Global Events Impact
Defense Needs At Home

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I come from the generation that grew up huddling under elementary school desks doing “atomic bomb drills.” The fear of World War III had Americans preparing their basements as makeshift bomb shelters, and the wealthier building actual bomb shelters. Our parents were advised to keep a shotgun handy, because when society broke down, starving people would be willing to kill them and their family for whatever cans of tuna fish they might have in the pantry.

Flash-forward to March 2022: A report attributed to the Red Cross said starving Ukrainians in Mariupol were attacking each other for food.

Today, all of us have lived — and are living — through the pandemic. You’ve seen the effect of recent events on your sales in the past two years. At its onset, officials predicted COVID-19 would take so many emergency services workers off the streets they wouldn’t be able to respond to life-threatening crises. At the same time, a series of events ignited by social justice warriors turned into riots that burned cities, which truly did take away police departments’ abilities to respond to the usual list of serious crimes. Millions of people realized for the first time they were “on their own” … and came to your gun shop.

On The Brink

I’m writing this mid-March 2022. For the past couple of weeks, pundits have warned we’re on the brink of World War III yet again. And other circumstances are in play. Skyrocketing inflation. Trucker strikes in the news, in a society that will quickly experience famine if food supply lines are shut down.

These are times that conjure unpleasant scenarios. We’re closer to nuclear war than any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. I for one don’t see Red Dawn suddenly becoming a reality. But after seeing the takeover of police stations and whole neighborhoods in the Pacific Northwest, and a lot of law enforcement agencies themselves broadcasting the “You’re on your own” message, I think a lot of people see Escape From New York as a plausible preview of coming events.

Societal breakdown predictions make unarmed people finally want guns and ammunition, and makes armed people want to enlarge their stockpile of emergency equipment. I don’t make predictions, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see another spike in sales of defensive firearms, ammunition and related accessories.

Possible Silver Lining

One possible silver lining for gun retailers in the dark clouds of current events is rampant inflation may put ammo prices in perspective. A day rarely goes by when a customer doesn’t complain about the cost of ammunition — the “100-pack of Winchester White Box 9mm for $10 at Walmart” of 20 years ago seems like yesterday to some shooters who are horrified at paying $20 or more for a box of 50 today.

But look at the horrifying degree to which gasoline and diesel fuel have skyrocketed. Food is up precipitously. All of a sudden, the ammo prices we’ve all been grumbling about seem to be in line with the rest of the economy.

That said, though, it’s possible the cost of ammo (and unavailability) may be on us again due to these current events.
Consider the following:

• Those who live near military bases report a ramping up of training. Expect more small-arms ammunition production to be diverted to the military.

Just when it looked as if ammo supplies were coming back and prices were going to stabilize, there are events and influences in play — which could create another ammo drought as bad as the last one, or worse.”

• At the same time, cargo ships are waiting to be unloaded — the “supply line” crisis continues. In addition to which …
• Components and raw materials are much in demand and have increased significantly in price.

• Hoarders were a problem during the past two years of the ammunition crunch. More indications of a destabilized society will only drive those folks to hoard still more.

• A substantial amount of ammo production is likely to be diverted to Ukraine, and indeed, already has — with a couple manufacturers (Ammo Inc. and Federal) sharing donations of a million rounds each.

Yes, just when it looked as if ammo supplies were coming back and prices were going to stabilize, there are events and influences in play — which could create another ammo drought as bad as the last one, or worse.

Join A Foreign Legion?

At this writing, the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C., has a recruitment center for Americans who want to go to Ukraine to fight the invading Russians. Six thousand have asked about joining up so far, according to Snopes, and there will probably be many more by the time you read this.

Snopes warned, “Under some circumstances, Americans could face criminal penalties, or even risk losing their citizenship, by taking part in an overseas conflict, according to a senior federal law enforcement official.” The report added, “(Recruits) will be required to sign a contract to serve, without pay, in the International Legion for the Territorial Defense of Ukraine.”

The Ukrainians want volunteers to bring their own “protective gear” (i.e., body armor, helmets, night vision equipment, the whole nine yards). But no weapons!

Of course, you might want to tell any customer who wants to go to Ukraine to kill Russians he won’t be looked upon favorably if he’s captured, and he may not be given Prisoner of War status. He may instead become the focus of an international incident in a time when more provocation is not needed, creating a situation where American servicemen might have to die to rescue him.

Now, the relatively few people who will sign up to leave the U.S. to fight in Ukraine will be in the market for this sort of equipment (if they don’t have it already). But really, the market for it is here in the U.S. If you think about it, any situation requiring Americans to go out in the streets of their communities carrying an AR-15 would be a situation in which one would want armor, night vision, etc., too.

Your predictions are as good as mine. Maybe better. The bottom line is this: when both world and national events portend terrible things that can put people on their own in a violent world, those people start looking toward personal-protection firearms.

You are selling them peace of mind and a sense of security in a troubled world.

Editor’s Note: This story first appeared online as “The Impact Of What’s Going On In Ukraine,” promoted in the Dealer Advantage email distributed March 21, 2022. To sign up for Dealer Advantage, visit shootingindustry.com.

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