A platitude oft repeated by left-wing activists is that its easier to buy a gun in the United States than it is to purchase medicine or vote. Feminists similarly like to say that American women have fewer rights than firearms. If anyone on the left would like to test these obviously absurd claims, I would challenge them to start by trying to buy a Benelli M2 Field Shotgun.
I went down the Benelli rabbit hole a couple of months ago after my fiancé told me he wanted one for Christmas. When I discovered the hefty price tag on an M2, I somewhat jokingly protested à la A Christmas Story that he might shoot his eye out. Just like young Ralphie, my fiancé was undeterred.
One morning after he left for work, I sat down in my home office and tried to figure out where I could buy one of these semi-automatic bad boys. If you’ve ever purchased a gun before, you know this is not an Amazon Prime situation. While sometimes you can purchase a gun online and have it sent for pick-up to your local federally licensed firearm dealer; other times you have to call around and see who has that specific weapon in stock or is able to order it for you.
I started working my way down the list of Benelli dealers in my area. Phone call after phone call yielded nothing fruitful. No one seemed to have the M2, nor did they expect to get any in stock before Christmas. I refilled my coffee and eventually got a hold of a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Maryland that had an M2 behind the counter… but it was black, not the camouflage that my fiancé surely needed for his duck hunts. Finally, after close to a dozen phone calls and a notepad overflowing with crossed out store names, I spoke to a dealer in Annapolis, Maryland who told me he had exactly the shotgun I wanted. It was an hour away, but I promised I would be there soon and hopped in the car.
When I arrived, I learned that I managed to snag the last camouflage Benelli M2 at this store — and probably one of the last in the entire DC metro area. The employees congratulated me and told me my fiancé was a lucky guy. (I agree).
It turns out that the short supply of Benelli shotguns can be mostly traced back to the Covid-19 pandemic. Benelli is an Italian company — and Italy was hit hard and early by the coronavirus. The country had a comparatively higher death rate from the virus compared to other parts of Europe and implemented strict lockdowns. This naturally affected Italian industry. Benelli is one of many retailers that still has not been able to get their supply up enough to match consumer demand. Combine this with our country’s own supply chain woes, and it’s no wonder I had such a hard time finding that damn shotgun.
Supply chain issues aren’t the only trouble facing potential gun buyers. In September, multiple major credit card companies said that transactions at gun stores would be flagged with a special code. This would supposedly allow law enforcement to track “suspicious” purchases and potentially stop mass shootings. It also conveniently creates a system for the feds to track lawful gun owners without the use of a national registry, and some credit companies — including PayPal — have used the codes to restrict purchases at gun stores entirely. Federally licensed firearms dealers have claimed on social media that customers’ cards are being declined more often than in the past. A frequent gun buyer I spoke to told me their recent handgun purchase had to be made with cash after their credit card was unexpectedly denied.
Take it from me: if you’re looking for your own version of the Red Ryder range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, make sure you plan ahead and have plenty of cash on hand. Gun purchases aren’t likely to get any easier over the next two years. Oh, and if any feds are wondering, we lost the M2 in a tragic boating accident.