The Washington Times - January 18, 2009, 03:01PM

Jim Shepherd, the man behind the popular Outdoor Wire Web site, says that President Barack Obama is the reason for the unprecedented demand for firearms by nervous American consumers.

Shepherd says: “For me, it was a simple fact of recognizing that without [Obama] frightening consumers into action, the firearms industry might be suffering the same sort of business slumps that have befallen the automotive and housing industries.”


It all has to do with Mr. Obama’s abysmal record as far as gun owners are concerned. Shepherd recalls that Mr. Obama “has consistently voted against individual rights to firearms, appointed a retread Clinton administration full of gun banners, and made it plain to anti-gun groups that despite what he might say to the contrary, he’s on their side.”

It is Mr. Obama’s — to some degree also Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s — history of supporting anti-gun groups that now has anxious consumers visiting gun shops and catalog stores to purchase sporting, target and home protection weapons because they fear the new administration might work to outlaw firearms that currently are perfectly legal to own.

Shepherd said that gun manufacturers are months behind on orders for semi-automatic pistols, AR-style rifles, and anything with so-called ‘high-capacity magazines.’

“Buyers we’ve surveyed across the country seem to have a single explanation for their rush to purchase firearms — Obama,” said Shepherd.

Interestingly, the buying sprees are not limited to people that sometimes are unkindly referred to as “gun nuts.”

Shepherd recalls being in a gun shop recently when a man entered who said he never wanted to own a firearm before, “but wanted to get one while he still could.”

According to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, since November’s Presidential election the background checks for people who wanted to purchase a gun have jumped 24 percent — 1,523,426 vs. 1,230,525 in 2007).

In November 2008 the background checking officials said they saw the highest number of applicants in the system’s history.

In January the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) sent notices to federal firearms licensees that said because of an “unprecedented increase in demand for ATF Form 4473 [supplies had run so low] that dealers were temporarily given permission to photocopy the form until supplies caught up with demand. (Completion of a form 4473 is required whenever a federal firearms licensee sells a firearm.)

Said Shepherd: “As a journalist with more than two decades of national newsgathering experience, I’ve never seen anything approaching the ‘Obama effect.’ In fact, gun and ammunition sales are at such frantic levels that they have surpassed the panic-buying of Y2K or anything during the Clinton years when the first Assault Weapons Ban was passed.”

Despite Mr. Obama proclaiming that he’ll support the Constitution’s Second Amendment — the citizens’ right keep and bear arms — he has steadily supported anti-gun measures in the U.S. Senate and while still In the Illinois State House.

By the way, thanks to the Pittman-Robertson Act, there is money in the kitty to fund a majority of programs for wildlife agencies at the federal, state and local levels. These funding dollars come directly from taxes levied against gun owners.

The Outdoor Wire’s Shepherd said: “Damaging the firearms industry won’t just put workers in the gun business out of work, it will severely impact wildlife and conservation efforts nationally. That damage could take decades to repair — if it can be undone.”

“The facts are indisputable,” said Shepherd. “Barack Obama has spurred gun sales in a time when the entire economy seems to be tanking. If that doesn’t make him the gun salesman of the year — if not the decade — I don’t know what would.”

- Gene Mueller