Gun Sales Increase
Fears that the incoming presidential administration could push for stricter gun control laws and increased sales taxes on weapons has led to a surge in gun sales locally.
The election of Democrat Barack Obama as president last Tuesday sent Moore County gun owners out in droves to buy weapons before new laws are passed.
"It's slowed down right now, but it's been crazy," Ed Nicely, owner of Ed's Gun Shop on U.S. 1 near Vass, said Monday afternoon.
Nicely said for that the past three weeks, he has seen 10 times more business than normal. He said his customers have expressed fears that Obama could push for higher sales taxes on guns and ammunition, as well as a ban on semi-automatic weapons.
"He's supposed to be pro-gun, but then he picked Biden who helped with the assault weapons ban," he said.
Biden, the vice president-elect, addressed gun control during a CNN-YouTube debate earlier this year when he was still a presidential candidate. He chastised a questioner who referred to his machine gun as "his baby" and took credit for writing the assault weapons ban.
"I tell you what, if that's his baby, he needs help," Biden said during the debate. "I'm the guy who originally wrote the assault weapons ban that become law. We should be working with law enforcement right now to make sure we protect people against people who are not capable of knowing what to do with a gun because they are mentally unstable or they have a criminal record."
Nicely said this is the most business he has gotten since 1994, prior to passage of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Under a "sunset provision," the ban expired on Sept. 13, 2004. A new assault weapons ban bill was introduced in the U.S. House this summer that aims to put in place a stricter version of the ban for another 10 years.
"Customers are buying anything semi-automatic that holds a large magazine," he said.
Richard Parks, owner and manager of Jim's Pawn Shop, said his store has also experienced an increase in gun sales.
"We've seen a strong influx of gun-buying customers," he said. "There's just a strong interest in guns right now."
Parks couldn't determine if there was a link to Obama's election or not. Hunting season is under way now, which could be part of the reason for the increase in sales, especially with shotguns, Parks said.
Unlike Nicely, Parks said he didn't notice a pickup in sales of any particular brands or models.
Obama has expressed his support of "sportsmen" on his campaign Web site, which says "Barack Obama believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms. He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transports, and use guns."
The Obama Transition Team's new Web site, www.change.gov, says Obama and Biden "favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn't have them." It also says that the administration favors making the assault weapons ban permanent.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been critical of Obama and urged its members not to support his candidacy.
For more on this story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Pilot.
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