As the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, money spent by Americans on guns and ammunition is set to a reach record-high level this year. Demand is so high that many gun shops have reported severe ammo shortages. The usual culprits behind rising gun sales--increased rates of violent crime and/or restrictive new gun control legislation--are nowhere to be found. Rather, it is the threat of what "Obama might do" to gun rights that seems to be keeping sales aloft. To their credit, many in the press had already noticed the trend, predicting it wouldn't last.

  • Phantom Threat   Chicago Tribune's Steve Chapman says that concerns that Obama will attempt to restrict the legal gun industry in the future are unfounded. He quotes Obama's promise to voters that he would not take away their firearms, and says that the President is too "politically savvy" to push more gun-owners away from the Democratic party. As he puts it: "To try to ban the sale of widely used guns or ammunition, Obama would have to be crazy or stupid. He didn't get elected by being either."
  • Last Shot  In Slate, Daniel Gross analyzes the recent success of one gun manufacturer, Freedom Group, which owns the popular brands Remington and Bushmaster. Gross agrees that Freedom Group is profiting mightily from Obama gun-control worries, enough that their IPO makes sense, but advises the company to enjoy success while it lasts because the gun-sales boom is coming to an end soon. "Given the nature of war, the demand for bullets and guns by armies (public and private) around the world is likely to be stable. But the consumer market can be more volatile. And as it has become evident that Obama had no secret plan to send out jackbooted thugs to confiscate firearms, there are signs that paranoia-driven sales may be drying up."
  • Spent Round  In CNN Money, Robert Cyran's also takes a look at Freedom Group's IPO and the state of the industry. He is not optimistic, writing that the current figures represent only a momentary bubble about to burst as a backlog of guns builds up: "This could prove painful for all involved. If sales fell to more typical levels of recent years, up to two-thirds of U.S. gun sales could disappear. And they could fall further. There are somewhere between 200 million and 300 million fireable guns (estimates vary widely) already in the U.S. Firearms have a very long lifespan if properly treated. Gun buyers may well decide their now-stuffed racks don't need more company for a few years.