The Corner

The Surge in New Gun Sales Is Entirely Rational

Hugh Hewitt tweeted, “Attacks like yesterday add to necessity of an armed population, especially with a president who does nothing serious to stop the spread of jihadism.”

Washington, D.C., police chief Cathy Lanier, an otherwise staunch advocate of gun control, recently stated that those facing a gunman face the choice to run, hide, or fight. “If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there.”

Black Friday set a new one-day record for gun background checks — more than 185,000 requests were processed.

Americans are purchasing guns in part because they feel the need to take their own safety into their own hands. This is not just Ted Nugent envisioning Americans fighting off a Red Dawn–style invasion. Can you blame American citizens for getting a sneaking feeling that portions of the federal government have opted out of the job of protecting them?

The former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said the Obama administration ignored reports about ISIS getting stronger. Defense Department analysts say their assessments about ISIS are getting sugarcoated. The president calls ISIS a “JV team,” later says they’re “contained.”

And now we find out the San Bernardino shooters had “an IED factory” in their home. At this point, there has been no indication that either shooter was on any federal terrorism watch list.

Does the federal government have the threat of Islamist terrorism under control? Our military, police, investigators, and intelligence agencies are undoubtedly working hard, but there’s obvious reason for concern.

We recently learned the FBI has nearly 1,000 active probes involving suspected ISIS members and plots inside the United States; furthermore, “at least 48 ISIS suspects are considered so high risk that the FBI is using its elite tracking squads known as the mobile surveillance teams or MST to track them domestically.” The Bureau is investigating suspects in all 50 states.

FBI director James Comey indicated the Bureau was getting stretched thin:

Because the pace of the investigations has varied in the last several months, Comey said it was still unclear whether the bureau had the necessary resources to meet the demand. Comey referred to a particularly taxing period in mid-summer when federal authorities expressed public concern about the prospect of an attack around the July Fourth holiday.

“If that becomes the new normal . . . that would be hard to keep up,” the director said, though he said the pace has eased somewhat recently.

When something awful happens, some government authorities and leading voices in media seem to examine every possible option other than Islamist terrorism.

The Fort Hood shooting is classified as “workplace violence.” Immediately after the Boston Marathon bombing, the press rushed to former government experts to discuss their suspicion that militias committed the attacks because of the date.

In December 2013, Susan Rice declared, “we have not had a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11” — obliviously forgetting both Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon bombing six months earlier. (Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad’s deadly attack on a Little Rock military recruiting office in June 2009 is almost entirely forgotten.) The 2014 FBI national threat assessment for domestic terrorism made no reference to Islamist terror threats.

Director Comey said last month they still didn’t know what motivated Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez to kill four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee this summer. Really?

Yes, it is thankfully unlikely that any American individual will be at the scene of a terror attack or mass shooting. But in this environment, a choice to purchase a firearm and carry it in adherence to applicable laws is an entirely rational one. If, God forbid, a gun owner finds himself encountering an active shooter or a terror attack, at least he has a chance to defend themselves. No, there’s no guarantee of a safe outcome. But people undoubtedly feel more secure with that option at hand than waiting for the police to arrive.

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