The Miami gun-show line stretched 200 people long. Many blamed President Barack Obama.
This is what the president’s gun-control talk has wrought: long waits to get into gun shows, higher firearm and ammunition prices and more paranoia.
The word “Obama” was frequently mumbled, muttered, hissed, cursed at Saturday’s Southern Classic Gun and Knife Show.
“Obama” was a catch-all word, a gun-rights shibboleth of sorts, a no-longer-shocking swear, a conversation starter.
To Calvin Hudson, a Miami Gardens resident bargain-hunting at the Miami-Dade fairgrounds firearms bazaar, the Obama-blaming was a sign people were being fooled into paying more in a firearms market panic.
“The industry is getting people all scared of Obama so they can kill us with some of these prices,” Hudson said.
Hudson told a stranger or two next to him not to worry about the president’s gun-control plans, announced in response to last month’s deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.
“Obama’s not taking away guns,” Hudson said to one couple. “He just wants semi-automatic rifles off the street.”
It’s extremely unlikely Congress will go along. Many say gun control hurts law-abiding citizens and does little to stop bad guys.
The president might drop his “assault-weapons” proposal if Congress agrees to close the so-called “gun-show loophole,” which can allow people to buy arms without a background check.
But Republicans in Congress are likely to stop that, too.
Asked the day before the gun show if universal background checks are needed for any gun purchase, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio suggested he was opposed.
“Well, let me give you an example, the individual who carried out the atrocity in Colorado passed two background checks, one of them erroneously. And obviously the individual who carried out this atrocity in Sandy Hook didn’t pass any background check because they weren’t his guns,” Rubio said.
“The bottom line is, if you write a law, law-abiding people will follow that law. And people that are criminals ignore the law because they are criminals,” he continued. “What is effective is mandatory sentences like those we have in Florida.”
Rubio, when he was in the Legislature, repeatedly voted along with his fellow Republicans to loosen restrictions on guns. Democrats predicted a crime wave.
But the violent-crime rate in Florida has been declining.
And though the push for universal background checks ostensibly targets gun shows, the stark evidence of the loophole wasn’t inside Saturday’s gun show at all.
It was outside, next to the soda machine, where a guy and his friends were hawking a semi-automatic rifle, ammunition and case for $3,000.
No paperwork, background checks needed.
A plumber in line who didn’t want to give his name fretted: “That’s dangerous. That’s how stuff gets on the street. I have no problem treating them like licensed firearms dealers.”
When he first got in line, he shook his head at the long wait ahead: “Obama.”
He was there to buy some high-capacity magazines for his AR-15. The cost has skyrocketed.
Inside, there were bins of gun clips, and tables of shotguns, semi-automatic rifles and handguns, switchblade and throwing knives, sharp steel Ninja stars, swords, stun guns, batons, night-vision scopes machine-gun-conversion kits for semi-automatic rifles.