American gun enthusiasts are buying up everything from the affordable and simple-to-use RAS-47 assault rifle modeled on the AK-47, to semi-automatic pistols and handguns, fearing fresh gun restrictions in the event of Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton winning in a landslide on Election Day on 8 November.
"This is a Catch-22 for gun control proponents. Gun sales have jumped because people are stocking up in case Clinton brings in legislation to ban most semiautomatic weapons," said industry analyst Brian Costa who covers gun makers Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger.
In the run-up to the elections, Costa says Americans have been buying handguns and AR 15s or modern sporting rifles which gun-control advocates call assault weapons.
GunsAmerica, which lets people buy and sell shotguns and tactical rifles online, is cheekily advertising a special "Hillary Clinton Edition" which consists of a top five pick of guns it thinks Americans should absolutely own before Election Day.
Gun sales are also soaring on the back of scare-mongering stage-managed by the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA), and the rich gun industry it represents. It's no secret that the gun lobby hates Clinton with a passion: It is the biggest spender backing her pro-gun Republican rival Donald Trump.
The NRA has spent over $6 million on anti-Clinton ad sprees suggesting she could enact a ban on gun ownership. The latest ad shows a woman being woken up in the dead of night as a man kicks down her bedroom door. A narrator then intones: "She’ll call 911. Average response time: 11 minutes. Too late." The woman in the ad lurches to desperately open a gun safe where she keeps her firearm, but the gun vanishes into thin air as the voiceover warns, “Hillary Clinton could take away her right to self-defense. Don’t let Hillary leave you protected with nothing but a phone."
The NRA ad willfully misrepresents Clinton's position on guns. During Wednesday's debate Clinton told moderator Chris Wallace that while she is a strong believer in the Second Amendment which allows Americans to own guns, she believes “there can be, and there must be reasonable regulation.”
Clinton is in favour of common sense reforms to keep guns away from terrorists and mass shooters. She wants to expand comprehensive background checks in the aftermath of the brutal mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando in June this year.
"I want people who shouldn’t have guns not to be able to threaten you, kill you or members of your family,” said Clinton. “More than 33,000 people a year die from guns. I think we need comprehensive background checks, we need to close the online loophole, close the gun show loophole.”
Clinton's common sense gun reform position is an abomination for the NRA which has for four decades been the strongest force in shaping lenient gun laws across America. It has turned Florida into a state gun owners have cheerfully nicknamed the "Gunshine State." Super relaxed gun control laws have ensured that at least one in every 49 Floridian has a concealed weapon carry permit. This is nothing compared to the Wild West of Missouri where the Republican-controlled legislature voted in September this year to execute "a wholesale retreat from gun safety" in the state.
Clinton will have her work cut out in trying to reinstate the assault weapons ban, which passed under her husband president Bill Clinton, but expired in 2004 under Republican president George W Bush.
It was brave of Clinton to take a principled stand on guns during Wednesday's debate as gun control is a lightning-rod issue among American voters, and even Democrats are scared it can injure them. High profile Democrats including Bernie Sanders have been wary this election cycle about pressing for gun control after Democrat Al Gore famously lost his home state of Tennessee in 2000 — the first time an American presidential candidate has failed to win his own state since 1972 — over guns and abortion rights.
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Updated Date: Oct 25, 2016 09:45:14 IST