Though it’s been 147 years since the Civil War cleaved this country in two, at times it feels like the United States is still a country at war with itself. This is the feeling one gets upon hearing the news that just as the president, lawmakers and thought leaders are trying to figure out how to keep assault rifles and automatic weapons out of the hands of the mentally unstable, gun stores and gun manufacturers are selling so many assault rifles and high-capacity magazines that suppliers have run out of stock.
This is the scenario that gun lovers had been warned about ever since President Obama appeared on the national scene—that once he got in office, he would try to take away your guns. But for the most part, the doomsday scenarios were wrong—Obama left the gun crazies alone. It turns out that they didn’t have Obama to fear—they should have been fearing their own: gun lovers such as Nancy Lanza of Connecticut, whose son Adam got his hands on her beloved gun stash and blew her away, in addition to 20 first graders, 6 educators and himself. Or Aurora, Colorado shooter James Holmes, whose four-gun arsenal and 100-round drum allowed him to shoot 70 people, killing 12, at a July showing of the Batman movie.
According to a story on CNN, gun stores and manufacturers across the country are seeing record sales as gun lovers try to stock up on the assault rifles, semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines before Congress takes up the issue as soon as the end of this week, if California Senator Dianne Feinstein gets her way.
“Our phones are ringing every 10 seconds and people are saying, ‘Do you have any assault rifles?'” Dennis Pratte, owner of My Gun Factory in Falls Church, Va., a store that also sells products online, told CNN. “They’ve sold out of just about every gun shop nationwide and just about every distributor is out of stock.”
This is the classic Keynesian model of supply and demand, with the demand skyrocketing as the supply diminishes, and possibly eventually disappears.
“The retail market is completely sold out of anything with high-capacity magazines,” said Pratte. “We get people 20-deep waiting to buy.”
Pratte told CNN that he sells out of AR-15 rifles before he can even get them displayed on the wall. With the demand soaring, so have the prices. High-capacity magazines that used to cost $15 are now going for $100, while bullets for military-style semiautomatic rifles have tripled in price to about one dollar per bullet.
Perhaps if the bullet prices go up enough, we might get to Chris Rock’s half-joking solution to American gun violence—charge such an exorbitant price for bullets that people won’t ever want to shoot anybody because it costs too much.
As gun owners stock up, shooter Adam Lanza’s estranged father Peter Lanza quietly collected his son’s body last week and held private arrangements over the weekend at an undisclosed location for the Newtown killer. Nancy Lanza, who was divorced from Peter several years ago, was buried in a private service in New Hampshire earlier this month.