My girlfriend's father was a Detroit cop whose last duty gun was a Glock. She wanted to shoot one, and I traded mine off a year or so ago, so I dropped in on a few local shops to see if I could do some horse trading today. No luck on the horse trading. Glocks are still in the retail supply chain and one shop owner told me they're flowing pretty well. In fact, the prices for them haven't even gone too crazy. But as imported firearms with a fearsome reputation, they're definitely an endangered design in the current political climate. Do I spend money I don't really have to buy one now, in case I lose the opportunity? I dunno. Hadn't really planned on owning a Glock again, but it'd be a bummer to lose the ability to get one. Unlike the Glock, however, many guns are either absent from shelves or only offered for prices roughly 180 percent of what would have been expected a few months ago. Even the common US domestic AR-15, produced by quite a large number of firms, is fetching these kinds of inflated prices right now. Standard capacity magazines are anywhere from 200 to 300 percent of their pre-panic prices. The dealers really don't have to dicker around on prices, and the gun shops are busy, busy, busy. Not only are they busy, but two of the four shops I dropped in on were showing obvious signs of staff fatigue, with packing materials sitting around and a general messy desk feeling to their counters from long, busy hours of answering questions and processing purchases. I've never seen panic buying this bad, and I've closely watched the gun trade since the 1980s. Common slapped-together Romanian AK pattern rifles that were literally gathering dust on shelves a few months ago are few and far between, and the ones I saw were marked up to nearly 200 percent of their pre-panic prices. Ammunition is scarce. I watched a man complete a purchase of a Windham Weaponry AR-15 (Windham is the company that a bunch of Bushmaster's key people started after Remington bought out and absorbed Bushmaster to get into the AR market). Anyway, this guy is buying a brand new rifle, probably at a premium, and there is NO ammunition available for it. Not in the shop. Not at Wal-Mart. Probably somewhere in town, but this guy was asking the shop owner to let him know when ammunition for the rifle comes in. And that shop had received and sold out of .223 / 5.56 NATO ammo just the day before! In the door, and right back out again! A friend tells me the same is true of the ammunition market in Florida, and I'm certain it's a national phenomenon.
One of the distinctive things about this particular buyers' panic is that such a wide array of restrictive legislation and other prohibitionist or punitive actions are being pushed by politicians and talked up in the media that there are very, very few gun owners who do not feel that at least something they own or would like to own is not threatened right now. And the biggest short-term consequence of this is that an equally broad array of guns, gun parts and ammuntiion are just flying off the shelves -- purchased in many cases, no doubt, by people who likely would have either saved that money or used it for things like the family vacation, fun eletronic gadgets like smart phones, or simply been used to help pay down a mortgage.
Nobody. And I mean NOBODY sells guns better than a gun control advocate. Back in the 1980s, military pattern rifles were uncommon in the gun cabinets of US civilians. The "wonder nine" wave was already in full swing by the late 1980s, with semi-auto double column box magazine handguns becoming the norm, however. In fact, attacking the well-established semi-auto handgun market is one of the most foolish things gun banners have ever tried, and a major reason that the Clinton Admin Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to expire. And now the military pattern rifles that the Clinton Admin was so successful in demonizing back in the 1990s have become the normal standard for US shooters. US civilians are remarkably heavily invested in modern firearms already, and largely because similar cycles of panic buying since the late 1980s have made modern arms household items instead of something people rarely see outside of a hollywood movie -- but this current push in 2012-13 simply must represent an impressive additional investment of personal wealth into modern weapons. (I saw this one coming, and began re-purchasing at-risk designs over a year ago to maintain a reasonable firearms "library" myself. Those are guns, for the most part, that I'd already sold off and really had no intention to buy back into, but simply can't afford to be locked out of when I go to try to understand some technical question.)
Most Americans just want a few cool guns to shoot and they want them to provide security if something like a hurricane comes along and wipes out infrastructure and government services for a while. And this is very important to understand, because the more money the average American stands to lose if their guns are confiscated by the government, or heavily taxed, or otherwise degraded in value by legislation, the harder they will fight and the angrier they will be. Just feeling that they "had" to go spend hundreds or thousands of dollars in this economy to ensure that they would have access to a decent rilfe or a long-admired pistol is bound to make gun owners very angry and pack them into the voting booths.
We've seen restrictive legislation appear and be struck down repeatedly. And gun owners lost respect for the mainstream news media many years ago, because of clear and serious patterns of lying about guns and gun control (which is an unfortunate effect for many reasons beyond issues of gun legislation). And so, I think it's safe to say that even if there is some monumental legislative action -- or perhaps especially IF there is such a monumental body of new restriction, it's very likely to run into an iron wall of non-compliance.