A few random thoughts about guns, and then I leave it up to Congress:
• I did not go to the Utah Gun Collectors gun show at the Weber County Fairgrounds last weekend, but Roy resident Dave Baker did. He wanted to sell his Ruger Mini-14 rifle.
“When you’ve got Democrats taking over our government, sales go up,” he told our reporter, which made me wonder: When did gun ownership in America become a political party thing?
I’ve been accused of having Democratic leanings, but when I started at this newspaper in 1978, some of the first things I covered were mountain man rendezvous in Box Elder County.
Mountain men were ultra cool. I bought a rifle, joined the Bear River Valley Muzzleloaders and was a good shot. Cut a playing card edge-wise at 30 yards? I could.
Most delightfully, shoots were politics-free. Everyone was welcome, everyone had a good time. We camped out, we told lies, everyone was friends.
Now guns are highly political. I asked about gun prices on Facebook on Monday morning — just prices, up or down? — and got half a dozen long rants.
I’d love to go shoot again, but I don’t want someone thinking I’m a rabid Obama-hater, paranoid about government, because I want to punch holes in paper plates.
It’s a heck of a world where making loud noise and blowing stuff up has to be politically correct. Shooting a milk jug full of water (it splashes everywhere) should not be a political statement.
• Speaking of guns, I’m sure Mr. Baker got a good price. The best time to sell anything is during a national frenzy.
Remember Cabbage Patch Dolls, Furbies, Beanie Babies or, during 2006, houses?
In each case, sellers made a killing; buyers were left feeling silly.
Now it’s guns. Dealers and manufacturers, careful to point out you need to buy now before they’re banned, are boosting production and racking up profits.
Scott VanLeeuwen, owner of the Gifthouse on Ogden’s 25th Street, said “anything that looks like a black gun,” one of those military-style things, “has gone up in price, just from the fear that you’re not going to be able to buy them any more.”
Sporting rifles, the things actual hunters use, are not rising, however.
My advice: Hold off.
Trust me, I wish Congress would adopt reasonable restrictions, but we all know it will balk. No meaningful law will pass.
When the demand slows, folks “investing” in AR-15s and Glocks will discover their stock is losing value, or at least not gaining.
If you must buy, that’s the time to bargain and get a better price.
• Final say: Had a note from a retired Upstate New York policeman now living in Pleasant View who has a low opinion of folks buying guns to stop bad guys.
“I have many years of law enforcement experience in a large city,” he said. “I can tell you that (taking) a four-hour conceal course (the standard Utah conceal carry course) is NOT (making someone) well-trained.
“I had to fully requalify every six months. The six-month requalify was stressful, as a low score meant getting taken off the street immediately.
“I’m sure few of the conceal people will put in the time or money to stay proficient. It’s insane to think that these conceal people can really prevent anything and likely will make things worse.”
If we had more folks like this involved in the gun debate, and fewer making political hash out of it, we might even get somewhere.