When George W Bush was re-elected in 2004, I reacted badly, I know (you can search the archives yourself!), and I did have a significant fear that Bush with a re-empowered Republican Congress would act to restrict rights and freedoms. I did not, however, rush right out to get an abortion or burn a flag or gay marry a terrorist. I don't think anyone did--although I doubt anyone was tracking the gay terrorist stats at the time. And, fortunately for all of us, Bush chose to spend his "political capital" on reforming Social Security, a move that bombed worse than An American Carol, and some of my most paranoid fears were never realized.
In the weeks since Barack Obama's election, fearful conservatives and Republicans have been rushing right out to do stuff that they fear will become illegal, including--as many people have noted--buying a lot of guns.
This confuses me, somewhat, as it does others, because gun control as a legislative or campaign issue has fallen from among Democrats' top priorities a decade or two ago to somewhere below the free-ponies-for-all level. In other words, it's just not something big anymore. It was not an issue in the presidential campaign, and I don't even recall seeing references to it as part of the national Congressional campaign. Even here in Wisconsin, the most you hear about legislative gun issues is whether or not to allow concealed carry--not how many and which guns to start banning.
Mike Plaisted raises the question too: "Somehow, I missed the 'Obama will come for your guns' part of the hysterical right-wing message during the campaign." Well, I didn't. It didn't come from the Obama campaign, of course, but I saw it. Remember the half-dozen mailers I got from the Wisconsin GOP? I'll refresh your memory on the word frequency table:
40 ObamaMentioned more than the economy, more than Tony Rezko, more than even the GOP's own candidate John McCain--guns. So where would Wisconsin Republicans get the fear that a Democrat would take their guns away? From the Wisconsin Republican party, that's where. The Wisconsin GOP, supported by the NRA, which is supported by gun manufacturers, has spurred a run on guns, a certain boon to those very gun manufacturers. It's quite the clever self-supporting loop they have running there. I'm sure the NRA is seeing a boost in individual donations now, too, and in the next election cycle, as the NRA works to elect Republican candidates across the state, everyone's back will have been fully scratched.
17 Gun/ Firearm/ Arms
8 Special Interest/ Political Favor/ and variants
7 Lead/ Leading / Led/ Leadership (to suggest Obama doesn't lead)