Area gun, ammunition sales rise amid political fearsWritten by Julie Ryan | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo-area gun and ammunition sales are on the rise, and shop owners are scrambling to find distributors, as a possible change in the nation’s gun laws sparks a buying frenzy.
Theresa Cleland, an owner of Cleland’s Outdoor World, said she is having difficulty receiving supplies as distributors are running out. The demand for guns and ammunition has been so high that she is forced to scavenge the nation for items, she said.
“We’ve been busy enough that I’m busy hunting for merchandise and haven’t had time to reflect on numbers and how it has changed,” Cleland said.
Rob Buchanan, general manager of Bass Pro Shop in Rossford, said sales in gun and ammunition picked up in recent months, and there is an “increase in footsteps in the hunting department.”
“I think just people would like to get their guns and ammunition as soon as possible,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan said pistols are selling rapidly, and some guns are selling as soon as they hit the shelves. Ammunition is selling just as well.
“The whole industry is pretty tight right now. Ammunition has been pretty hard to come by,” he said. “Once we get it in, we put it on the shelves and get it out there.”
He said he attributes the increase to President Barack Obama’s campaign and possible changes in gun laws. Cleland agreed.
“Back when President Clinton was in, he had more gun-control laws that left when the Republicans came in and customers believe they may come back,” Cleland said.
A 1994 Clinton administration ban on semiautomatic assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips affected some congressional political campaigns. President George W. Bush’s administration allowed the bill to lapse in 2004.
While Obama has emphasized his respect for the rights of individuals to bear arms, he has discussed re-enacting the ban. His campaign Web site states that he would like to make the assault-weapons ban permanent, “as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on the street.”
He said he wants to repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which limits the ability of law enforcement to trace gun information, and enact other “common-sense” measures such as requiring background checks for sales between individuals at gun shows. Vice President Joe Biden also has a reputation as an assault-weapons foe.
After opposition from the National Rifle Association, 22 Democrats joined Republicans in a Senate vote in March to negate the District of Columbia’s tough gun registration requirements and overturn its ban on rapid-fire semiautomatic weapons. More than 80 House Democrats backed a similar measure last year.
The gun lobby has raised more than $20 million for political candidates since the 1990 election cycle, with about 85 percent going to Republicans. That ranks 68th among about 80 industry groups tracked by the OpenSecrets.org campaign finance watchdog.
Cleland said people are uncomfortable with the stock market and employment rate.
“There are more people out of jobs and customers feel that the crime rate is going to rise and they need to protect themselves,” she said. “Plus, the fact that the police departments are getting cut.”
If the gun control laws return under Obama, Cleland said, people will be upset, as guns are a Second Amendment right.
“I don’t believe guns are right for everyone, but people need to know how to protect themselves,” she said.
The Associated Press/Dallas Morning News contributed to this report.