Some dealers at Cape Girardeau gun show say sales up since election

Sunday, December 21, 2008
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com
Hundreds of people attended the gun show at the Arena Building on Saturday looking to buy or sell firearms and accessories.

Some vendors at Cape's Original Gun Show in the Arena Building say business has been good since the presidential election.

"There's been about a 500 percent increase in sales of assault rifles since the election," said Ben Mickel of Bonne Terre, Mo., owner of Cedar Falls Tactical. "They're selling like wildfire."

Mickel, who displayed primarily assault rifles, said the weapons are mostly used for high-powered rifle matches but can be used for target shooting, defense or hunting. He said the AR-15 is the most popular because it has lots of accessories and because of the weapon's high quality.

Jeff Poole, manager of Absolute Arms and Ammo in Cape Girardeau, said he has seen a sales increase of more than 100 percent since the election.

Absolute Arms had handguns, shotguns and assault rifles on display.

"The handgun business has always been good," Poole said. "Handguns are our best seller."

Robust gun sales have been reported throughout the U.S. since the election of Barack Obama, prompted by fears that his administration will prohibit certain weapons.

For example, the Illinois State Police conducted 24,076 background checks for gun purchases in November, 39 percent more than the 17,363 during the same month a year ago.

Knives took up a good portion of the display tables at the Arena Building. Ronald Brown of Vienna, Ill., had a variety of custom knives. His most expensive knife was $700. Another knife had a hook at the end of the blade.

"That one's good for skinning," Brown said.

Brown has made knives for more than 30 years using one of two methods. The first requires heating the steel, beating it and stretching it with a hammer. The second requires designing the knife style and crafting it slowly to shape from a bar of steel.

Father and son Harry and Bob Morris displayed custom leather goods and custom-made knives side by side. Harry has been at Cape's Original Gun Show for 22 years; his son, five years.

Among Bob's custom leather goods, his best sellers were holsters and belts. The belts are popular with personalized names and fur on them. Most other items, like wallets, concealed weapon holsters, Bible covers, day planners, pistol cases and knife sheaths, are plain, without stamping or tooling.

"I can add that later on if someone wants it," he said.

In addition to guns, knives and ammunition, vendors also had camouflage gear, paintball accessories, cell phone and Bible cases, cleaning kits and binoculars.

The gun show continues today.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

cpagano@semissourian.com

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What: Cape's Original Gun Show

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today

Where: Arena Building

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