Gun Industry Profits Off NRA’s Fearmongering About Obama Gun Policies

Gun stores across the nation are reporting a surge in gun sales since the election of Barack Obama. Customers are convinced that Obama either seeks to limit or revoke entirely Americans’ rights to bear arms. As the Chicago Tribune reports today:

Some say they are worried that the incoming Obama administration will attempt to reimpose the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004. Others fear the loss of their right to own handguns. A few say they are preparing to protect themselves in the event of a race war.

Some gun sellers like Wild West Guns in Anchorage, AK are holding “Obama Sale” events to take advantage of their customers’ misinformed fears and news outlets from NPR to Fox News have produced reports documenting the gun buying binge:


The FBI reported that from November 3-9, they “received over three hundred and seventy thousand requests for background checks on gun buyers” — a 49 percent increase since last year. Moreover, “reports from around the nation suggest the sudden surge of November gun-buying is far surpassing the normal hunting-season spike that often occurs this time of year.”

What the major media outlets overlook is that the Obama gun sale boom appears to be the result of a multimillion dollar effort launched by the National Rifle Association last summer to misinform voters about Obama’s gun policy proposals. As Politico reported in June:

The National Rifle Association plans to spend about $40 million on this year’s campaign, with $15 million of that devoted to portraying Barack Obama as a threat to the Second Amendment rights. … This fall, NRA members will get automated phone calls, mail pieces and pre-election editions of the group’s three magazines making the case against Obama.

The NRA claimed of Obama, “[N]ever in NRA’s history have we faced a presidential candidate … with such a deep-rooted hatred of firearm freedoms.” As FactCheck notes, however, the NRA’s campaign is based almost entirely on falsehoods. Indeed, FactCheck writes, much of the NRA’s campaign “dismisses Obama’s stated position [on gun rights] as ‘rhetoric’ and substitutes its own interpretation of his record as a secret ‘plan.'”

The “political uncertainty” created by the NRA’s misinformation campaign may have more to do with making a sale than it does with shaping gun policy. The New York Times explained last week:

What is clear is that every gun seller — not to mention every advocacy group for gun ownership that depends on dues-paying members — has an incentive to stoke the concern that can prompt a gun sale. Political uncertainty, gun dealers say, is great for business. … “Clinton was the best gun salesman the gun manufacturers ever had,” said Rick Gray, owner of the Accuracy Gun Shop in Las Vegas. “Obama’s going to be right up there with him.”