FIREARM PANIC BUYING
THEN AND NOW
(a brief history and prediction for 2019)
Since before the Democrat "Blue Wave" of the November 2018 elections, the anti-civil rights crowd that seeks to disarm the people has been in a tither, absolutely bonkers over not being in a position to ram disarmament down the throats of the citizenry. They have been barking at the heels of their lemming politicos who they own, demanding that they proceed with further attempts, regardless of the odds. The political class has been gun-shy (pardon the pun) to make any real attempts because they were soundly outnumbered, and no one likes looking like a fool when their pointless legislation dies.
But that was then, and this is now.
With the House completely in their hands, and the Senate so ever so barely in hands of the Republicans, the big giant push to force-feed gun control at the federal AND state level is underway. Bills have already been introduced (and more will follow) to ban rifles and feed devices and even mere parts and information. Likewise, licensing and permit schemes are afoot, as are supposedly temporary emergency holds, called "Red Flag" laws, where anyone anywhere can drop a dime on anyone else without any actual evidence of anything and get them administratively disarmed without due process,...potentially forever. Yeah,...that will never be abused.
Now some will say I am being alarmist about all this; that none of this will pass the Senate, much less judicial review. But whether it does or doesn't,...one thing is guaranteed. (In fact it is happening as you read this.) Prices are going to (again) go INSANE!!!!
This is a dynamic called "Panic Buying", which for those of you not genuflecting before a bust of Karl Marx understand is a natural and common (even expected) consequence of meddling in supply and demand economics. When a supply is threatened, demand for that supply goes up. As the demand rises, so do prices, almost regardless of the abundance of supply. Almost.
And those of us near my age (50) and older have seen this several times since the 80's when it comes to federal legislation and guns. This history dictates we are about to witness and experience it again. And THAT means that if you have cash on hand NOW, you can still buy goodies at low prices, perhaps to sell at a profit later or just to keep from having to pay more later. And maybe, if the prohibitionists are successful,...you might get the last of some things that may not be available freely in the future.
The 1986 Machine Gun Ban - Our first historical example is the 1986 FOPA (Firearm Owners' Protection Act), which was anything but. The intent of the bill had been to protect folks from one state innocently traveling through another. A gun owner from Arizona, for instance, was legally able to have a loaded handgun in the cab of their vehicle while driving it. But upon entering California, that act was now a felony. The FOPA declared that while in actual transit through another state where the laws may be different, as long as resident of state A was abiding by the laws of state A as they merely traveled through state B, though perhaps a technical violation of state B's laws, it was federally protected conduct. Upon, say, stopping for the night at a motel, the act of transiting had ceased, and state B's laws must be observed and obeyed. A rather sensible law, in most people's opinion.
But as the FOPA was going through it's final movements through the House before going to the Senate, NJ scumbag William J. Hughes (forever cursed be his despicable name) proposed an amendment "rider" that forbade any further allowance into interstate commerce machine guns for citizen consumption. Rather than even attempting to provide any sort of lame demented twisted excuse of mangled logic to pretend to authorize such blatant unconstitutional trespass, scumbag Hughes merely simpered "I don't see how anyone could be opposed to eliminating machine guns." The voice vote clearly defeated the amendment, but scumbag Charles Rangel of NY (forever cursed be his despicable name), who was overseeing the proceedings, ignored that and submitted the vote again to electronic tallying. And again, it was soundly defeated, 298 to 124, with 12 abstaining. The Hughes Amendment regarding the banning of machine guns, which was the second vote, was defeated in Record Vote No: 74. The bill, H.R. 4332, as a whole passed in Record Vote No: 75. Nevertheless, the Senate, in Senate Bill 49, adopted H.R. 4332 as an amendment to the final bill, which improperly included the defeated Hughes Amendment. It was subsequently passed and signed on May 19, 1986 by President Reagan to become Public Law No 99-308, Firearms Owners' Protection Act. The inclusion of the Hughes Amendment was a clear Fifth Amendment violation. Hughes and Rangel were longtime "gun control" supporters.
