This is fairly significant because of what it says about the population's actual mood. This is particularly so considering that there's a significant fraction of the population that for operational security reasons will ALWAYS lie on such a question if it is asked by someone without a 'need to know'. My family fits in that category. Every question asked by anyone with even a hint of officialdom has an implicit 'that I have a need and a right to know about' appended onto the end of it before it is answered. I understand there's a long tradition of this among English Catholics, and I'm perfectly happy to be a bit ecumenical.
I recall back in the Clinton years joking that Bill was the best firearm salesman in US history. Obama, the chosen One, has clearly excelled him. The prospect of new federal gun control was looming quite a bit more in Clinton's day---right now it is temporarily in the dead letter pile in the DC post office. So the population is sending quite a different message through its increased gun purchases than it was during the 90s.
But there's another piece to this puzzle. In addition to buying tons of guns, the population is buying literally billions of rounds of ammunition. The volumes of ammunition purchased sends a very distinct message. That message certainly doesn't indicate confidence in the Cathedral. I suspect pretty strongly that if such statistics were kept back then, we'd have seen similar spikes in the early 1770s and late 1850s.
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