Several readers have approached me in recent days concerned about the drastic price increases some retailers are placing on popular semi-automatic rifles and magazines now that gun owners anticipating post-Newtown gun bans are engaging in a nationwide buying frenzy. In a related phenomenon, others have inquired about their options now that the Dick’s Sporting Goods chain has reneged on orders for Troy Carbines.
While some gun owners dismiss soaring prices as simply the supply and demand effects of a free marketplace, others consider opportunistic price increases as gouging and have expressed resentment at those establishments engaging in it. And some gun owners feeling cheated by the sudden Dick’s decision are contemplating a class action lawsuit.
Both of these developments were part of the Roundtable discussion on last night’s “Armed American Radio” program with host Mark Walters, where Gun Rights Examiner had a chance to raise the issues with George Hill, nationally-recognized firearms instructor and expert, and pioneering gun blogger at MadOgre.com.
“I work for a local ‘Mom and Pop’ store,” Hill explained. “We’re a small town. We can’t afford to have the reputation that we’re gouging anybody.
“We’ve had to take another tack,” he explained, “which is limit ammo sales to a handful of boxes at a time, just a couple of magazines at a time and things like that. We’ve also had to create a waiting list for AR-15-type guns, which are the most popular. As they come in, people first on the list get called first.
“They may be making short-term gains, but people are going to remember for the long term,” Hill observed about retailers “spiking” items because they can. “That type of kneejerk reaction is going to cost them dearly down the road.”
As for the situation at Dick’s, Hill acknowledged “that was a great deal” with “special exclusive pricing.
“Even if Dick’s gives everybody their money back, that’s not going to get them another AR-15 from anybody,” he said. “Because of Dick’s refusal to transfer these guns per their agreement … these guys are basically left holding the bag. There’s nothing they’re going to be able to do except maybe some class action lawsuit.”
Jim Irvine of Buckeye Firearms Association then joined the discussion to talk about his organization’s Armed Teacher Training Program. The entire third hour segment can be heard at the ‘Armed American Radio’ website, along with the first two hours, featuring, Neil McCabe of Human Events.com and Guns and Patriots, economist John Lott, author of “More Guns Less Crime,” and Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, also archived for convenient listening.
One observation made on last night’s program that I believe bears repeating is a real-world example of how “Profiles in Apathy” come back to bite us all: Were more gun owners involved in protecting the right to keep and bear arms to reflect our substantial numbers rather than a mere fraction of them, we would not need to be having this discussion, because politically, our rights would be secure. Were memberships in pro-gun organizations or measured in tens of millions of supporters, there would be no need for panic buying, because political threats would be dead on arrival. Had the majority of gun owners spent the last several years ponying up tens of dollars toward memberships or supporting special projects, they would not now be faced with the prospect of spending extra hundreds or more, assuming the racks, counters and shelves haven’t already been emptied of all the good stuff.
Perhaps the latest anti-gun firestorm will bring more into the fold in 2013. If you’re not already involved beyond being a consumer — of merchandise, of information, of whatever — have I got some New Year’s Resolutions for you.
Listen to last night’s “Armed American Radio” program:
- Hour One
- Hour Two
- Hour Three (Roundtable)
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