So the 1986 machinegun ban is not only unconstitutional, and illegal on that basis alone,...it never even actually passed!!
But I digress.
The point of all this is what happened as a result;...prices went STOOPID!
Prior to 1986, if you were willing to go through the hoops to legally own a machine gun (and that's another whole unconstitutionally prohibited thing, but don't get me started), you paid your $200 tax and made your own creation at home. A $50 collection of British STEN parts plus your $200 stamp,...you were now a machine gunner
But now the supply was finite,...it would never grow again. In fact, machine guns are machines, and machines break. Sometimes forever. So the fixed supply could only shrink over time. As that became understood,...suddenly Joe wasn't willing to sell his now golden STEN for the mere $50 it cost him to make. Now he wanted $100. And then it became $200. And eventually $400. Today, you can't find a simple measly STEN gun anywhere (legally) for under $6000!
Now there's other factors that have caused this soaring inflation. Number 1 is investor speculation. If you knew of any commodity that had increased 12,000% in value over 30 years,...would you buy it, even if it wasn't your thing? Damned skippy you would! And far too many machine gun owners today are exactly that. Do you think they want to see the 86' FOPA overturned and their investment vanish? Pfft! Does a bear,...aw,...you know.
That inflation has not been an even pace. It started slow, but the increasing arc has been radicalizing year by year. Or if looked at in the inverse, like a slippery slope. It took til 2005 (20 years) for the market price of a STEN to reach $3000. It took only slightly more than half that to reach $6000. Will they be $10,000 by 2030? Some think so.
The 1989 State and Federal Import Bans - In January of 1989, a mental defective by the name of Patrick Purdy used a Chinese imported semi-automatic AK47 to shoot up a grade school playground in Stockton, California. He racially targeted kids of Asian decent, killing 5 and wounding 32. This was used as the excuse to launch the first really coordinated legislative attack on weapons of appropriate utility of firepower. The state of California and several others such as Connecticut and New Jersey that year passed bans against further sales of newly manufactured or imported "assault rifles" and "assault pistols". Similar federal legislation was introduced as well, which ultimately passed and was signed by the scumbag George Bush (forever cursed be his despicable name). By the time a year had passed since the insane nitwit Purdy had committed suicide after his massacre, another copy of the $250 rifle he used now was selling for $600 if you could find someone willing to let go of it. And that was in a state where they had not been knee-jerkedly made even MORE valuable. In California, owners were suddenly demanding nearly $900 per specimen, because only samples already within the state were legal to sell, and who knew if anything like them would ever be available ever again?!
In some states, rifles imported before the federal importation ban could still be sold, but ONLY those. Domestically made clones were forbidden. With such a small, fixed pool of quickly increasing in premium price and demand items, prices continued to elevate, where they have remained to this day in those places. While in 2009 you could have paid $450 for a new Romanian AK47 in Arizona, if you lived in New Jersey you couldn't even get one and had to settle for paying about $1500 for a used Egyptian one.
1994 Assault Weapon Ban - In 1994, the scumbag John Kyl (forever cursed be his despicable name) was the sellout Senator who broke ranks seeking the women's vote for re-election and joined the Clinton bandwagon prohibiting not only importation but even domestic manufacture of "assault weapons" as well as high capacity magazines (feed devices) holding more than 10 rounds. Nearly over night, Glock mags holding 15 rounds that used to sell new for $15 were now selling used for $75 or even more. AK47 mags that had been $5 to $7 each suddenly became $30 and $40 items.
