Local News

Guns, ammo sales are on the rise

Posted April 21, 2009 5:41 p.m. EDT
Updated April 21, 2009 6:36 p.m. EDT

— Some gun owners say a fear of tighter gun control has caused a recent surge of gun and ammunition sales.

“People have been stockpiling, buying it by the case instead of the box, so it’s not available,” gun owner Richard Poole said.

The demand for ammunition is so high that Mace Sports in Mebane has 2 million rounds on back-order, store owners said. The store has limited the number of boxes of ammunition a person can buy based on caliber and supply.

Mace Sports reported a 100 percent increase in gun sales from this time last year.

Poole thinks the increase is due to rumors that the federal government is considering taxing ammunition purchases at 500 percent and requiring a license for ammunition purchases

Mace Sports owners said they have seen a lot of first time gun buyers.

Since June the number of people in Alamance County applying for a permit to carry a concealed weapon has more than doubled from the previous year, according to the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office.

Owners at Mace Sports said it appears manufactures didn't anticipate the recent surge in popularity of smaller handguns and just haven't been able to make enough ammunition.

Poole said he has been shopping around to find ammunition these days.

“I probably shop about six different places, instead of the one store shopping like I used to, just to find what I need,” Poole said. “For the small handgun calibers – what people carry for self-defense – it is just not available.”

This isn’t the first time gun sales have surged in the state. In early November sales jumped amid worries that newly elected President Barack Obama and a Democrat-majority Congress would create tough, new gun laws.

As a U.S. Senator, Obama voted to leave gunmakers and dealers open to lawsuits, and as an Illinois state legislator, he supported a ban on certain weapons and tighter restrictions on all firearms.

In the past, gun buyers have said they fear that Democrats will make stricter gun laws, such as the 1990s higher taxes on ammunition; the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004 under Bush; and the Brady Act that established a waiting period for handgun purchases and required background checks for firearm sales.

Gun advocates can take solace in the Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 this past summer to strike down the District of Columbia's 32-year handgun restriction. While gun-rights supporters hold a narrow edge on the court, Obama could appoint justices who would swing it the other way.