With the panic buying going on since the CT shooting, a lot of people have been shocked at how quickly normally ubiquitous things such as 22LR ammo have become unobtainable or ridiculously expensive. The same AR-15 rifles that were selling for $900 this time last year suddenly were selling for twice that amount, and the ammo that goes with them went up to 400% of normal. The lowly WASR-10 AK47 clones that were barely selling at $400 in 2012 were suddenly commanding close to a grand with people lining up to buy them.
What should we take away from this mess? Firstly, I think there is a lot of apathy in the gun community. The people who are so audibly "gung-ho" about the 2nd Amendment, civilian gun ownership, and the true meaning of "the militia" have let their equipment fall into a state of disrepair and let their stocks fall dangerously low in "peacetime". We are in a volatile world and its important for all gun owners to realize that there has never been a more important time than now to make sure your equipment and supplies are adequate. Everyone should have a serviceable firearm, sufficient ammunition, and enough magazines to contend with whatever unforeseen circumstances may be thrown at them.
One needs to look no further than the Boston Marathon bombing to realize how easily a couple terrorists can throw a city or state into chaos. Two people tied up massive amounts of local and federal law enforcement and had the whole area panicked. Imagine what twenty terrorists could do? Or two hundred? Or two thousand? Or more? We have a very real enemy that wants to attack us at our very core, on our streets, in our neighborhoods, at our workplaces, and we have a government that is unwilling to properly defend us because they don't want to offend Muslim radicals, even ones on the "watch list" like the Boston bombers.
This incident occurred in a city and state where the rights of the citizens to be armed is severely curtailed, because of this the public hid like scared children while law enforcement "secured" their homes one-by-one (often in direct violation of the 4th Amendment). Their inability/unwillingness to manage their own personal security made potential victims out of each of them, first by the terrorists, next by the police. Had this occurred in AZ, TX, TN, KY, MT, or any of the other numerous "free states" I seriously doubt that the terrorists would have been trying to hide in neighborhoods, and I can guarantee you that police would show more respect for the 4th Amendment rights of the residents and would be far less likely to push their way into anyone's home without probable cause or a warrant.
The 2nd Amendment secures our right to protect ourselves from foreign aggression (such as terrorist attacks) and also to protect ourselves from domestic aggression (such as police or federal agents forcing their way into your homes illegally). You are the militia, you are the first line of defense, why do you not take that responsibility seriously? Every man of "fighting age" should be proficient with a rifle and have one ready on a moment's notice. That is what the "minutemen" were, regular folks like you and me who were military irregulars (militia) who could be "ready in a minute" if needed.
We live in a country where self-sufficiency is ridiculed, where fighting is taboo, and where defense of freedom is pawned off as someone else's responsibility. That puts us in a dangerous place where our rights are only ensured by the moral "nobility" of our leaders, which as history has repeatedly proven is always short-lived since tyranny is always just one election or coup away. So you "gung-ho" gun owners let your supplies dwindle to a point that it required the increased threat of government disarmament to wake you up? The same administration that has been trying to demonize you for the previous four years had to mention a ban to wake you up? Now you're out buying every bit of ammo that you can get your hands on and bitching about how suppliers (such as us) can't keep up with your demands. Since you were able to produce the money to buy this stuff when it was 2-5x normal price, we can assume it wasn't a financial issue. Since you were able to get out and camp out in front of your local gun store hours before they opened every day, we can assume it wasn't a time constraint issue. It seems like most of you "gunnies" had let your proverbial powderhorn run low since you hadn't seen the "British" or the "Indian raiding parties" in awhile.
What can we take away from this shortage?
Firstly, let's not let our supplies get low, especially with the current threats to our well-being and freedom. Buy a box or two of ammo when you're at a store that sells it, you'll be surprised how quickly your ammo stocks will fill. Don't you wish you had bought a dozen boxes of 22LR back when it was $10/box at Walmart instead of $35/box wherever you might find some? I try to buy a couple boxes of buckshot or other ammo when I go to Walmart or my local sporting goods store, it helps keep the ammo boxes stocked up and it supports consistent ammunition production from the manufacturers. Its a lot easier for them to keep supplies available when demand is more consistent.
Secondly, have enough magazines on hand. Magazines empty fast but reload slow, if you only have a magazine or two you will find yourself in a tight spot if you ever need them. Standard load-out for an average rifleman in our military is 210rds (seven 30rd magazines), that is a good reference point for setting up your own rifle and kit.
Thirdly, buy a decent MOLLE-compatible carrier, preferably one that accepts ESAPI hard plates or at least IIIA soft armor panels. Its not something that you're probably going to wear to the range, but it offers you additional protection and allows you to carry additional magazines and equipment conveniently. Heading out the door with extra magazines stuck in your pockets does not even come close to being "fight ready". There is a certain oddity to having an LBV kit, but its important to not neglect this important part of your kit. It also puts all of your equipment in one easy-to-wear package, like the "Minutemen" of the past, you can be "GTG" pretty quick and you're grabbing a lot more than just a powderhorn and a bag of lead shot. If you're going to have a rifle, get the rest of the kit, it will make you more effective and very well may save your life.
Fourthly.......TRAIN, and when you're tired of training, train some more. A rifle is only as effective as the person carrying it. Although you might love posting pics on ARFCOM of your $2500 AR-15 rig with all the gizmos on it, if the user is a tubby slob who couldn't hit the proverbial "side of a barn", then that gun is worthless. Get some real training from people who have used a gun as a "tool of the trade", not some ISPC ninjas who specialize in shooting paper quickly. There is nothing wrong with sport shooting, but you should have your basics nailed down before playing the speed game.
Fifthly.........teach others how to shoot and how guns are actually pretty damn safe. There is so much misinformation being spread by the gov't and the media about guns, you'd be surprised how many people have an irrational fear of them simply because they don't know how they truly work. Get your friends and family out shooting, break the cycle of ignorant panic that is being fostered to help disarm the public.
We're heading into a dangerous new world and its time to take that seriously. Stop waiting for the threat to be at the door before you take action. Keep your guns in serviceable condition and have enough ammunition and equipment on hand so that you can be "ready in a minute" (or two). It is not my intention to offend anyone with this article, simply to be abrasive enough to get you to focus your attention on the matter. The only way for us to keep our rights is to exercise them thoroughly.
We've been wading through five months of panic buying with no relief in sight, I'm figuring things won't return to "normal" until at least September. Those of us who are long-time gun owners need to make sure we have our supplies in order because with the current administration operating more like a dictatorship every day, more "newbs" are joining the ranks. We need to make sure that they can get what they need as well, if we're out buying "at the last minute" because we were being lazy, it gets in the way of new members being able to join our cause. This isn't the first "panic buying" that we've seen (remember 2008?), and it won't be the last. As things catch up we all need to do our part to get our kits in order when supplies are readily available instead of waiting for things to be scarce.
Stay safe and keep your powder dry folks