Guns and ammo in high demand

Thursday, December 20, 2012
Shooters Gun Shop sales associate Gene Colyer assists Jeff Schott as he looks over a Springfield SD 45 Automatic Colt Pistol Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 19, 2012 in Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

A wall normally stocked with assault rifles at Shooter's Gun Shop in Cape Girardeau is looking pretty bare.

Store manager Rowdy Enderle said business is up about 300 percent compared to the same time last year, in large part because of worries that some form of gun control could become a reality after last week's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama vowed to send Congress policy proposals for reducing gun violence by January. The president also called on Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and to pass legislation that would close a gun-show "loophole" that allows people to purchase firearms from private dealers without a background check.

Several local gun retailers saw an increase in sales beginning Friday, the day of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Assault rifles and handguns have been popular with buyers, retailers said. People are stocking up on ammunition, too.

"We had a gentleman who came in and bought $4,000 worth of ammo yesterday," said Jim Dumey, a manager of Buchheit in Jackson.

Currently, there is no limit on the amount of ammunition an individual may purchase.

Enderle said the "crazy rhetoric coming from our politicians" is what is drawing customers.

"They never ban a gun, they only ban the future sale of it. They can pass all the bans they want, but it will never stop any of those school shootings because there are already 300 million guns out there in the open and they'll never go and take those guns away," Enderle said.

Jeff Schott was one of about 25 people looking at guns at Shooter's on Wednesday afternoon. He has been concerned about the possibility of stricter gun laws since Obama was re-elected in November. Schott doubts what the president is proposing would pass in Congress, but he fears his administration will use regulatory agencies, like the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to "regulate around the Constitution."

Retailers said this week's sales are unprecedented.

"When they're gone, I won't be able to get any more," Enderle said. "Guns were already in short supply as it was. It's been that way for a couple years now. This run on guns made it that much worse."

Dumey at Buchheit said even after trying different dealers, he has not been able to restock.

"Just about everybody is in the same boat. These things are getting bought up pretty quick," he said.

Dick's, one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the U.S., suspended the sale of "modern sporting rifles" in all of its stores after the Sandy Hook shooting. Wal-Mart stopped selling the Bushmaster semi-automatic weapon the shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, used to shoot his mostly young victims multiple times.

"They might suspend them until this blows over, but when they do start selling them again, prices may be higher in the future," Dumey said. "We'll continue selling what we have at a normal price."

Price increases will be hard on customers' budgets, said Enderle, who worries if his store will even be in business a few years down the road.

"The sport was already getting too expensive for most of my clientele. They're just regular, everyday guys," he said.

Prices for assault rifles top $1,000. Handgun prices range from $300 to $1,000.

Across the U.S., demand for armored backpacks for children is increasing as worried parents try to protect their children. And in some states, records are being set for numbers of background checks for weapons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

2801 Old Orchard Road, Jackson, Mo

335 Christine St Suite 101, Cape Girardeau, Mo

Map of pertinent addresses

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