We are over 100 days into the Trump administration, and there have been record numbers of gun sales as citizens are empowered by new leadership to embrace their Second Amendment rights. In April alone, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the system gun retailers use to verify if a potential buyer can legally buy a gun, ran a whopping 2,045,564 background checks, showing there is renewed support for a strong Second Amendment after 8 years of anti-gun policies. And at the U.S. Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) our membership numbers continue to rise because the right to self-defense is one of our most fundamental beliefs as Americans.
In December 2015, a Gallup poll showed that 16% of Americans put terrorism as the number one issue facing our country. Sure enough, homeland security was also one of the biggest issues at the forefront of the 2016 election. Americans are worried about protecting themselves and their families, and have decided to take full advantage of their Second Amendment rights.
Under the past administration, President Obama’s solution to violence and terrorism in this country was to legislate policies to keep people from legally obtaining guns. Now, under an administration that’s pro-Second Amendment, gun owners can finally stop feeling criminalized for wanting to defend themselves.
An NBC/Washington Post poll also from December 2015 shows more people believe that the best way to stop terrorism is to allow citizens to arm themselves, instead of stricter gun control laws. A majority of people surveyed were also against an assault weapons ban, showing that the liberal claims of “the majority of the country is against assault weapons,” are false. In the same poll, only 22% of respondents were confident in the government’s ability to prevent a terrorist attack – an unsettlingly low number. All of these numbers from a year and a half ago, when our country was so close to an election, all explain the recent uptick in gun sales.
Americans watch the news, and are aware of what is going on around the world. We see it almost daily. Terrorist attacks in Europe, in places that seemed perfectly safe until recently, and even acts of domestic terrorism here in the United States have citizens concerned about their safety. Not to mention the instances of everyday crimes, which interestingly enough, is usually higher in places that have stricter gun laws. Legal access to firearms make citizens and their communities safer, and a country of armed, responsible citizens is a deterrent to criminals everywhere.
Lone-wolf terrorist attacks are on the rise, and the police can’t always get there fast enough to stop the attacker before they hurt or kill people. Many attackers are known to the FBI and law enforcement, but there is little the government can do to intervene if the attacker keeps a low enough profile. It is up to responsibly armed citizens to be the first line of defense when these situations arise. Whether they are protecting just themselves, their family, or a classroom full of schoolchildren, people can see a clear need to arm themselves and know how to respond in a life threatening situation.
Back when the framers of the Constitution spelled out our freedoms in writing, the gun lobby did not exist. They were under no pressure from any interest groups regarding guns, and with pure intentions, wrote that “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” With a leader in the White House that embraces and respects the Second Amendment, the tide is quickly turning toward a society that embraces responsible gun ownership, and does not condemn people for want to protect themselves.
Tim Schmidt is the president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, and may be contacted at [email protected].