Of particular note; one of the most popular "assault rifles", the AR15, which is the civilian non-machinegun version of the military M16, uses the same feed device,...the magazine. Reservists, National Guardsmen and active duty soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen all had ready access to copious surplus extra amounts of used magazines for the M16/AR15 system. Before 1994, these were nearly a dime a dozen at most surplus stores for about $5 each. But unlike the Glock, AK47 and other magazines that went up in price,...there was a continual "leakage" of mags for AR15s on the market. If you had a buddy at Pendelton or Ft Bragg, you were willing to pay him $10 or $15 for used beat up specimens that he was getting for free. Hundreds of thousands of "leaked" or liberated 30-round magazines made their way into civilian hands between 1994 and 2004 when the ban expired. Keeping prices for these low. But as a result, new contract runs for government magazines began getting date-stamped in an attempt to stymie the flow. In the future, if there were to be another such shortage, all "leaked" mags will be easily identifiable as such. But many other secondary suppliers of after-market magazines during the current hostilities overseas have not been date-stamping their products, such as those made by Magpul. So who knows.
The U.S. Military Ammo Shortage of 2003-2005 - Unless you were a dedicated gundude like myself, you may not have noticed this. But prior to 9/11, the price of a single round of 5.56 (also known as .223) ammo, which is what our troops use in their rifles, sold at that time for about $0.15 cents each, depending on how frugally you shopped for it. And this was because the civilian market for this and other military-based calibers had traditionally been during peacetime. There is always somewhere a surplus supply of ammo being rotated out of war stockpiles somewhere in the world for pennies on the dollar it cost to buy it originally. Commercial resellers buy it up and market it to us guys. But the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan upended that equilibrium. Ammo production in the U.S. and most of NATO had been much reduced and centralized over the decades since major hostilities like WW2. But the rate of consumption of small arms ammunition in 2002 and 2003 by the U.S. and allied militaries soon began to squeeze off that yearly drip of surplus ammo. So much so, that the U.S. was worried it was actually expending more munitions than it was able to produce. Not only were all 3 major U.S. ammo manufacturers suddenly told it was their patriotic duty to focus on making ammo for Uncle Sam and temporarily forget about the civilian shooter,...but the U.S. actually started buying ammo from other nations' production runs, like Israel and Estonia and Taiwan.
To make a long story short, ammo that had previously been had for .15 cents a round was now fetching over double that, at an average of .35 cents per round for the cheapest you could find. And even these were usually rejected lots that had experienced an abnormal or unacceptable occurrence of failures or quality control of some kind, and were marked as "for training only".
Eventually, ammo of the same quality as front line troops became available again, and over time, it even came down in price a little. But it never went back to .15 cents. Today, government-spec ammo can be had for about .28 cents per round if you really know where to hunt for it.
Supply and demand. It's a bitch.
The Barack Obama Ammo Shortage of 2008-2009 - Understand that much of the aforementioned disastrous horsepuckey so far in this article occurred during 3 different Republican presidencies; Reagan, Bush and Bush The Lesser. While Dubbya didn't initiate any gun control during his reign, neither did he in any way actively attempt to undo any of it. Although some credit him for the expiration of the 1994 AWB by not signing the legislation to extend it in 2004, that isn't a pass. On gun control, Dubbya was a do-nothing neutral. McCain was a proven RINO and nobody trusted him to do anything with the Constitution except wipe his Hanoi microphone.
As a result, defenders of the right to arms were already quite aware that their supposed "friends" in Congress were only faithful to the campaign dollar, and that the incoming Kenyan administration was going to be funded more heavily and was a real true threat. No one knew exactly what the foriegn-born king was going to do. But they KNEW there was going to be SOMETHING. So from the moment the stores opened November 5th, the day after the election, the panic buying began. Semi-automatic rifles were flying off the shelves as fast as retailers could put them there. High-capacity mags did the same. Then the prices started rising. Then people who had scrounged up as many rifles as they could began "flipping" them for a few hundred bucks profit. Sometimes double what they paid. Manufacturers ramped up to produce all that they could, but it wasn't enough, and the situation lasted for months and months.
