Pieces on Earth: Christmas 2011 Saw Record Gun Sales

MGM Ralphie ParkerIn the 1983 movie A Christmas Story, nine year-old Ralphie Parker has but one item on his Christmas list: a Red Ryder BB gun, "with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time." But Ralphie's entreaties to those who might get him the toy weapon -- his parents, Santa Claus -- are all met with the disapproving refrain, "You'll shoot your eye out!"

Spoiler alert: Ralphie gets his gun, and nearly fulfills the dire prophecy of ocular loss.

Nearly 30 years later, A Christmas Story is a holiday TV staple. But Americans, heedless of the film's lesson, seem determined to follow in young Ralphie's footsteps: According to the FBI, background checks on gun buyers hit a record single-month figure -- more than 1.5 million -- in December. On the day before Christmas Eve alone, 102,222 such checks were ordered, making Dec. 23, 2011 the second-busiest day in gun-buying history, after this year's Black Friday.

In all, the six days leading up to Christmas saw 500,000 background check requests.

Most would-be gun-buyers pass their checks. According to CNN, "Only 1.3% of the searches result in people being denied permission to buy a weapon."

And there's no way of knowing how many guns have been sold this holiday season, since people often buy multiple weapons at once.

Fear of Gun Control Leads to Stockpiling

Gun sales up to record highsCaroline Brewer, of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, told CNN that repeat buyers probably account for most of the upswing: "The research we've seen indicates fewer and fewer people are owning more and more guns. All the trends indicate the number of Americans who own guns has declined."

Unlike the FBI, which declined to give an explanation for why so many Americans had guns on their Christmas lists, Brewer ventured a theory. "It would appear because of fear-mongering by the NRA since Obama's election that people are adding more guns to their arsenals out of fear Obama and the Democrats will take away their guns, which is absurd."

One gun shop owner -- Dave LaRue, of Legendary Guns in Phoenix -- offered at least partial support for Brewer's claims, without naming the NRA. "There are a lot of people concerned about pending gun legislation and the sense about the current administration," he told The Daily Telegraph. "People think future availability will be limited and there's a feeling of get it while you can."

The NRA had a different account, pointing to self-defense concerns caused by police force cutbacks, as well an increase in the popularity of sport shooting.

According to USA Today, one state that has seen a rise in gun sales is Ohio (where A Christmas Story was filmed). The Dayton Daily News reports that the chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, Jim Irvine, attributes this increase to "relaxed conceal-and-carry laws in Ohio, more women learning about guns and the pro-gun message resonating."

Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, lamented the incongruity between rampant gun purchases and his sense of the holiday spirit: "I'm bothered by, especially at the holiday time, how many people think that these things ought to be holiday gifts, Christmas gifts for their families and their children. We're seeing more of that, which means it's becoming sort of an accepted thing. Firearms and weapons don't seem to go with holiday and peacefulness to me. I think we have a problem."

Ralphie would disagree, but he was just a kid. Readers, what do you say?

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Ralphie isn't from Baltimore Maryland where the ownership of a bb gun in city limits is against the law. democrats like the former mayor sheila dixon who was kicked out of office ,but retained her pension of over $80,000.00 per year along with the former mayor are very anti-gun in a city that suffers from violent crime.In the meantime the obama administration is responsible for hundreds of guns and over 100 hundred deaths in the Fast and Furious operation that was intended to gin up anti-gun legislation that passed under former president clinton. "be afraid. be very afraid" and vote.

January 06 2012 at 12:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Sure, there are responsible and intelligent gun owners. I know of a few myself. That being said, many people on this board are making it so easy to argue for the anti gun side. Hatred, bigotry and hysterical mutterings about rivers of blood, the "Brady Bunch" (oh so clever that one) and the government "taking over", it goes on and on. These people are your worst enemy, not the "anti gun nuts"

January 05 2012 at 10:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Larry Arnold

[Brewer ventured a theory. "It would appear because of fear-mongering by the NRA since Obama's election that people are adding more guns to their arsenals out of fear Obama and the Democrats will take away their guns, which is absurd."]
Nice theory, except that gun sales have been increasing since 2005, a couple of years before candidate Obama was a gleam on the horizon.

January 05 2012 at 9:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Larry Arnold's comment

Obama is absurd.

January 05 2012 at 10:22 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Anti gun nuts just don't have a good arguement against gun ownership.

January 05 2012 at 3:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If you don't break into my house, I won't shoot you. OK?

