Guns, Ammo & Toilet Paper


It’s never been clear why so many people who panicked over the spread of COVID-19 — aka coronavirus — rushed to grocery stores to buy all the paper towels and bathroom tissue they could stuff in a shopping cart.

Likewise, as Insider Online has been watching the drama unfold, there has been a confirmed rush on gun stores. Gun and ammunition sales have been “brisk” in some regions. Some days ago, the Daily Wire reported, “Sales of guns, ammunition, and ‘survival gear’ are skyrocketing…amid concerns that the coronavirus could lead to a breakdown in civil order or even suspension of weapons sales…” This impression, the publication claimed, came from Business Insider, but that news agency was only running an Associated Press report.

Maybe the situation was summed up best by Jay Wallace, owner of Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, Ga. He told the AP, “It’s been insane. This is like a Rod Serling ‘Twilight Zone’ episode.”

The coronavirus scare has created a rush on guns and ammunition like never seen before.

Some people bought guns for the first time in their lives. It happened during the Y2K scare and after 9/11, and the same pattern has repeated itself virtually anytime there has been a national alarm over something. Once many years ago, a National Rifle Association official told this correspondent during an interview when things get bad, people fall back on that good old Second Amendment. He was right.

We contacted some reliable sources. One gun retailer out in Southwest Washington — Daniel Mitchell at Vancouver’s Sporting Systems — sold 400,000 rounds of ammunition in one week last month.

One police agency reported a 144-percent increase in the number of firearm transfer applications.

So, what’s going on? Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously said during his first inaugural address, “The only thing to fear is fear, itself.” Give that some thought. Have we spawned a generation of people who simply can’t take care of themselves; people who can’t keep their wits when faced with an emergency?

Insider Online would like to hear from you.

‘Always Be Prepared’

The Boy Scouts of America pegged it with the slogan, “Always be prepared.”

The reason more than 17.6 million people are licensed to carry in this country is pretty simple, really. Despite our best efforts to avoid trouble, it occasionally erupts right in front of us through no fault of our own. Violence doesn’t happen on a pre-arranged schedule, and criminals or crazy people don’t call ahead to tell anyone they’re coming.

Emergencies, including a pandemic, provide their own challenges. Cooler heads should always prevail.

Several days ago, one young mom of our acquaintance posted this message on social media: “A bit dramatic that people are freaking out that ‘kids won’t eat…’ How does everyone feed their kids for spring break, winter break, and summer? Honest question… if you can afford beer, cigs, vapes, and fake nails you can feed your kids.” This is a young woman who helped organize a large-scale gun rights rally while pregnant.

Indeed, her point was spot-on. If one can head for the gun shop to purchase a firearm and/or a case or two of ammunition, there ought to be a little left in the wallet for food.

Panic is an interesting phenomenon. It exposes those people who claim to be smart while revealing people who really are smart and don’t feel the need to repeatedly prove it. Faced with a problem, they deal with it.

Depending upon the region, many citizens are having kind of a rough ride. A friend of ours, Jim Wallace — the razor-witted Executive Director of the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League — said he was astonished at some of his neighbors. In the Northeast, he observed, it’s a fact of life that people might find themselves snowbound for a week in the winter, and yet they aren’t prepared for a different kind of emergency?

Insider’s old priming tool went to pieces, so he scrambled to the Brownells
website and got a much better model in no time.

Brownells To The Rescue

Anybody who tinkers with firearms and reloads his or her own ammunition will invariably break something. And if it hasn’t happened to you, just wait. Fate will get around to you.

Recently, while putting together some loads for a .257 Roberts, my primer tool of many years and hundreds, if not thousands, of uses, finally conked out dramatically. It didn’t just break, it busted! But, after 30-some years of service, I got my money’s worth and then some.

Years of experience have taught this correspondent about Brownells. If they don’t have something in stock, it may not exist. Every time I’ve gone to their website, they had exactly what I was looking for, at a reasonable price, with pretty swift shipping. Letters have taken longer to reach my door than a Brownells package.

The tool I owned is apparently no longer made, so I got a better one. Less than a week after placing the order, a box showed up.

In the past, I’ve relied on Brownells for a few gun parts, several screw sets for handgun grips I’ve built, and some tough little plastic cartridge boxes. If you reload ammunition, you’re going to need several of these things, guaranteed.

Incidentally, Brownells recently joined forces with [email protected] in an effort to combat the coronavirus threat, providing computer power to the fight. A company news release said [email protected] is “helping with an international effort to understand the molecular structure of the virus in hopes of finding ways to defeat it.” They enlisted Brownells for “computer space and computing abilities to execute computer modeling simulations” that help speed up the process.

The report said Brownells would donate “at least 1,300 hours to the project and run approximately 200 simulations on behalf of COVID-19 research.”

“We are committed to helping protect our country by virtue of our personal protection and sustainability products,” said Brownells IT Director Curt Graff, “but we see this as a way to support the international community in a time of significant need.”

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The 2020 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits have been cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

NRAAM Cancelled

In case you didn’t get the message, the National Rifle Association’s annual Meetings and Exhibits, originally scheduled for later this month in Nashville, Tenn., have been cancelled.

If you planned on going — and you’re able to escape quarantine and shelter-in-place regulations — use the time to do something else productive. Wild turkey seasons will be unfolding, or you might try your hand at coyote hunting. Go to the gun range and do some off-season sight checks or spend some valuable time at the loading bench.

This is the time of year when I spend a sunny afternoon in the workshop or outside at a table on the back deck or patio, scrubbing out pistol and revolver bores, running a bristle brush through the chambers of my revolvers, using an old toothbrush and a bit of Hoppe’s No. 9 to scrub around the forcing cones of my sixguns where residue can build up over time.

Oh, and if you belong to the chainsaw brotherhood, now’s the time to touch up those saw chains, mix some new gas and start laying in next winter’s firewood. The roar of a chainsaw is almost as soothing as the blast from a .45 — almost — and it might be a bit more rewarding. The noise you make now translates to a crackling warm glow when the mercury dips, the leaves turn and there’s snow in the forecast, many months over the horizon when we’re hopefully free from the threat of coronavirus.

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