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Fears of post-election violence grip country; Americans hoping for calm, but preparing for the worst

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The violence in the streets of many major U.S. cities this summer has likely prompted fears of what may happen after the election — especially if President Donald Trump is re-elected.

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll may help alleviate that angst.

The survey, conducted between Oct. 13-20, found that 73 percent of people will accept a Trump victory. Additionally, 79 percent of Americans stand ready to accept the outcome if Democrat Joe Biden prevails next week. 

Meanwhile, the poll indicated that the potential for action to dispute the outcome, while significant, is not as high as some might be concerned about. Just 16 percent of Trump supporters say they would protest or take more drastic action if Biden wins, while 22 percent of Biden followers say likewise.

While that is undoubtedly positive news, that strong undercurrent of acceptance has done little to tamp down on one measure of unease — gun sales.

In state after state, red or blue, guns and ammo are literally flying off retailers’ shelves.

The key measure of that is the number of background checks conducted by the FBI on people interested in buying a firearm.

As of the end of September, the FBI had performed 28.8 million background checks. That surpassed the number for all of 2019 by more than 450,000.

CNN recently noted that conservatives tend to drive sales higher in election years. That reflects the concern about a gun-grabbing Democrat residing in the White House.

But beyond election-year politics, sales are rocketing this year because of the pandemic, because of persistent rioting and looting in many big cities, and because of leftists’ calls to defund the police.

And new users make up a major portion of those buying those weapons.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which supports gun owners’ rights, noted back in August that 5 million first-time buyers purchased firearms during 2020. That comprised 40 percent of all buyers.

Black Americans are one important component of the market. The NSSF notes that sales among Blacks are up 58 percent during 2020. Mark Oliva, the group’s spokesman, told CNN it was the largest increase in any demographic segment that the NSSF has seen.

As noted by the Reuters/Ipsos poll, we should expect calm to prevail after the election. But it is also obvious that millions of people are preparing for the worst.

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