Monday, March 23, 2020 : By Antonia Okafor, Falkirk Fellow
“Crime rate is fixing to get crazy in a few weeks. Might have to invest in a firearm.”
That’s what my Democrat-voting, anti-gun brother texted to the family group chat just a few days ago. He had just found out that his employer had a full-on Coronavirus outbreak, and several of his colleagues tested positive. He’s been on self-quarantine and working from home ever since.
Reading the text surprised, excited, and annoyed me all at once.
As an enthusiastic gun owner and gun-rights advocate, it means a lot to me that my own brother is now open to the idea that guns can be used for personal protection. But it also reminded me of the fact that many people believe they can turn rights on or off when it suits them. Presently, our nation does recognize our God-given right to self-protection, thanks to the Second Amendment. We should all be incredibly grateful for this fact, especially during these scary and uncertain times.
“Um, I would hurry up on that,” I responded to my brother. “Especially on getting ammunition—and background checks are taking almost 24 hours in most cases right now.” In fact, as of today (March 20), the average background check time in my home state of Colorado is 2-3 days, with 5000 still on the waiting list.
Although background checks for gun purchases are supposed to be instant, there is currently a significant process overload, so it’s taking much longer in most states. Proponents of waiting periods—like my brother—generally are happy to hear this. But this means that a buyer has to return to the store to find out if they passed the background check, and he or she cannot get the gun until that time.
When my brother realized the significance of this, he talked about borrowing one from me for this time of crisis. Colorado aside, many anti-gun states have actually instituted universal background checks, so even private-party gun purchases cannot be made without government intervention and approval.
There are several other issues faced by those who want to be pro-gun when it’s good for them. Due to COVID-19, as well as tightening state laws around the country, many municipalities aren’t issuing concealed carry permits right now. So, if you get a gun, you can only carry it inside your home—unless the state is still open carry. Moreover, private property rights can also dictate gun juristiction, and many apartment complexes don’t even allow guns.
Right now, law enforcement is overburdened dealing with this pandemic—and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Some areas of our nation have already been telling citizens that, for many crimes during this crisis, they will be on their own. Yet, gun control laws strip these same citizens of their right to protect themselves from the bad guys.
My brother isn’t the only one recognizing a potential need for self-defense. In the last week alone, there has been a 100% increase in gun sales. And gun storeowners are saying that most buyers are brand new gun owners. Even though, like my brother, many of these people are “anti-gun-turned-pro-gun-in-a-crisis” buyers, gun control laws take away the option to make this choice.
Honestly, I am thrilled to see so many people realizing how important their right to self-defense is. I just wish that it didn’t take a pandemic to do so. But this makes me think about other opportunities that exist within this unique crisis…perhaps the anxiety and fear will open hearts and minds of those who don’t yet know the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
God truly uses every circumstance to make His name known and to glorify Himself. I pray that God will give us all “the eyes to see and the ears to hear” (Matthew 13:9) for openings to share the Truth with those around us.