Local gun stores sell out of firearms
Published: Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
It is estimated there are 300 million guns owned by Americans—just about one for every American citizen—and with Congress expected to discuss so-called assault weapons restrictions this year, local gun shops say they are seeing sales skyrocket.
“I get guns in all the time,” said Mike Mooney, owner of Southern Hills Tactical in Custer. “I got eight in the other week and three days later I had one left.”
Mooney normally has anywhere from 50 to 75 semi-automatic rifles (AR) and AK47s, but has only four left in stock.
“I have another 40 platforms coming in, but business has been busy,” he said.
Brent White, owner of the Gun Vault in Edgemont, is in the same situation.
“We try to keep 15 in stock, but we are out,” he said. “AR15s, AK47s and high capacity magazines are the big sellers. Even my distributor is out.”
Ammunition for ARs and AK47s has also skyrocketed, with prices of high quality magazines nearly quadrupling in the past couple weeks.
“They’re being sold at a ridiculous price,” he said. “I sell mine for $14.65 but have seen them sold at over $100 in the last week. They’re hard to get ahold of, if anyone can even get ahold of them.”
“Demand for ammunition for the ARs and AKs is way up,” Mooney said. “I don’t have any in stock.”
“Regular ammunition isn’t really selling, which is amazing to me,” White said. “People are more worried about what is coming down the pipeline so they are buying magazines.”
PMAG, which is the best brand of high capacity magazines out there, are hard to find.
“Those dried out real fast, but it doesn’t matter the brand or quality,” White said. “They’re selling out everywhere.”
Handgun sales have also picked up, with many buyers being first time shooters and women.
“Handguns have picked up a little bit, but I mainly get requests for the ARs,” Mooney said.
In 1994, the government placed a ban on semiautomatic firearms, including AK47s, MAC-10s, Uzis, AR15s and other assault weapons. However, in 2004, the government took away the ban since nothing changed.
“Crime didn’t go down until the government took the gun ban away in 2004,” Mooney said.
“We’ve been down that road before and it didn’t work. At that time, if you had the guns already you were grandfathered in; you just couldn’t get anything new,” White said. “Now, everyone is buying what they couldn’t have then, just in case the same thing happens again.”
Since President Obama was reelected in November, it’s estimated over one million firearms, including semi-automatic makes, have been sold—a 200 percent profit boost for gun makers.
While she doesn’t carry ARs or AK47s, Betty Fagler, owner of H&B Firearms, LLC, in Custer has received phone calls inquiring about the firearms.
“I get phone calls every day,” she said. “I haven’t been busy in the shop.”
Fagler carries anything from Winchester commemoratives, hunting and collectable guns, handguns and ammunition.
“I think people are scared of what is happening in Washington and are afraid (President Obama) is going to take those guns away,” Fagler said. “Guns don’t kill people. People do. Plain and simple.”
“There’s the fear of not being able to get them,” Mooney said. “I’ve had people buy them as an investment, for sports or just to collect them. One guy came in and bought nine.”
“I feel terrible for what happened,” Mooney said. “I had to step back and think about a number of things after the shooting.”
“It’s a tragedy what happened, but I can’t do anything to change what happened. A gun ban won’t change that, either,” White said. “The lunatics are still going to do loony things. How many are killed in car accidents? How about the troops killed everyday? They need to stop looking at the instruments and more at the people.”
While many—including other countries—are calling for a ban or stricter gun control in the United States, crime is just as high in other countries. The United Kingdom, especially England, has more stabbings and fist fights than any other country in Europe. And when it comes to homicides by firearms, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela all have higher numbers than the United States.
In Australia, which banned firearms in 1996, crimes with guns have increased. Armed robberies are up 69 percent, assaults with guns are up 28 percent, murders by guns are up 19 percent and home invasions are up 21 percent.
Mooney doesn’t see what a ban on the guns will do.
“I think the situation is blown out of proportion,” Mooney added. “I suspect in the last week, a million ARs were sold or transferred. I know for a fact a million PMAGs were sold by my distributor.”
Mooney said his distributor had 45,000 PMAGs in stock before the Sandy Hook shooting. The day after, every one was sold.
“It’s hysteria. It’s like sharks going after a seal pup,” he said.
“All they’re doing is taking away from the honest and good citizens,” White said. “Criminals are still going to get what they want; they’re criminals for a reason. There are no means to control what they want to control.”
Instead of creating stricter gun laws, Fagler believes something should be done about mental health.
“I think the ones who are detrimental to everyone else should be reported,” she said. “If they’re capable of doing something to hurt someone, it should be reported.”
“People have killed since there were people and that’s the simple fact,” White said. “It’s funny, it has and will take months to get our budget in order but they’ll get this sorted out in two weeks.”
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