US guns sales soar after Barack Obama’s re-election
Gun sales in America are soaring in the wake of President Barack Obama’s re-election with weapons retailers reporting AK-47s flying off shelves “like hotcakes.” By Nick Allen, Los Angeles
Owners of guns have been stocking up because they are concerned about a potential tightening of regulations on assault weapons in the president’s second term.
In October the number of background checks on people applying to buy guns, an indicator of future sales, increased by 18.4 per cent.
There was a similar jump when President Obama was first elected in 2008. A total of 12.7 million background checks were carried out that year, up from 11.2 million the year before, and the number has been rising since then.
Shares in weapons manufacturers like Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger also surged after Mr Obama’s re-election.
The gun control debate in America was re-ignited by the July 20 massacre at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado, in which suspect James Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 during a screening of Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.” He used a semi-automatic rifle with a 100-round magazine.
During the election campaign Mr Obama mostly steered clear of discussing gun control, but in a presidential debate on Oct 16 he gave his clearest statement yet on the issue.
He said: “What I’m trying to do is to get a broader conversation about how do we reduce the violence generally. Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced.”
President Bill Clinton introduced had restrictions limiting the use of semi-automatic weapons in 1994, but the ban expired in 2004. Under the Clinton-era ban magazines with more than 10 rounds, and weapons with threaded barrels, pistol grips and bayonets were prohibited.
Mr Obama would still have to get any new restrictions past Republicans in Congress, but gun owners say they fear a limiting of their right to bear arms which is enshrined in the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
Mel Bernstein, owner of Dragonman Arms in Colorado Springs, told KOAA-TV that sales of semi-automatic weapons had boomed in recent days.
He said: “We’re going from normally six to eight guns a day, to 25. I stocked up, I got a stockpile of these AK-47s, we’re selling these like hot cakes. Luckily I had an idea of what was going on because it happened with Clinton.”
Mr Bernstein said he normally orders up to 7,000 rounds a week from distributors but could now only get hold of 3,000 because of demand.
John Kielbasa, owner of Fernwood Firearms in Hankins, New York, told CNN: “Sales are up. I had a guy waiting here first thing in the morning (the day after the election.) He came in, bought two AK-47s. It’s going to be good for me for business.”