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Election countdown: Get ready for run on guns at Bass Pro

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POSTED September 18, 2012 12:58 a.m.

You might want to do your gun shopping at Bass Pro Shops now to avoid the rush should President Barack Obama get re-elected in November.

That’s because gun and ammo retailers across the country are expecting a repeat of 2008 when Obama’s election prompted a huge surge in sales. Four years ago ammo flew off the shelves as Bass Pro Shops’ Manteca store faster than Air Jordans or the latest iPhone at the stroke of midnight on their first release date.

Cabelas - one of Bass Pro Shops’ primary competitors - anticipates gun sales will go up 25 percent if the president is re-elected. If Mitt Romney gets into office, Cabelas believes the fourth quarter will see their stores sell an uptick in hunting gear such as camouflage suits and no significant jump in gun and ammo sales.

Bass Pro Shops has indicated they anticipate gun sales to increase as Nov. 6 nears but declined to provide any specifics to inquiries from media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal. Wal-Mart - the largest purveyor of retail gun and ammo sales - opted not to comment at all about weapon sales being influenced by presidential politics.

The reason why sales are expected to pick up has everything to do with perception and not necessarily reality.

A good number of people who are gun owners are convinced that President Obama is somehow going to severely erode 2nd Amendment rights if he’s re-elected. It didn’t happen the first time around but gun sales nevertheless surged anyway.

National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Aralanadam contends Obama will be able to push for more stringent gun control laws because he won’t have to worry about running again if he’s re-elected. That may seem like a reasonable concern but it isn’t unless the Republicans lose control of the House and every conservative Democrat in Congress is defeated. Obama may not have to worry about re-election if he secures a second term but the conservative members of his party do.

Then there is the new reality of women assuming more complete roles in the military. Returning women veterans are helping swell the ranks of gun clubs.

The gun debate in this country has been painted as black and white when in reality it is for the most part drenched in gray.

Those on the far left of the issue paint gun owners as nuts. They assume they all go around driving pickup trucks with gun racks. By the way, I know more than a few people who have pick-up trucks with gun racks and they include Democrats, a liberal college professor, and a physician who I doubt has ever voted Republican in his life.

Then there are those on the far right of the issue that believe gun control advocates want the government to eventually kick in their doors and forcibly remove every gun and bullet they possess.

There are a lot of folks out there - myself included - who have never shot a gun and have absolutely no issues with the 2nd Amendment. That said reasonable restrictions on outlandish exercises of the 2nd Amendment such as stockpiling an arsenal of fully automatic weapons are no different than curbs on 1st Amendment free speech that don’t protect wanton irresponsible acts such as yelling fire in a  crowded theatre.

There is a difference between a weapon that is self-loading but not self-firing and those that are both self-loading and self-firing.

Tight controls on the sale and distribution of fully automatic weapons should not and must not infringe on basic 2nd Amendment rights. There is a need to curb outlandish abuses. Just as our right to worship as we please isn’t carte blanche - human sacrifices in the name of some deity, for example, aren’t constitutionally protected - the right to bear arms isn’t absolute. None of our basic rights are. They are tempered with restraint.

The 2nd Amendment debate attracts extremists who want to abolish it and extremists who want no hindrances.

That is why come Election Day it’s a given gun sales will surge should the president be re-elected or continue at their normal pace should Romney gain office.

And it’s not because of the political stance of either man but how they are painted by those who take a no-hostage approach to legislation.



This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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