January 05 2012 at 3:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Plummer, Joseph

A number of years ago, around Halloween time, the anti-gun group and the newspapers reported on Gun sales and Gun permits in the County going up over 300%. why?, two "fellows" going around killing people with a sawed off shotgun. Both eventually arrested after a botched holdup. Female Police officer pulled the get-away car over for speeding on the interstate, issued a warning, and the car left. the Officer later filed her report and "discovery" that was the car the cops were looking for, at least now they had a I.D. of the driver. How did the robbery get botched, the intended victim saw them coming, dropped his "deposit" into the collection box and pulled his own pistol as the shotgun was coming up. exchange of gun fire, the "bad" guys ran to their car as the guy opened fired on them and their car as it sped away. Security cameras covered the whole affair. The two "criminals" were identified by the sole surviving gunshot victim and the descriptions matched, one, a deserter from the Marines, the other, a street gang banger.

January 05 2012 at 1:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Plummer, Joseph's comment
Plummer, Joseph

Chicago Tribune, Dec 13, 1991, Shotgun slayings. first identified as a light skinned black man, changed to white man after Gary newspaper identified the witness and home address. artist sketch matched the assailent perfectly except for skin tone. That was why confusion came about. come to find out, Harris and Peterson. one dated only white women, so to cover her murder went around killing girls that looked familiar to cover his crime. more of the story was in the Hammond Times during the period.

January 05 2012 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like the story about the pizza delivery boy who shot two wanted gang members who were about to kill him.

January 05 2012 at 3:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The Brady Bunch and their sympathizers like to try and paint gun owners as ignorant, inbred, beer swilling rednecks living in trailers on food stamps. At the same time these IIBSR's have tens of thousands of dollars lying around to hoard hundreds of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. That makes just as much sense as the rest of their hysterical hand wringing and crocodile tears while they dance in the blood of innocents whenever some criminal or lunatic ignores the "Laws" that they claim will cure cancer, dandruff, post nasal drip and give everyone a unicorn.

For years they have been wailing against the 250 million guns in the US, they manage to ignore the additional 30 million sold in the last two months or the 150 million that have been purchased since the NICS background checks went into operation. Purchased by rational, normal, everyday people who don't go on shooting sprees or rob liquor stores or shoot people over parking spaces. Give up Brady, people see through your blatant attempts to disarm the victims and get rich on their suffering.

January 05 2012 at 1:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

On the note of criminals with guns..... Jamaica has gun controls and is still one of the highest murdering nations on the planet.. they use swords and knives...

With guns, you get a loud explosion that gets the attention of witnesses who can help the cops identify what happened..If you took away guns, then criminals would be more quiet about their murders... They would use crossbows, bows, swords, rocks tied to a stick, etc.... the murder would still happen, but it would be a lot quieter..

If a criminal wanted to kill everyone in a room, it could be done quickly using a sharp sword... the issue of gun controls is idiotic... the only thing gun controls could prevent is snipers, and almost no murders are done by snipers.. Lee Harvey Oswald, John Mohammed, and Charles Smith are the only murder by snipers I ever heard of and they were all military trained... so maybe the military is the problem.... Jarod Lee Laughner and the guy who killed Dimebag Darrel Abbott was military... Mark David Chapman was military..

Maybe the problem isn't guns at all.... maybe the problem is military training and release of soldiers back into the civilian population... Wasn't all the outlaw biker gangs started by WWII soldiers returning home used to living fast and violent ?... and ethnic street gangs were also started by soldiers returning from war and not being respected because of their race...

Seems to me, violence stems from military training and not from guns themselves.... one can use their car to kill, poison, sharp or blunt weapons... but only a gun leaves a forensic mark to trace without any possibility of doubt... two rocks can appear similar... two swords can appear similar... but bullet scars are unique like fingerprints..

January 05 2012 at 1:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

This is a common socioeconomic trend.... Changes in the sense of normalcy caused by a declining economy bring out the fear in people that manifests into hoarding.. Whether it be Gold, Guns, Food, medical products or whatever...

and it seems as though the government run media likes to use things like 2012 and y2k to boost consumer spending through fears of armageden... A lesson that was probably learned during the cold war when our national economy exploded in the 1950's..

Either way, desperate criminals need guns... Utopian societies will never exist regardless of how many ivory tower wealthy country club elitous liberals dream about it... If you want a Utopian society, then give everyone a million dollars and put price controls on everything to keep inflation in check... As long as there is poor and jealous people in this world, guns will be in demand.. Like God intended..

January 05 2012 at 1:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Guns are a good investment if buy quality guns. The ones that I bought thirty years ago have quadrupled in value. Today there are a lot of very high quality firearms on the market for very reasonable prices. They are a good value.

January 05 2012 at 11:45 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply