Usually when presidents talk about gun control, as President Joe Biden did Thursday, gun sales soar.

“If you tell people there’s going to be a shortage of donuts,” Darrik Caraway, one of the owners of Whittaker Guns in West Louisville, said Thursday, “everybody is going to want a donut.”

But he doesn’t expect a rush on guns.

That’s mostly because people have been buying guns almost as fast as the manufacturers can make them for the past year.

The rush started almost as soon as the coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020.

People were afraid of chaos and rioting in some cities last year intensified that fear.

The pandemic forced many manufacturers to close for several weeks and then there was a shortage of raw materials.

Biden directed the Justice Department to issue a proposed rule within 30 days to stop the proliferation of “ghost guns” and another rule directed at stabilizing braces, which basically turn pistols into rifles, to require registration.

“I’m against any form of gun control,” Caraway said. “But we’re not big in either of those areas.”

“Ghost guns,” he said, are frames that take a gunsmith — or someone with those skills — to turn into a firearm.

And Caraway said, “You’re already required by law to put serial numbers on them. What we need to do is enforce the gun laws we already have and make the punishment fit the crime.”

In 2017, Whittaker Guns opened a 24,000-square-foot superstore with more than 7,000 guns on display.

It’s considered to be the largest firearms retailer in Kentucky and one of the largest by volume single-shop locations in the country.

Caraway said, “It’s been a really weird year. Keeping a good inventory has been a real struggle. There’s just a huge bottleneck” in getting more firearms on the market.

Both shotguns and shotgun shells are in short supply these days, he said.

And, Caraway said, “I don’t expect it to get any better before 2022 — if then.”

Biden’s proposals also included model “red flag” legislation for states.

That would allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others.

And the White House said the Justice Department will issue an annual report on firearms trafficking.

The report said it will feature “a new, comprehensive report on firearms trafficking and annual updates necessary to give policymakers the information they need to help address firearms trafficking today.”

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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