The atrocity of September 11 galvanized our nation. It was a wake-up call to thousands of American citizens to finally pull their heads out of the sand and realize that there is danger in the world.
And Americans began arming themselves.
The upsurge in retail gun sales and related goods is much needed for a flagging industry -- a small silver lining in a very dark cloud. Will it continue? Most experts believe that the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and now through the mails, are just the beginning. Our citizens' reasonable fear may not have good cause to abate any time soon.
This is the third wave of desperation-motivated gun buying. The first came in the mid-'90s, and was driven by a fear that pending gun legislation would wipe out the chance to ever own either a modern long gun designed for defense or a personal-protection handgun. The second came in 1999 with the media-fueled Y2K panic.
In all three cases, we had a break from the normal buying paradigm. Traditionally, a person who bought their first gun was like a person buying their first chain saw. They made the purchase to meet an immediate need, not merely to "have it just in case." Since the product was to be used right away, they immediately learned to use it correctly and safely. Often, the learning came before the purchase.
That changed during the three waves of panic-driven gun buying. We now have a large number of citizens who have bought guns and ammo, but not learned to use them or even store...