Feeling any safer in the neighborhood this week? You may not, but there's a good chance your neighbor might be. That's because the Thanksgiving shopping weekend got off to a bang.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation reports that Black Friday firearm background checks set a record in the state. The CBI InstaCheck team conducted 4,779 background checks for firearms transfers on Friday.
It took 41 employees working a minimum of 10-hour shifts to conduct all the checks.
Talk about rapid fire. That's about one background check every six minutes per employee.
Background checks on Black Friday, which don't indicate how many actual guns were sold, have been steadily increasing over past years. The CBI numbers by year are:
Around the country on Black Friday, a record-setting 203,000 people underwent background checks, representing a 9 percent increase from prior year.
If you are one of those who has hopes of one day disarming this country, good luck.
In 2015, the Washington Post declared that the first year of President Obama's presidency marked the point at which there were more firearms than people in the U.S. There's really no way of knowing how many guns Americans own, but the Post reports that based on government statistics, in 2013 there were 317 million people in the U.S. and 357 million guns.
That's 40 million more guns than people, with gun manufacturers keeping pace by doubling their annual output from 2009 to 2013.
Many are alarmed at these numbers. Many are not. And the debate continues: do more guns equal more safety?
The Post points out that the per capita gun homicide rate has fallen by nearly half since the mid-1990s. Gun control advocates ask for proof that one has anything to do with the other.
It's a good guess that Black Friday background check numbers are just an indication of what will be record numbers this holiday season.
And the trend continues.
Beecher and I took a day trip to Lake City Sunday to commemorate a notable, but somewhat unremarkable, birthday milestone. If this is the shoulder season in Lake City, it certainly showed.
Our presence constituted a traffic jam of one. And speaking of one, that equals the number of places that were open for lunch. Our choice by default was the Packer Saloon.
We had a little toast from the fair selection behind the bar. It got me to thinking that the selection was much better than what Alferd Packer and his party had in the winter of 1874, when they got lost in a blizzard after taking a wrong turn.
Alferd had a much more remarkable time near Lake City that we did, marking the occasion by having the men in his party join him for lunch, and breakfast and dinner.
Later, the judge in Gunnison County said something akin to, "Packer, there used to be seven Democrats in this county, and you've managed to eat four of them!"
For half this country, that kind of diet nowadays would cause severe indigestion.
Besides a fair offering of booze behind the bar in the Packer Saloon, and a Reuben sandwich that is the talk of the town, there are also Green Bay Packer posters hanging on the walls. Enough of them, I suppose, to throw you off so you won't make the wrong connection and wonder about the origin of the spare ribs.
Alan Todd is co-publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer. email@example.com