Has Another Gun Buying Frenzy Begun?

In the past month or so, Guns.com has reported increased gun sales in Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, Wisconsin as well as ammo shortages in Texas.  Now, one can add Indiana to that list.   

Gun shops across the Hoosier State are seeing a significant bump in sales, so much so that store owners and managers are worried that demand might soon outpace supply. 

Jason Elmore, owner of Elmore’s Firearms, told the Indianapolis Business Journal that he is having trouble filling orders for his store in Greenwood. 

“We’re starting to get shortages of stuff again, so it’s pushed people into a supply-and-demand situation,” Elmore said. “They’re just buying whatever they can buy right now.”

Of course, by “again” he is alluding to shortages in supply during the first ‘Obama Gun Boom’ (for more on this, click here).

The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) received approximately 187,000 Indiana background check requests in 2007 (before Obama took office).  Last year, that number nearly doubled to 346,000.

guns-ammoFBI reports from February suggest that the boom is still underway.  There were 45,553 background check requests from Indiana in Feb., that’s up from 32,083 in 2011.

To explain the surge in gun sales not just in Indiana, but across the country, there have been various theories: everything from the looming threat that the Obama Administration will enact confiscatory gun policies in its 2nd term to economic uncertainty to crime to more positive factors, such as, the expansion of gun rights or a growing interest in hunting and other gun-related activities.

Yet, gun shop owners nationwide also cite another motivating factor: TV. 

Gary Relford, an attorney who owns Tactical Firearms Training LLC in Indiana, told the Indianapolis Business Journal that gun-centered reality shows like “Top Shot” and “Sons of Guns” are boosting business, compelling people to expand their collection.   

“The people that I see consistently at the range don’t have just one gun,” Relford said. “Kind of like a golfer doesn’t have just one driver.”

Cris Parsons, who owns a Texas gun shop called the Houston Armory, noted that sales are up 30 to 40 percent this quarter. “Frenzy” is the word he used to describe his customer’s buying, Parsons told ABC News.

zombie-amcHe argued that in addition to the Obama fear factor, TV shows dedicated to doomsday preparation and killing zombies have certainly played a role in exposing people to subcultures that embrace gun ownership. 

“There’re the ‘preppers,” explained Parsons to ABC News, “and then there’s this whole Zombie Apocalypse thing.”

Parsons is referring to National Geographic TV show called “Doomsday Preppers” and A&E’s “The Walking Dead.” 

Summing up the reasons for record gun sales, Parson told ABC News, “You got zombies, you got ‘preppers, and you got Obama.”

To what extent gun sales are affected by television shows that reinforce pop culture trends is uncertain.  However, what is clear is that gun sales are increasing. 

One needs to look no further than the stock market for proof.

Sturm, Ruger’s – which in the first quarter of this year received orders for more than 1 million firearms, so many that it has now had to stop taking orders (to read more, click here) – stock price is up 55 percent this year.  Smith & Wesson is up 91 percent (to read more, click here).  And sporting goods and hunting retailer Cabela’s is up 53 percent.

All of this leads one to the conclusion that “yes, we are probably in the beginning stages of another gun buying frenzy.”

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