As my regular readers know, my wife and I have been gun owners since the middle of last year and now have a few handguns between us for purposes of self defense. Like all other responsible gun owners, we hope and pray every day that we will never need to use our guns in an emergency. But, if we are threatened by criminals who intend to harm us, we do not intend to be made into victims.

These days, lots of people are buying guns and stocking up on gun related supplies. In fact, gun, gun accessory, and ammunition sales have been through-the-roof for several months now. The reasons are twofold.

First, people who believe that the right to ‘keep and bear arms’ is a fundamental human right are honestly concerned that the Democratic Party leadership in Congress and the White House will roll out new counterproductive restrictions on civilian firearm ownership. There has been talk of bringing back Clinton-era laws that unnecessarily limited ‘high capacity magazines’ and certain guns that, primarily because of how they looked, got branded as ‘assault weapons’. These laws, like most ‘gun control’ laws, had little or no effect on the criminals (who don’t care if something is illegal) and unlawfully infringed on the right to bear arms for law-abiding, responsible gun owners like myself. We gun owners are stocking up on things that might get restricted, like the 17-round magazines for my Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm, just in case.

Second, a secondary driver today but likely to become a more long-term influence on gun sales, is the economy. Significant economic downturns tend to result in an increase in violent crime, and increases in violent crime tend to drive gun sales to responsible citizens who don’t want to be left defenseless in an emergency. As the economic calamity accelerates with willing assistance of the federal government and its mindless bailout bonanza, we free market folks see things getting much worse before it gets better. Mark my words: with every bailout, every federal intervention, and every step toward socialism, things will get worse.

When you combine these two concerns, you can see why lots of observant Americans want to exercise their Second Amendment rights. The right to bear arms was put in place by the founders to ensure we could protect ourselves from aggressors, whether they be in despotic governments, foreign invaders, or home-grown criminals. Well, our government looks poised to get a bit more despotic, and we’re almost definitely going to see a real spike in violent crime soon. This economic bust is therefore a boom time for manufacturers of defensive weapons.

I don’t think this is a bad thing. Every additional law abiding, responsible gun owner makes society that much safer against murderers, rapists, and other criminals. As always though, I strongly emphasize that ‘law abiding, responsible’ part. Everybody who owns a gun should go to great lengths to learn their weapons, use them proficiently and safely, and store them securely away from children. There is no excuse for owning a gun and storing it where children can access it. There is no excuse for owning a gun and discharging it accidentally.

The real down side is that demand, at the moment, is far outstripping supply. This effects new and old gun owners alike.

When I bought my Kel Tec P-3AT in January, a reliable, inexpensive firearm intended for legal concealed carry, I had to settle for a slide finish and grip colors that weren’t what I really wanted. If I had decided to be picky, I might still be waiting. It was sheer luck that the store even had one of the weapons in stock, and they did indeed only have one. The salesman told me that they were having an impossible time keeping them stocked, and if I bought that one (which I did) it might be weeks before they got one more.

Today, I needed to buy some defensive ammunition for that same weapon, which takes rounds in the .380 Auto caliber. My two preferred local gun stores were both completely out of stock. Incredibly, they weren’t just out of the particular Federal Hydra-Shok hollow point ammo I was looking for. They were out of all .380 Auto defensive ammunition all together. Supply of ammo in other calibers was also quite poor, though not as dramatic as the totally empty shelf space intended for .380 Auto. Cheaper Than Dirt, an online store that sells gun accessories and ammunition and another place I shop for my supplies, is also completely out of .380 Auto ammunition and has very limited supply in most other calibers.

I managed to finally find the defensive rounds I was looking for at a local Dick’s Sporting Goods, as they had (by-chance) just gotten a shipment of the very ammo I was looking for. The shipment came in yesterday, and after I bought my two boxes there were only four left on the shelf. I don’t know how many boxes come in a ‘shipment’, but I’m pretty sure the remaining four won’t last very long.