Last Friday’s gun sales activity overwhelmed the National Instant Check System and provided retailers all over the country with a very green “Black Friday,” but did it also provide government anti-gunners a clue about how to suspend the Second Amendment?
That appears to be what some in the gun rights community are wondering, including our colleague Kurt Hofmann in St. Louis, who says there was no excuse for the crash.
In all fairness, there was no “crash” in the literal sense, but clearly the system was overwhelmed by the volume of traffic. “Instant” checks became frustrating waits for up to several hours for some people, and dealers had an awful time getting through.
Examiner chatted Monday afternoon with Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, who said “Black Friday” was simply awesome in the apparent volume of retail firearms transactions. Preliminary figures indicate there was a 20 percent jump in background checks over the same day last year, when there was somewhere in the neighborhood of 129,000 checks in a single day. This year’s figure was more than 154,500.
Last Friday – even with its bogged-down system – appears to have been a record-setter, Sanetti said. The figures support his statement.
So, what happened Friday may also have demonstrated how a right delayed just might translate to a right denied, to paraphrase the late Dr. Martin Luther King. If some anti-gun administration didn’t want citizens obtaining more firearms, for whatever reason, all it would essentially have to do is pull the plug. If a background check cannot be completed, neither can the transaction. Gun shops all over the map reported paperwork back-ups and inability to connect because of the huge volume of traffic. While they waited, guns could not be released to customers. It was as close to a shutdown as anyone would want to come.
Say the system did crash. How long could such a shutdown, for whatever legitimate-sounding reason, continue before citizens become impatient, if not downright suspicious? Twenty-four hours, perhaps? Maybe 48 hours and possibly 72 hours, but by “hour 73,” one suspects that the public, firearms retailers and curious Congressional conservatives would be asking questions.
But by then, would the tinfoil hat crowd be righteously declaring “We warned you” as they flooded talk radio telephone lines and the e-mail inboxes of friends, relatives, neighbors, the various gun rights organizations and everyone on Capitol Hill?
What is known is that last Friday not only demonstrated that the NICS system could be overwhelmed, and theoretically crashed by volume, it also proved that Americans want guns, and they want a lot of them.
Since the Supreme Court ruled by a paper-thin margin that the Second Amendment protects and affirms a fundamental individual civil right to keep and bear arms, millions of Americans have exercised that right for the first time. They are not about to surrender that right just because it might make the gun prohibition lobby feel better about itself.
Friday sent two strong signals. One was to the NICS headquarters, that maybe it should beef up the telephone lines and add personnel. The other was to would-be gun grabbers who are faced with something of a dilemma.
All these guns they don’t want people to have; well, the people already have them, and they’re going to buy a lot more.
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Second Amendment Foundation
Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
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