For whatever reasons, Obama and Congress didn't push the disarmament agenda immediately. Perhaps they knew they could at any time and were trying to just let the buying frenzy subside. The level of distrust ensured that took nearly 2 years.
About 2010, someone in Congress made serious noises about the increasing popularity of carrying small concealable guns and that perhaps there should be federal regulation preventing handguns from being TOO small,...akin to the previous Saturday Night Special invented crisis in 1968 that saw cheap affordable imported handguns banned from entering the country. It achieved nothing, but passed easily. Too easily. And folks remembered. A portion of the public who carried such pistols decided it might be a good idea to stock up on the ammo for these little poppers, just in case. The most common caliber in this category was (and remains) .380 (also known as 9x17 or 9mmKurtz). Popularity, for the reasons discussed, had already put a little bit of a strain on the supply chain for .380 ammo. But once there was a sudden spike in sales,...there was suddenly no more readily available to put back on the shelves. At first, this was nothing much to worry about. But as it got noticed, everyone started trying to hunt down the last few boxes for themselves. Then it truly did become a shortage,...one that was self-perpetuating. The harder it became to find any, the more people wondered if somehow this had been engineered by the government. Rumors spread that military purchasers had demanded ammunition manufacturers start throttling back civilian supply. It was all untrue, but rumors travel faster than facts.
It lasted over a year, but by early 2012, you could find .380 ammo on the shelf again at your local Walmart. However, during that period, some people had even been enterprising enough to start paying off or otherwise pigeon-holing the Walmart employees at the sporting goods counter to keep the newly arrived boxes behind the counter and reserved for them. Sometimes these fellows were doing so merely to "flip" the ammo online on local gun forums for a few bucks.
With that fresh in mind, then came,....
The Newtown Massacre 2012 - Most everyone reading this, no matter how young, likely know all about this event. The Democrat prohibitionists who had been patiently chomping at the bit for Obama to finally strike at the Bill of Rights were simply uncontainable and would just no longer be denied their demands. It was immediately obvious that this was the spilled blood of innocents they had been lusting for, and both sides knew it. The very next day, even though no legislative gun control push had yet been announced, I knew it was coming, and I went online and ordered a case of twenty 30-round AR15 magazines at $10 each. It was a good thing I did. In less than a week, the price was $20 each. Within 3 weeks, they were $35 each.
And so it was for all other magazines higher than 10-rounds, as well as assault rifles once again. Everyone just KNEW Obama was gonna win this one, even though we were gonna give it everything we got. A lot of gundudes were resigned to what seemed inevitable, and began thinking farther down the road than ever before. Many decided it was time to stockpile "war-ammo",...calibers which were required for the weapons appropriate to a rebellion, such as 9mm, .223, .45, .308, 7.62x39 and other military-based calibers. But even further long-term,...many began thinking of the children;...did they have enough .22lr ammo for their grandkids and great grandkids in perpetuity? If there was still low-level insurrection in 20 years, how would there be enough ammo to train with or teach the kids with? So fathers and grandfathers started buying ALL the .22 caliber ammo they could get their hands on. And just like the .380 shortage in 2010,...it went STOOPID!
The tripling in price of the military caliber ammo was not entirely a surprise. But .22 had always been cheap and plentiful. No one had EVER experienced any kind of supply hiccup with this. But for manufacturing reasons that are a bit complicated to explain to the uninitiated and our limited space and time here to describe it all as to why,...suffice it to say that ramping up increased production for the cheapest caliber ever was also the most expensive to accommodate for.
