Entries in Gun Sales (3)


Assault Weapons Ban Talk Sparks Rise in Gun Sales

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Rifle Association may still get its way and defeat the lawmakers calling for a ban on the sale of assault rifles, but some gun store owners say it seems their customers aren't taking any chances.

"We have never seen anything like this," said Larry Hyatt, who owns a gun shop in Charlotte, N.C.  "We have the Christmas business, the hunting season business, and now we have the political business."

"We have seen a lot of things, but we have never seen anything like this, this is probably four times bigger than the last time we saw a big rush," he said.

Some of the customers in his store said it is the talk of stricter gun control in the wake of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that is driving the rush.

"The way they are trying to approach it, they are just making people who have never thought about buying a gun, now they want to come in here and buy a gun," one customer said.

At NOVA Firearms in Falls Church, Va., there have been "skyrocketing" sales following the Newtown shooting, chief firearms instructor Chuck Nesby said.

"They've been off the charts.  Absolutely skyrocketing," Nesby said.  "If I could give an award to President Obama and Sen. Feinstein [it] would be sales persons of the year."

He was referring to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who said she will introduce an assault weapons ban in January.

Sales are up 400 percent, Nesby said.

"We're completely out of the so-called assault weapons, semi-automatic firearms that are rifles," he said.  "Forty percent of those sales went to women and senior citizens.  We can't get them now.  Everybody, nationwide is out of them -- the sales have just been off the charts nationwide."

The shooting on Dec. 14, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza broke in to the elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults with a semi-automatic rifle, has even some former NRA supporters saying it's time to change the rules on assault weapons.  

Those guns were banned from 1994 until 2004, when the ban expired and was not renewed.

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas suggested Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation that new regulation should be considered.

"We ought to be looking at where the real danger is, like those large clips, I think that does need to be looked at," Hutchison said.  "It's the semi-automatics and those large magazines that can be fired off very quickly.  You do have to pull the trigger each time, but it's very quick."

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat but a long-time opponent of gun control who like Hutchison has received an A rating from the NRA, has also come out in support of strengthening gun laws.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lack of Money Makes US Gun Sales Data Hard to Find

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In light of the tragic mass shootings in Wisconsin and Colorado this summer, questions naturally arise about who has access to guns.  But data about gun sales and research about the best public policies on weapons are scarce.  Why? The answer is money.

David Hemenway, professor of health policy at Harvard University and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, said unlike research about motor vehicle safety and laws, there is "little" money for research involving guns.

Hemenway suspects that guns are a "hot button issue" and only a few foundations provide funding for research on guns and gun policies.

"We don't have good research or sensible policies.  If we had this, we could say, 'These policies work well.'  But we hardly know anything," he said.

Hemenway said high-profile incidents like the Oak Creek, Wis., temple shooting on Sunday morning are just the "tip of the iceberg."

"Lots of people are dying needlessly from suicide, homicide and accidents," he said.

On Sunday, police shot and killed the gunman, identified as Wade Michael Page, who served in the Army from 1992 to 1998.  The automatic handgun used to kill six people was reportedly purchased legally from a licensed gun dealer.

The data that exists may be informative, but the picture is still incomplete about how many guns are sold, who has them and where they are coming from, public policy experts say.  Individual gun companies don't as a rule release sales numbers.

Last Friday, the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System reported 1,300,704 background checks took place in July across the country.  That's down from 1,302,660 background checks in June and up from 1,157,041 background checks in July 2011.

After the shooting in Aurora, Colo., last month, background checks for gun purchases spiked in the state, the Denver Post first reported.  On July 20, the day after the midnight shooting, there were 1,216 approvals through InstaCheck, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.  The average for Fridays in July 2012 was 972 while the average for Fridays in July 2011 was 710.

On Saturday, July 21, there were 1,243 approvals through InstaCheck while the average Saturday in July was 1,007 approvals.  There were 705 approvals for Saturdays in July 2011.

Gun-control and public policy experts point out that background checks are not an exact indicator of gun sales for several reasons.

"The FBI background check data is a poor surrogate for actual sales data and the FBI itself warns not to use the data as an indicator of gun sales," said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.  "The most accurate indication of new gun sales would be the data from the industry itself, which they refuse to provide."

The National Sports Shooting Foundation, a firearms industry trade association, did not return multiple requests for comment.  The National Rifle Association did not immediately return a request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gun Sales Booming: Doomsday, Obama or Zombies?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Buyers in record numbers are flooding into gun stores, retailers say. Ammo, too, is flying off the shelves. The reasons for the spike, last seen in 2009, include fears that a second Obama administration might restrict gun ownership and the popularity of TV shows devoted to doomsday preparation and killing zombies.

"He's never been pro-gun," says Cris Parsons of President Obama. Parsons, 31, owns a Texas gun purveyor called the Houston Armory. So far, Parsons insists, Obama has been "pretty coy" about his antipathy toward guns--and he likely will remain so during the campaign. To do otherwise would "upset a lot of people."

But if Obama wins a second term, he'll have "nothing to lose," says Parsons.

Alan Korwin, author of nine books on gun laws, including Gun Laws of America, says gun owners are worried that the president, as a lame duck, will clamp down as never before on gun ownership.

Parsons says about 40 percent of Armory customers cite this fear as their reason for stocking up on guns and ammo now, before the election.

"Frenzy" is the word he uses to describe their buying. Dollar sales for the Armory are up 30 to 40 percent this quarter compared to last. Parsons thinks his store's performance is indicative of sales nationally, based on what he hears from dealers, suppliers and other store owners.

Gun maker Sturm, Ruger says that in the first quarter it received orders for more than 1 million firearms--so many that it has now had to stop taking orders. It expects to resume accepting orders, it says, at the end of May.

Stocks of gun makers are surging. Sturm, Ruger's share price is up 55 percent this year. Smith & Wesson soared 91 percent. Sporting goods and hunting retailer Cabela's is up 53 percent.

Other forces besides politics, though, explain the current boom. "There the 'preppers," explains Parsons, "and then there's this whole Zombie Apocalypse thing."

He refers to two hot trends in popular culture.

The first is a National Geographic TV show called Doomsday Preppers that chronicles the preparations being made by people convinced that a doomsday of some kind is coming. A whole industry has sprung up to sell preppers survival and self-dense goods, including guns and ammo.

Then there are zombies--zombie movies, zombie comics, zombie novels, zombie TV shows. Americans' fascination with all things zombie, Parsons says, has grown to such proportions that arms manufactures now have come out with zombie-specific firearms and ammo. Products include a line of Zombie Max ammunition (slogan: "just in case") made by Hornady Manufacturing. "We can't keep it in stock," says Parsons. "It comes in a cool, colorful box with a Zombie on it."

There are more than a dozen manufacturers, says Parsons, making zombie riffles, some with a picture of a zombie on them. The two position on a zombie rifle's safety, instead of being marked "safe" and "fire," are labeled "dead" and "undead."

Says Parsons, summing up the reasons for record gun sales, "You got zombies, you got 'preppers, and you got Obama."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio