Firearms sales increase in area

Published 8:54 pm Saturday, January 10, 2009

By Staff
Dealers credit rise to Obama’s election, fear of weapons bans
Staff Writer
Since Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States of America, firearms sales have increased significantly at some eastern North Carolina firearms dealers.
The most-popular firearms coming off the shelves are semi-automatic rifles and handguns, according to two area dealers.
Glen “Doc” Bowen, owner of Docs Gun &Pawn in Greenville, estimated that sales went up 400 percent at his store in November, adding sales have steadied at that rate since.
The store, which usually has about 3,000 firearms in stock, is sold out of handguns, he said Friday.
Charlie Hayes, owner of Mackey’s Landing Firearms in Jamesville, said Obama’s election has been great for sales.
The highest volume of sales at dealers in the region and across the nation have been in handguns and semi-automatics because the public is afraid that the Obama administration will push for such weapons to be banned, according to the dealers.
The dealer said there was a similar increase in sales after Bill Clinton was elected president and before he took office.
During his 1992 presidential campaign, Clinton voiced his support for the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, or “Brady Bill,” which was stuck in Congress at the time.
Clinton won the 1992 election, and he signed the bill into law on Nov. 30, 1993.
The Brady Bill Act required a prospective handgun purchaser to wait up to five days for a background check before being allowed to buy a handgun.
Obama has been quoted as saying state and local governments have a right to place restrictions on an individual’s right to bear arms.
Obama has also taken a stance against the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons, according to the Web site.
All of the speculation, combined with Obama’s stance on gun control, have led to the increased sales, the dealers said.
Hayes and Bowen said the demand for handguns and semi-automatics far outweighs the supply.
Brian Welch, sales representative for CZ-USA Hunting &Sporting Firearms &Accessories, said area dealers were right on par with supply and demand.
He said the manufacturer has back-orders on semi-automatics and handguns.
CZ-USA is trying to scale up production on the firearms in demand, but “it’s still hard,” Welch said.
The company expected an increase in sales of handguns and semi-automatics would occur if Obama was elected, but the company underestimated the demand, Welch said.
He believes that other firearms manufacturers are having similar problems with production.
Welch offered an apology from the company to dealers.
Hayes confirmed that his store, which usually has between 4,000 and 4,500 firearms on display, has turned customers away.
Capt. Kenneth Watson with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said the increase in handgun sales are reflected in the increase in requests for pistol-purchase permits.
Watson said the sheriff’s office has issued more applications for pistol-purchase permits to “all sorts of people” during the past two months than before.
Bowen said his firearms store has been selling handguns “to a lot of real old women.”
Although Hayes’ store is short on stock, he isn’t complaining about the limited supply.