All through 2013, the most in demand calibers were horribly expensive, IF you could find it. .223 was selling for $1 per round that Jamuary of 2013. Triple the price 1 month before. 9Mm and 7.62x39 were nearly triple as well, but at least double. While the federal legislative efforts motivated by the Newtown tragedy were defeated well before the end of the year, the gun community was not yet calmed. More efforts were expected, and many folks got caught insufficiently armed up when it all occurred due to having had to sell off their guns and ammo during the economic crisis a few years before. Many hadn't made rearming a priority and the Kenyan still had them heavily spooked. The panic buying continued into 2014. Although it began to abate with the slightly lesser popular calibers, such as .40S&W which pretty much was available again by January of 2014. Then .45 that spring. Then .308 that fall. By winter, even 7.62x39, 9mm and .223 were beginning to be readily available. But the .22 shortage would run all the way until the spring of 2016.
Trump Gets Elected (2 really good years for prices) - Once Trump achieved the nomination of the Republican Party, many gundudes (myself included) believed that merely ensured Hillary was going to win. For nearly a full year, manufacturers ran night and day stocking up for the inevitable king of all panic buying seasons that would begin after her coronation. We were all shocked when it didn't happen.
Within weeks, operations that had over extended themselves and borrowed heavily to fund their production runs for the oncoming year were now looking down the barrel of bankruptcy with all this inventory that wasn't moving because gun owners were having a sigh of relief and weren't hemorrhaging their wallets to buy stuff. Ammo prices have been their lowest relative to inflation since before 9/11. The spring of 2017 began a fire sale for guns at screaming good prices that has continued right up until yesterday.
And Now The Storm Gathers On The Horizon - Despite how calm things have been at the federal level for gun rights since Trump took office, it has been a different matter for many states. Washington, Oregon, California, New York, Colorado and others have all suffered setbacks due to focused efforts of the anti-freedom fascist prohibitionists. All of this has been a bit of a laboratory for their schemes in anticipation of things changing in their favor nationally, and now the House is theirs. Already sample bills have been forwarded that propose all sorts of things. Listing it all here would be tiring. I'll simply save time by instead listing their targets. These are the things they want to go away and are about to attempt to kill off;
1. Assault weapons – as Washington state has shown, despite what is said, this will eventually include ALL semi-automatic guns, because ultimately the definition of "assault weapon" is too vague and difficult to set forth, and so many non-"assault weapons" are so easily convertible into such as to make it all pointless. So the destruction of any separation between "sporter" and "weapon of war" is inevitable, and always part of the plan anyway.
2. High-capacity magazines – Some will criticize me for not calling these "standard capacity" magazines. Yes, I agree with that, and the term is more accurate. But this is the term you will hear, and I am simply trying to point out what the enemy is up to.
3. "Ghost guns" also known as 80% receivers – You can no longer order a gun through the mail to your door, despite the internet, as we used to be able to before 1968 when there was more freedom. But you CAN order to your door a sufficiently incompletely manufactured gun. And it is legal, as it always has been, to make your own firearm. Currently, many popular "assault weapon" receivers (the regulated and serial numbered part of a gun) can be ordered in an incomplete and non-finished state. Typically, 80% of the manufacturing processes have been done, leaving you the consumer 20% of the fabrication to complete. As such, these are NOT firearms as they arrive in the mail box. For those who are truly dedicated to not having any trail or record of their owning or possessing such a weapon, these are very appealing. They are also simply quite fun as a project, much like guys who build hot rods.
4. 3D printed guns or gun parts – Perhaps the most pernicious scheme the Bill of Rights haters have in mind, the 1st Amendment is also attacked here along with the 2nd. The prohibitionists seek to criminalize sharing of data. They will try to confuse the issue and describe the effort in many ways, but it all comes down to sharing information,...which HAS TO BE CRIMINALIZED, as there is simply no other way to stop 3D printing technology. To achieve this is impossible without destroying or at least laying the framework for destroying the 1st Amendment rights of free association, expression, discussion, and exchange of ideas and written text, among others. This will be described as being of necessity hand-in-hand with the fight against "ghost guns" and 80% receivers and home manufacturing.
