We have all had our plans go astray. That could happen with a project at home or a vacation away. It is tempting to think that rich people are so much smarter than we are, but I suspect that their plans often deliver unexpected results too. Here is a story from Philadelphia that makes the point as we follow the steppingstones.
You might remember back a few years when we released criminals during the Covid scare. We also had riots in many blue cities. With more criminals on the streets and some streets in flames, many people felt threatened that the violence they saw might affect them and their families. About 10 percent of adults in the US bought a gun in the last few years, and 5 percent of adults bought a gun for the first time. Who knew two years ago that the CDC and BLM would win awards for firearms sales.
These new gun owners are a broad cross-section of the US population. New gun owners are younger. Twice as many are under 45 years of age compared to existing gun owners. New gun owners are two-and-a-half times more likely to be a racial minority than existing gun owners. What surprised me was that new gun owners had significant similarities with existing gun owners.
Both new and old gun owners look the same when asked about more gun control; they oppose it.
We have recent reports of a surge in gun sales in the United States following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The firearms industry trade group reported that the background check figures for purchases in March rose by 300,000 over February of 2022. That is a decrease from the numbers of the last two years, but it means that a lot of us are still buying guns. Also, there are 25 states that have at least one qualified alternative that allows firearms purchasers to buy a gun without using the FBI background check system. Those alternatives are typically used more by repeat gun buyers more than first time gun buyers. Either way you look at it, we are seeing more new gun owners.
They say that all politics is local, and that might be true about deciding to buy a gun as well. Homicide has increased significantly in Philadelphia. Carjackings more than tripled. Given the catch and release policy of the Philly District Attorney, we don’t have good statistics about robbery and theft.
More of us felt empathy with the victims of violent crime. We put ourselves in their place. Concealed carry permit applications in Philadelphia increased six-fold after crime spiked. Buying a gun wasn’t the fulfillment of some wild west fantasy, but a reaction to the reality of violence on the streets where we live. Justified armed defense increases by a factor of four in Philadelphia when we compare this year to last year. Said another way, we’ve seen more examples of justified armed defense in Philly in the first three months of the year than we saw all year in 2020 and 2021.
I don’t think a surge in gun ownership and a political shift away from gun-control was what George Soros had in mind when he urged the Philly District Attorney to release criminals back on the street. Things don’t always go as planned. By the way, there is an impeachment effort to remove the Philly District Attorney, the same attorney that Sorros funded.
That political history makes me feel better when my small projects take more time and turn out differently than I planned. That happens to all of us.. even to billionaires.
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