Guns flying off the shelves with election in balance

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Stephen D. Powell takes time to aim a Barrett 50 BMG Thursday at Patriot Outdoors.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ Staff Writer

Guns are flying off the shelves at local gun shops, according to gun store owners.

Store owners said the election and the possible victory of Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama is driving up gun sales.

R&S Gun Shop store owner Larry Reeves said Obama would push for tighter gun restrictions, and customers have similar fears.

Obama’s campaign officials disagree.

According to a statement released by Obama’s New Mexico campaign organization, Obama backs the Second Amendment right to own firearms and closing the gun-show loophole, which allows sales of firearms between private individuals during gun shows without a federal background check.

“Barack Obama will not only ensure that law-abiding New Mexico gun owners can keep their guns, he’ll fight to make sure that they can keep their jobs by reversing the disastrous Bush-McCain economic policies of the past eight years,” according to the statement.

According to Patriot Outdoors owner, Stephen Powell, customers are stockpiling firearms that could be legislated off store shelves with Obama in the White House and Democrats controlling both houses of Congress. He said gun sales have increased 30 percent in the last month. He said a 30 percent increase is probable for a quarter, but never in a month.

“I’m way low on inventory and I can’t get my guns in here fast enough,” he said.

According to Powell, concealed handgun license classes have doubled in size as well. Typically, classes consists of 15 to 20 people a month. About 50 people have signed up for classes in November, he said.

Powell said legislation banning assault weapons would take out at least 40 percent of his inventory.

Called the Law Enforcement Officer Protection Act, House Resolution 1022 would decrease the ammunition capacity of firearms and the types of firearms that can be sold commercially.

While David Cresap of Crosshair Gun Shop said any increase of gun sales at present is probably caused by the onset of hunting season and the holidays. He said he expects any increase in his sales to come after the Nov. 4 general election.

“If (Sen. John) McCain wins I probably won’t see it. If (Sen. Barack) Obama wins I’m looking for a sellout,” he said.