Gun sales are booming as fears that a second Obama administration will mean new regulations on sales and ownership.
It may sound ironic, but a president who is perceived to support stronger gun laws may be indirectly responsible for putting more weapons in more hands.
During President Obama's first term, many gun enthusiasts bought firearms in fear that the government would further restrict ownership.
The fact that those fears did not materialize has not stopped a new round of rumors that the president will use his second term to focus on strict gun regulations. As a result, the firearms industry is among the bright spots in the manufacturing sector. Background checks related to retail gun sales have increased 17 percent in the past year, approaching about 1.5 million.
Some of those fears can be traced to concerns that Obama will bypass Congress through executive orders to enact steep ammunition taxes and other measures. Additional worries center on conspiracy theories related to U.N. efforts aimed at reducing the illicit international trafficking of small arms (www.un.org/events/smallarms2006/pdf/SettingRecordStraight.pdf.)
With so many major financial issues facing the nation, there is little evidence Obama will burn political capital on gun control issues. The government should do more to make sure guns don't end up in the wrong hands, but it is a divisive issue that Democrats would be wise to avoid if they want to maintain momentum gained in the 2012 election.
Gun dealers likely are more than happy to help perpetuate the rumor that strict controls are imminent. They are benefiting greatly from all the talk.