Series to focus on gun rights

This nation has just recently celebrated a birthday focused on the belief in an individual’s rights and freedoms: a fight in which our nation’s Founding Fathers and their supporters were immersed as they went about their daily lives, that continues to be a topic of discussion and dissent today.

At greatest issue still today remains – exactly what should be an individual’s right to have and bear arms for the purpose of being able to protect and defend the safety and security of themselves, loved ones, businesses and communities? Seldom are differing beliefs on this and related points ever viewed as simple differences of opinion.

Countless men and women have argued, fought, and died – as they still do today – to protect an American citizen’s right to independently decide his personal stand and accompanying lifestyle, when it comes to Second Amendment rights.

The impact of senseless school shootings and the full picture of the death and destruction that were part of the full scenario of the Boston Marathon bombings and related shootings have had a very real impact on the average American.

Experts say the impact manifested mainly in two ways: growing concern about proposed new government gun control legislation and its impact on future access ran up sales at an already historically busy time of year for retail operations.

Others simply wanted to purchase a gun to shore up their sense of personal safety.

Further proof of this impact was the historic level of background checks run through the FBI’s National Instant Check System seen in late December 2012, immediately after the Sandy Hook shootings.

While national experts and retailers agree there is not a one-to-one correlation between the number of firearms purchased and the volume of NICS background checks processed, the number of checks spiked at an all time high of 2.7 million, a reported 900,000 over the same time period a year earlier.

The figure for June 2013 was down to 1.3 million background checks being conducted through the FBI resource, a time of year when there is also a historic drop in gun sales.

In a typical year, mid-year sales historically dip, but according to one spokesman for The National Sports Shooting Foundation, a trade group representing the firearms and ammunition industry, there has not been any such season for several years.

Numbers shared by the group say there was an increase in sales seen in June 2013 over the same months in 2012, a pattern seen for 37 consecutive months.

A Fellow with the Brookings Institution, a place where gun-related issues are studied on an ongoing basis, offered in a recent interview in The Washington Times that the year-end spike reflected a fear-based spike that has now essentially been satisfied.

The fear that the government would in fact stop gun sales to law abiding Americans who should expect to be cleared for a permit if applying also drove buyers to purchase firearms and any related items or supplies as quickly as they could.

The Brookings Institution Fellow said the fear of a government restriction on firearms sales was “irrational.” However, the clear defeat of legislation heavily pushed for months by the Administration has been seen as proof of that fear having clearly manifested among a large portion of Americans and their representatives in Washington.

In recent years, laws in various states have begun making it increasingly possible for citizens to apply for and potentially qualify for a documented permit which states they legally have the right to carry a concealed weapon (CCW).

The number of persons acting on this potential right has brought with it the increasing presence of a very distinctive safety sign which, when displayed, is meant to make it clear firearms are not allowed in a particular place, and violating such policies brings potential legal consequences.

Locally, a number of school districts are continuing to look at changes in policies and practices, in the actual structure of their school buildings, and in securing the services of established safety experts to advise them as to what steps should be pursued as they prepare for the coming school year and beyond.

In the coming weeks, The Times Leader will publish articles on these issues and related topics.