As Kenosha and Minneapolis Burn, Millions of Americans Buy Guns

As Kenosha and Minneapolis Burn, Millions of Americans Buy Guns by  for Mises

It’s increasingly clear to even the average American that if riots come to your neighborhood, you’re on your own. The message received is increasingly be this: if your plan is to wait until the police show up to provide “protection,” be prepared to wait a long time. Consequently, as violence appears to surge in America’s cities, millions of Americans have become first-time gun owners.

Government Officials Aren’t Keeping Us “Safe”

There are two trends at work which are making Americans doubt that government law enforcement is reliable and effective.

On the one hand, the public is witnessing nightly displays of looting, rioting, and general civil unrest. At the same time, many police officers don’t appear particularly able or willing to defend the public against looters and rioters. Homicide rates in New York, for example, have surged among accusations of a “police slowdown.” A number of police departments (including those in Los Angeles and Atlanta) are rumored to be using strategies such as the “blue flu” in which police personnel pretend to be ill as a negotiating tactic for obtaining political favors from lawmakers. But even when police personnel are able, there are not enough of them in most cases to truly address the ongoing nightly violence in many cities. And in some cases, elected officials, like in Portland and Chicago, appear uninterested in confronting rioters with much enthusiasm at all.

It easy to see how ordinary Americans could look on current events with increasing alarm. On August 29, a man was allegedly murdered by at least one protestor among the many who have been protesting, rioting, and looting in Portland for more than three months. Two weeks ago, a truck driver sustained serious injuries, also in Portland, when he was attacked by a group of “protestors” while reportedly attempting to help a woman who was being robbed. Last week in Kenosha, protestors were seen attacking a teenager who had been attempting to protect businesses from looting and vandalism. The teen reportedly opened fire in self-defense.  In Washington, DC, a mob threatened restaurant patrons, and in Minneapolis, dozens of businesses have been burned and looted.

But even before the current rash of arson, looting, and violence, the police response to serious crime was never terribly impressive. For violent crimes, studies have shown police may take up to an hour to respond more than one-third of the time. (This summer, response times fo rthe NYPD are up by four minutes compared to last year.) And if one survives an attack from violent criminals, one shouldn’t assume justice will be done. Fewer than half of violent crimes are ever “solved” in the United States.

Gun Purchases Are Growing

Meanwhile, gun purchases have surged.

According to new estimates from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), using the FBI’s National Instant Background Check System (NICS), “there were over 12 million guns bought in the first seven months of 2020—up more than 70 percent over the same time span in 2019. This number is likely to include nearly 5 million first-time gun owners so far this year.”

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