Valley gun shops' sales rise after Obama elected - East Valley Tribune: News

Valley gun shops' sales rise after Obama elected

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Posted: Friday, November 14, 2008 7:02 pm | Updated: 8:44 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The change that President-elect Barack Obama was calling for on the campaign trail has yet to come to Washington, D.C., but it seems to have already reached gun stores in the Valley.

Gun sales have spiked in recent weeks, store owners say, as customers rush in fearful that the impending Obama administration and Democratic-controlled Congress will tighten firearm regulations or even reinstate an assault-weapons ban.

"The day after the election, people were standing in front of our doors," said Joe Sirochman, owner of American Spirit Arms in Scottsdale. "And that demand has yet to stop."

American Spirit's business has jumped 500 percent in recent weeks. It's a surge, Sirochman said, that can be directly traced back to the election of Obama as the next president.

"People are telling us that they are worried that certain guns might be banned," he said. "And Obama's policies aren't a secret."

In the past, Obama has said he supports Second Amendment rights. But he also has made comments that indicate he would favor banning assault weapons, as took place during the Clinton administration. And because of this, Sirochman said, American Spirit's sales have been through the roof.

American Spirit manufactures and sells guns to other retailers across the nation. One of its semiautomatic rifles, the AR-15, is so hotly sought after that it's now only available on backorder. With such high demand, Sirochman has had to increase the price of the rifle from $839 to $875.

But large stores and manufacturers aren't the only shops benefiting from the presidential change of guard. Kate Krueger, owner of Derby Guns in Scottsdale, said her store also has seen a leap in sales.

The shop went from selling a couple of guns a week to selling a couple of guns a day, she said.

"It was a rugged year, we couldn't sell anything," Krueger said. "But as soon as the elections began to heat up, we started selling."

It's a trend that seems to be sweeping the nation.

Because local, state and federal agencies do not track gun sales, the best way to look at these numbers is to examine the number of checks done through the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Andrew Molchan, director of the Professional Gun Retailers Association, said that 98.4 percent of these background checks end up in sales.

There were almost 1.2 million checks done last month. This is nearly 160,000 more than the preceding month. If December holiday sales are not included, October is the highest month for background checks in almost 10 years.

Scott Wesch, owner of Mesa Gun Shop, said before the election his sales were stagnant because of the economic downturn and high gas prices. But a few weeks ago, his products started moving again.

Wesch's been in the business 27 years. And he's seen a Democratic administration come to power. This one is different, he said, because people are actively seeking out military-pattern and semiautomatic firearms.

"It seems that people are worried about laws changing," he said. "They've seen what happened under Clinton, they don't want to wait this time."

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