Protection vs. Prevention: Gun sales in Va.

By: Kimberly Sloan Minor

Radford, Va., Feb. 28 – Guns in Virginia: The increase of gun sales is followed by many lawmakers making statements about limiting gun sales in the future. The rights to many guns just like the one seen above in the hands of everyday civilians in Virginia are being severely threatened, which helps explain the jump in guns being purchased over the last year. Photo: Sloan Minor

The age-old battle of whether or not there should be more restrictive laws on gun ownership has only gotten more intense in recent years. On one side: if everyone has a gun, then they will always be protected from those who use them to harm others. The other side: if nobody had guns at all, nobody would have the chance to use them to harm others. It all boils down to which is better for the overall population: protection, or prevention.

Gun sales in Virginia for December 2019 leveled off around 74 thousand guns sold, which is a 47% increase in sales from December the previous year. In fact, looking at the whole United States, there are more guns than people according to the Washington Post, with there being almost 70 million more guns than people in the US in 2017.

“People are buying guns because their ability to buy guns in the future is being threatened by lawmakers. Sales have increased simply because they are trying to take that away,” says one pro-gun Virginian, Christopher Minor. “The more good people with guns, the safer we are from bad people with guns.”

Minor continues with saying that most of these gun owners only have these weapons as a means of personal protection, to keep themselves and their families safe from burglars, kidnappers, and attackers.

Virginia is 30th in the country regarding gun ownership, sitting at 29.1% of Virginians holding guns. However, that statistic is taken based on population, of which Virginia has a large one. In terms of the actual number of guns in the state, Virginia is 4th, sitting behind Florida, California, and Texas.

As of February 27, five out of eight of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s (D) endorsed gun control bills had been approved in both houses of the General Assembly, according to USA Today. One of the laws that Northam has adopted is that a gun in Virginia can only hold 12 rounds, as opposed to larger options of 15 or 20. One Virginian gun sales associate, John Greenwood, is impacted by this. He says, “I believe the round restriction law is an overreaching attempt to make people give up their guns.”

Many of Northam’s ideologies are being adopted by Virginians, but some still see how they will be challenged. Lisa Crouch, member of the NRA, states, “The bottom line is that bad people don’t get guns legally. They buy them on black markets, the dark web, third party sellers, etc. increased gun control legislation will not impact a criminal’s ability to get a gun just as laws prohibiting heroin and cocaine don’t prevent drug addicts from obtaining controlled substances.” She continues with saying, “The key thing to remember here, is that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, whether it’s a police officer or a law abiding citizen carrying a weapon legally.”

Looking at recent election results and the ideologies of those in the Democratic caucuses that are prevailing amongst their opponents, they are largely anti-gun, which could be the reason that so many Americans, and specifically Virginians are attempting to get their hands on them now.