Are Guns & Ammo The New Gold? Why More Americans Are Arming Themselves
The threat of a U.S. double dip recession coupled with this summer's debt debacle in Washington - and the subsequent failure of the so-called "debt supercommittee" - has many ordinary Americans looking at gold as a safe store of value. However, there's another commodity that historically has risen in price along with gold - and is potentially more useful in the event of a global crisis: Ammunition.
Some of the fear-based psychological reasons for gold's popularity in times of economic crisis appear to be similar to the reasons cited for purchasing guns and ammunition. Michael Thompson, a small business owner from Virginia, had this to say about why he recently purchased 2,000 rounds of 223 ammunition to go with his growing collection of AR-15 assault rifles: "Since ARs are so well-known & widespread, quality ones don't really go down in value. I don't trust what's going on in Washington and a reliable firearm that'll hold it's value plus ammo that I can always re-sell later if I don't use it up seems like as safe a place as any to put my money in these uncertain times."
One prominent factor which customers at Ammo.com cite as one of their primary reasons for stocking up on guns & ammo now is the uncertainty surrounding U.S. firearm regulations. Many wonder if President Obama's official position on firearm regulation will change if he wins a second term. Others point to recent actions taken by President Obama's appointees in the EPA and the Department of Justice, citing the EPA's recently proposed ban on lead ammunition due to health concerns about the lead seeping into ground water supplies and the on-going debacle surrounding the Deparment of Justice's failed Fast & Furious sting operation. Several states have also enacted anti-gun legislation recently, such as California expanding their controversial gun registry to now include purchasers of new rifles and shotguns.
Dustin Ramsey, a 28 year old self-proclaimed "realist" from Tennessee who says hunting and fishing are two of his favorite outdoor activities, counts the 5,000 rounds of 9mm ammunition he keeps on-hand as one of his investments along with gold coins: "I'm a hunter so I know I can use my guns & ammo to feed my family if something happens to our usual food supply and there's a run at our grocery store. Plus, it seems like somebody on Wall Street is always getting bailed out nowadays and my faith in the stock market has been gone for a long time. Look, I've seen what happens when times get tough and I figure I can always barter a popular caliber like 9mm for other supplies like I would with gold if push comes to shove. And if a crisis never materializes where I need my stash of ammo, I still love to shoot so those bullets won't go to waste. Given the uncertainty in our world, ammunition seems more practical to me than gold, whether there's an economic crisis or not."
Whatever their reason, Americans are purchasing firearms and ammunition in record numbers. USA Today recently reported that the FBI experienced on Black Friday their single largest number of background check requests ever in a single day, smashing the previous record by 32%. Background check requests are processed by the FBI according to federal law. Gallop also reported that gun ownership is at an 18 year high, with 47% of Americans admitting to Gallop they own a gun. These statistics coupled with customer feedback at Ammo.com indicate more Americans are taking advantage of their constitutional right to own a firearm - and are arming up in increasing large numbers.