In a year trying daily to defy description, even longtime cartoon hunter Elmer Fudd is being affected by the craziness of 2020.
Long known for his bumbling animated attempts to try and bag the sly rabbit known as Bugs Bunny for the dinner table, Fudd—a Looney Tunes cartoon staple for years who typically had trouble pronouncing the letter “r” in his spot-and-stalk soliloquies—is familiar for slipping through the woods and whispering his trademark phrase: “Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits.”
But according to a viral story in the New York Times over the weekend, Elmer has suddenly lost his gun.
In the NYT story on the animated series returning to the screen on HBO Max, the rebooted cartoon’s executive producer and showrunner Peter Browngardt explained the change in Fudd’s hunting gear from a classic looking single-barreled scattergun to a…long, menacing looking scythe?
“We’re not doing guns,” said Browngardt. “But we can do cartoony violence — TNT, the Acme stuff. All that was kind of grandfathered in.”
Instead of Fudd’s familiar hunting gun, the Times story indicates that there will be the usual slapstick stuff typically found throughout the long run of Looney Tunes cartoon characters—sticks of dynamite, booby traps, falling anvils, bank safes that appear out of the sky, and more.
You know, the kind of laugh track objects that apparently won’t inspire some young tyke to grow up intent on a lifetime dedicated to violence and crime.
The move, while not a complete surprise given the politically correct “no guns” culture of Hollywood and many on the liberal side of the political aisle, stands in stark contrast to the reality that in 2020 thus far, gun sales are booming.
According to the FBI’s NICS (National Instant Criminal Check System) report on background checks necessary for someone to legally buy a gun, March 2020 saw a total of 3.74 million checks performed at gun stores across the nation.
And according to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, that’s the background check system’s all-time high water mark Keep in mind that figure came during a month where some states across the country shuttered stores that sold firearms and ammunition, deeming them as non-essential businesses in the developing battle against the coronavirus outbreak.
The busy year continued in April 2020—the first full month of the lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—when 2.91 million NICS background checks were performed. Those checks spurred on the sales of some 1.8 million guns according to the NRA-ILA, a figure they report as being up 71-percent from the previous year.
How about last month in May 2020? According to the FBI’s online NICS report, a total of 3,091,455 NICS background checks were performed, another huge figure in the ongoing rush to legally buy firearms across America.
As the fast-paced gun buying year continues--each month this year has been one of the all-time busiest such periods according to the NRA-ILA’s story cited above—there’s no telling where such sales might go given the ongoing pandemic, the nationwide unrest as scattered riots have erupted following the horrific murder of George Floyd, and the upcoming presidential election.
And that's to say nothing of the approach of fall hunting seasons for shotgunners, muzzleloader enthusiasts, and rifle hunter’s intent on chasing white-tailed deer, big game, waterfowl and upland birds this fall in a year that has seen food supplies become increasingly challenged during the ongoing pandemic and societal upheaval.
What does all of this mean for millions of law abiding hunters across the U.S. as the arrival of the summer solstice in a few days continues the unstoppable march towards fall and the various hunting seasons that await?
Among other things, it likely means that if those hunters happen to need a new gun or some ammunition to chase their favorite game species this year, then they might want to go ahead and get in line.
Because Elmer Fudd may have lost his gun in this topsy-turvy world unfolding in 2020. But from all indications, he might be the only one.