA

I understand that there are about 310 million people living in the United States, and private citizens here own about 300 million firearms. If these figures are even roughly correct, then the gun industry faces the challenge of selling into a saturated market. They clearly have a motive for promoting repeat and multiple sales while repressing any regulations that would slow down the process or discourage the buyer.

In November of 2012, a barbaric mass human sacrifice was performed in Newtown, Conn.

We were predictably appalled by this, and our representatives in state and federal legislatures rushed to enact new regulations aimed at forestalling further tragedies of this kind. Right on cue, the gun industry's client apologists in the National Rifle Association jumped in to defend the ideal of an unregulated gun trade, ostensibly to arm a "well-regulated militia," whatever they imagine that to mean. They have employed scary rhetoric about the big, bad government's intention to shut down the market. Meanwhile, several thousand more Americans have died of gunshot wounds while Washington has been too intimidated by the NRA to even pass a modest requirement for background checks.

To nobody's surprise, the gun industry has since proudly posted and unprecedented surge in sales. Recently, National Public Radio reported that a shortage of ammunition for some models has triggered price-gouging and scalping on the Internet, all in service to the glut of panic buyers.

While the gun industry can well gloat, "mission accomplished," I say, "Rest in peace, children."

Thad Paulhamus, Baltimore

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