With the current hysteria in the media and the Congress, folks have been asking PawPaw questions. They normally go like this: "I'm concerned that they're going to ban pistols and I want to get one before they ban them. What should I get?"
Well, Americans are like that. Just as soon as someone tells us that we can't do something, we go ahead and do it anyway. That's our nature and our right. But in this case, I don't see a gun ban happening. However, if you'd like to buy a gun that's your God-given right and I'll happily welcome you to the long ranks of free Americans. So, lets look at your options.
Again, I don't see a gun ban happening, and the panic right now is market driven. I believe that if you wait a couple of months, prices will come down to rational levels. I'm already starting to see the panic subside in certain limited areas of the market, and in the media. (Piers Morgan notwithstanding.)
Semi-auto Pistols. This category is easy. Glock. Or Smith and Wesson M&P. Glock pistols are easy to shoot, accurate, reliable, durable, and fairly priced. The same can be said for Smith and Wesson's M&P line. But, Glock is probably more ubiquitous. Get a 9mm. The 9mm cartridge is perfectly adequate and ammo is normally found everywhere. I tell you this and I'm one of those guys who doesn't own a 9mm, nor do I own a Glock. The simple truth of the matter is that the Glock pistols are very common because they are very good. They are safe and they go bang every time you pull the trigger. There is not a lot to learn about a Glock handgun, they all work alike, and they retain their resale value. If you prefer a Smith and Wesson, get one of those. They're not yet as common as a Glock, but they're easy to find, and they're very good pistols.
Semi-auto Rifles. This category is a bit more problematic, because there are very good manufacturers of AR-15 type rifles and more folks are making them every year. Bushmaster, DPMS, Colt, Ruger, Remington, Mossberg, Smith and Wesson, they all make ARs, along with a plethora of custom and semi-custom makers. I happen to own a Bushmaster, but that's simply because that what was on the rack the day I bought mine. The simple fact is that the AR series rifles are standard rifles today. Parts are easy to find, and the rifle is fairly easy to build. The internet is awash in videos about the care, feeding, and maintenance of AR type rifles. Every GI since 1963 has been trained on that rifle, and it currently serves as the standard rifle of the US Armed Forces. This is also the rifle that all the gun-banners hate, so it's the one that comes up on all the ban lists. Prices rose dramatically since December on these rifles, driven purely through market forces worried about a ban. PawPaw is seeing some indication that the market is beginning to stabilize on AR rifles, with some folks telling me that prices are starting to drop from the panic bubble.
Again, I'm not terribly concerned that a gun ban will happen anytime soon. When subjected to rational debate, it becomes a non-starter. Those "common-sense" measures that you hear the liberal media talk about are not common sense at all. We should stay vigilant, we should write our Congress-critters, and we should hold their feet to the fire because we're Americans and we have that responsibility. It is our right, our duty, and our privilege to supervise Congress.