5. Pistol braces – I wrote an article that covered these rather well and how and why they have become such a popular thing. https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/244816-2018-08-02-buy-guns-while-you-still-can-part-4-assault-pistols.htm They were developed as a legal work around the onerous and pointless regulation of short barreled rifles. Some people just can't stand it that you are "getting away with" finding a fully legal way to avoid something incredibly dumb. So those kiljoys are going to try to kill it.
Just this past week, the bills were introduced. It is a VERY plain shot across the bow. As you read this, while many in the gun community will be pleading for calm and stating that Trump will fight these measures and the Senate is secure,...the stealth buying has already begun and sellers and retailers are already planning to mark up prices as soon as they feel they can justify it without overly or prematurely angering the buyers. The herd sees the lions on the horizon and are attempting to be alert yet stay orderly. But as the lions approach, the herd will stir, then panic. It is always so.
The items in most immediate demand (and risk) will be double-stack hi-cap magazines for the most popular handguns. This will mean Glock, primarily. As well, pistol caliber carbines that accept Glock magazines have been greatly popular the last 10 years. So get yourself some standard length and double-length Glock mags, primarily in 9mm, but also .40 10mm and .45. America's most popular rifle is the AR15. Buy the mags for these. AK47 mags are also a solid buy.
Buying a complete AR15 or AK47 can be expensive, but do so if you can. If not, a more affordable option is to merely buy a "receiver", which is the serial numbered part and the (currently) regulated part that is considered the gun in legal terms. These cost much less than the entire rifle, and can be completed and built into a functioning weapon later on. Likewise, although sometimes more expensive than a 100% receiver due to their popularity, consider buying one or several 80% receivers, for either AR15s or AK47s.
All of the above listed items will soon be difficult to attain and will be much more expensive than they are now if/when you find them at all months from now. Depending on the intensity of the panic, the military calibers may start selling out and getting scarce again, primarily 9mm and .223
Could I be wrong about all this? Sure. And I hope I am. But if you were to go out and spend money on these things, what's the worst that can happen?
A. You get stuck with some stuff that is currently at the cheapest prices they will ever be, and when the threat doesn't materialize as I say it will, it takes time to finally sell it all off and recoup your investment. Frustrating, but no biggie.
B. It all turns to prodigious poo as I predict, you sell off some or all of your stuff and make some bucks.
C. You buy and hold everything until 2020 to see if the stakes really change and go even higher,...holding out for even bigger money, or maybe joining a covert group of insurrectionists because it is now time.
Reclassifying "Assault Weapons" as Machineguns to register them – I have already mentioned the 1986 FOPA in which machinegun supply was capped forever. But the National Firearms Act of 1934 was the (unconstitutional) regulation scheme that encompasses machineguns, silencers, sawed-off shotguns and the like. Under the NFA of 34', Congress could not ban guns, but they claimed taxing authority over them. A heavily onerous $200 tax was required on each and any sale of such items (equal to $3700 today). Registration of each item and purchaser is accomplished via the "need" to enforce the tax. Rather than fight the threat of judicial review of banning assault weapons, it would be far too easy to simply include them as a category subject to the NFA. And while it would totally suck to have to pay $200 extra every time you buy another one, at least you could still get one. That is,...until Congress decides the whole $200 tax is no longer sufficient, and makes it $5000. And it would still be considered by the courts as not a ban because you could still buy them,...just be rich. This, to me, is the nightmare scenario because understanding the courts as I do, this gives the judiciary the perceived cover they need to justify obliterating the 2nd Amendment while claiming they have not. The NRA and other gun rights organizations totally anally fornicated themselves back in 1986 when they didn't fight the FOPA, not to mention the NFA in 1934. Such a fight will be even tougher now. And it will happen. Maybe not this year,...but it's coming. It has always been coming. Remember the $50 STEN prior to the 86' FOPA that now sells for over $6000? That AR15 you can buy today for $500,...could become monsterously more expensive in a few decades as well.