Soaring gun sales in Arizona may spike again following mass shootings
Published on May 27, 2022 at 1:21 p.m.
Gun sales in Arizona have surged in recent years and experts say they could rebound, sparked by reports of multiple mass shootings in the United States.
FBI data shows there have been more than 4.3 million background checks on gun purchases in the state over the past decade, and a third of those have had taken place in the past two years alone. The 61,899 firearms background checks completed last month were the highest for an April since at least 1999, according to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
While gun rights and gun control advocates agree on virtually nothing, they believe the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, have the potential to boost sales again.
“It’s driven by insecurity, chaos and uncertainty, by fear of gun restrictions or bans being passed,” said Jennifer Carlson, a sociologist at the University of Arizona. , who is currently working on a book on gun politics. “Generally, yes, we see spikes [on gun sales] after mass shootings.
An Arizona Citizens Defense League official agreed, but for a different reason.
“Rising gun sales are a natural consequence of people taking responsibility for their own safety,” said Charles Heller, co-founder of the group.
Their comments come as the nation reels from two high-profile mass shootings in the past two weeks alone, the latest of 214 mass shootings in the United States so far this year that have left 242 dead and 926 wounded, according to the Gun Archives of Violence. He reported three mass shootings so far this year in Arizona, which left three dead and 16 injured.
The gun debate escalated after a gunman allegedly touting white supremacy theories entered a supermarket in Buffalo and opened fire on black shoppers on May 14. Nine shoppers and a security guard, aged 32 to 86, were killed in the attack.
Ten days later, an 18-year-old gunman, who authorities say bought two AR-15 type rifles on his birthday, entered Robb Primary School in Uvalde where he killed 19 students and two teachers on Tuesday before being shot dead by police. .
The recent shootings have led to the usual offerings of “thoughts and prayers” and sparked a new round of now familiar debates.
The Arizona Republican Party tweeted
On Tuesday, America must “come together…and overcome these senseless tragedies”, but said the nation had “not even scratched the surface of mental health in America”. On the same day, Arizona House Democrats accused
GOP leaders in the Legislature out of “sheer cowardice” for refusing to hold hearings on 13 gun violence prevention bills that have been stalled in the Legislature, and urged the leaders to ” finally show courage” on the measures.
But that might be a tough sell in Arizona, a state that “respects” Americans’ gun rights, according to the National Rifle Association. Gun control group Giffords, meanwhile, gives Arizona an F on its annual gun law scorecard and ranks it 42nd among states for gun safety. .
“If more guns meant we were safer, we’d be the safest country in the world,” said Missy Paschke-Wood, a volunteer leader with Moms Demand Action in Arizona. “And we are not.”
The Tucson resident has two daughters, ages 10 and 6, and said recent shootings have made her feel less safe as a parent.
“Just like tens of millions of parents every day, and certainly on Wednesday mornings, we need to hug our children,” she said. “We have to have faith that today won’t be the day we get a terrible phone call, that we won’t be sampled for our DNA.”
But Heller said gun control measures that supporters like Paschke-Wood want will only backfire.
“Any time a government braggart starts talking about how the gun is the problem, people naturally come out and buy more,” Heller said. “This is called a perverse effect. It stimulates the exact thing they claim they don’t want to happen.
Carlson, a professor at the University of Arizona, said the problem was much bigger than laws and policies. But she is not optimistic about what can be achieved in our current “broken political system”.
“We have to dwell on this desperation for a bit,” she said. “It’s recognizing that dealing with this means dealing with not just the guns themselves, but the deeper issues of democracy that are crumbling in this country.”
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