President Obama's re-election has sent Americans running to the gun stores. Sales of firearms and ammunition are way up in reaction to Mr. Obama saying during the debates he wants to ban everything from "cheap handguns" to common hunting rifles with scary-looking features.
The two publicly traded U.S. gunmakers have seen investors flock to their stock since Nov. 6. Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Smith & Wesson are both up over 15 percent, while the broader markets were down over the same period.
Gun dealers are seeing the same rush at their counters. In the past week, gun sales surged 70 percent at Sprague Sports in Yuma, Ariz., evenly split between handguns and long guns. "Since the election, it's been very, very busy -- stronger than this same time frame in '08," said owner Richard Sprague, who runs the 56-year-old family business. "People don't want to wait and see selection and availability if there are more government regulations."
Gun sales at H & H Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Okla., have risen 105 percent in the past week, with handguns outselling long guns 3 to 1. The new guns are being put to use. Miles Hall, founder of the 32-year-old company, said he finds his 55-position shooting range is now at capacity 30 minutes after the 9 a.m. opening bell.
Industry insiders expect gun sales to continue to rise based on recent patterns leading up to the election. According to a report by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), imports in arms and ammunition increased 59 percent in September compared to a year earlier.
NSSF also reported gun-related background checks, adjusted by the organization to give a more accurate reflection of firearms sales, showed an 18 percent increase in October over the same month in 2011.
"The increase in firearms and ammunition sales as a result of election reflects the ongoing concern among law-abiding gun owners that this administration will pursue anti-gun policies during its second term," said NSSF general counsel Lawrence Keane. "If past is prologue, when we see a push for gun control often comes during a second term. For example, the Clinton administration in its second term orchestrated a coordinated attack on the firearms industry and the fundamental civil liberties of law-abiding Americans protected by the Second Amendment."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein authored President Clinton's gun ban and is apparently working on a sequel. The California Democrat's legal staff requested a meeting with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives the Friday before the election to discuss strengthening gun bans in a second Obama term.
At the gathering in West Virginia, the government gun grabbers discussed ways to reinstate the so-called "assault weapons ban," expand it to close perceived "loopholes" and prevent grandfathering of existing guns. Spokesmen for Mrs. Feinstein did not respond to request for comment.
Mr. Obama has four years in which he is likely to appoint Supreme Court justices and use the regulatory apparatus at his disposal to fulfill his mission to restrict firearms, even if Congress doesn't go along. Americans are smart to stock up now.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.
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